The Music Room, 12 China Street, Lancaster, LA1 1EX – Visit Now
Hidden away on Lancaster’s Sun Square is a Grade II* listed Georgian pavilion – with a very popular café on its ground floor. The Music Room from Atkinsons Coffee Roasters is filled with light from the double height arched windows that sit behind the building’s ionic columns, as well as being tastefully decorated with white walls, wooden furniture and neat row of stools at the serving counter. Built in 1730, the rooms of the building are so tall that there’s space for an airy mezzanine level at the back, at the top of a flight of stairs. Better still are the tables and seats outside on bright days, with the sun radiating off the stone front of the building and a basket of blankets for when there’s a chill in the air. At The Music Room you’ll find Atkinsons’ coffees and teas, brewed by a team of baristas that’s twice entered the UK Barista Championships, as well as a countertop selection of cakes and sandwiches.
Atkinsons Coffee Roasters has a long and prestigious history, beginning in 1837 when Thomas Atkinson opened his ‘Grasshopper Tea Warehouse’ for the sale of coffee, spices, refined sugar and chocolate in Lancaster – naming his company J. Atkinson & Co after his wife, Jane. Thomas Atkinson considered the grasshopper a mark of quality, his slogan being ‘The grasshopper only eats the finest leaves’, and enjoyed a boom in his chosen trade as coffee and tea drinking shifted from a privileged pastime to a habit among the masses. The grasshopper remains in the Atkinsons Coffee Roasters logo today, although the company was taken over in 2005 by two part-time staff and a manager, who had been with the company for 50 years.
The new management’s approach was to apply a mix of restoration and modern development: the much loved shop on China Street was lovingly refurbished, whilst behind the scenes the wholesale side of the business underwent a serious expansion. The new approach is still informed by a marked respect for the core product; statistics such as the fact that it takes 400 man hours to produce a pound of coffee beans are impressed upon new trainees, and great attention paid to a drink that contains over 1,500 recorded flavour compounds. Visit The Music Room, and you’ll see this dedication at work.