Can you remember a time when we were a nation of tea drinkers? Our historic love of tea has faded with every coffee shop and café opening. From single origin to special blends, from artisan brews to homemade cakes, via an Icelandic coffee bar, one that doubles up as a design showroom and more besides – here are some of the best cafés and best coffee shops we’ve come across – independents (almost) all.
Here are our picks
Fig and Sparrow, 20 Oldham Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1JN - Visit now
This design-store-cum-coffee-bar ticks two boxes at once; shopping for beautiful gifts, and sipping a well-crafted coffee. The interior is warm and welcoming with a stripped-back, Scandinavian vibe. Fig & Sparrow serves food, including cakes, as well as loose leaf tea.
LEAF on Portland Street, 113–115 Portland St, Manchester, M1 6DW - Visit now
Leaf has a reputation as one of the city’s standout cafes, and it’s certainly far and away the best daytime venue for food and drink on Portland Street. It has an elegant, almost artistic feel, but has an exciting vibrancy thanks to the local creative types and tea-buffs who’ve made it their home from home.
Rapha Clubhouse Manchester, 5 St Ann’s Passage, Manchester, M2 6AD - Visit now
Tucked away off St. Anne’s Square, Rapha Club House Manchester is a place for anyone who loves cycling to congregate and celebrate the sport together. It’s also one of Manchester’s most stylish cafés, serving everything from vegan strawberry protein shakes to sandwiches made with ‘Pollen 28 Hour Sourdough’ bread.
Grindsmith Deansgate, 231 - 233 Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4EN - Visit now
There are now three Grindsmiths – one is inside a specially-created eco pod in Greengate Square, not far from Manchester Cathedral, there’s a branch over at Media City and then this one, inside a spacious arch adjacent to the Great Northern Warehouse on Deansgate. All serve excellent coffee.
North Tea Power, 36 Tib Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1LA - Visit now
Leading the way on industrial chic and high end coffee before the Northern Quarter had reached its peak, North Tea Power has been loved by Mancunians for years now. The staff still pay meticulous attention detail to the coffee, plus you can fill up on the café’s doorstopper sandwiches and sweet treats.
Pot Kettle Black, Unit 14, Barton Arcade Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 2BW - Visit now
Tucked away beneath the beautiful glass roof of Burton’s Arcade is specialist coffee shop Pot Kettle Black – vigilant against over roasting, this place presents its brews in trademark red mugs, served with a glass of water and a Viennese wafer. It’s spacious, cosy, and that little bit off the beaten track. The brunches here are good, too.
Ezra & Gil, 20 Hilton St, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1FR - Visit now
One of our favourite spots for caffeine in Manchester. A spacious, stripped back location serving up great coffee and a delicious menu of fresh cooked food. The counter is always filled with a tempting selection of cakes and sweets, resistance is futile. By the way, Ezra means ‘Helper’ and Gil means ‘Happiness’.
Nibble, 36 Oldham St, Manchester, M1 1JN - Visit now
Our new favourite café, Nibble provides extensive options for vegan and gluten-free dining and also offers wholesale catering. This includes a local gym where they supply food without refined sugar. So if you work nearby, go to your managers and get them to order the stuff in. You have no excuse.