As part of my series on The North’s coffee community I also wanted to branch further afield than just focus on Leeds. Yes, there are my favourites that I’ve already talked about, but Leeds isn’t the be all and end all of coffee in The North, and as I’ve found there are quality coffee independents in other parts of the region too. I was introduced to Bean & Bud at North Star’s Latte Art Throw Down, when their barista Lenka was 2nd in the competition. After a little research I found that it was one of, if not THE first decent independent coffee shop in Harrogate.
Bud & Bud is a speciality coffee and tea house which started life in January 2010, when during one of our bad snowy winters Ruth and Hayden opened the door to the public for the first time.
Both had been London city workers for a number of years, with Ruth working for Cafe Direct and Hayden as a tree surgeon, I know a tree surgeon! Having always had a love of coffee they wanted to open a place of their own. As always, finding the right location was important, and with the recession affecting the country it was vital they chose the right spot. At one point they’d toyed with areas like Cornwall and Ilkley wanting somewhere semi-rural, but eventually chose to settle in Harrogate where Ruth’s sister also lives.
Bean & Bud’s philosophy has always been to combine quality ingredients with a passion for excellence, individuality and attention to detail, ensuring the very best in each cup. They take great pride in knowing exactly where each product comes from, and by working with some of the best artisan roasters in the country, such as Caravan and Roundhill, Bean & Bud have introduced coffees from different continents to their customers.
Every few weeks they regularly change their coffee in order to showcase some of the best coffees from all over the world. Having two coffees on espresso available at any one time allows them to provide the customer with a choice of regions and contrasting flavour profiles. They also have a 3rd coffee for slow brew, using brewing methods such as Chemex, V60 Pourover and Aeropress, producing coffee with a cleaner, smoother flavour and no bitterness.
During the afternoon I spent at Bean & Bud, it was obvious how they value their relationship with the customer, quickly starting a dialogue with them, with the aid of their boards which clearly explain flavour profiles, tasting notes, roaster’s name and their origin. So even a coffee novice like myself can get a great cup. Being highly trained baristas they ensure attention to detail, and with a huge depth of knowledge at the fingertips, they are always more than happy to recommend a particular bean to choose.
I found Ruth and Hayden genuinely lovely people, with a willingness to quietly educate others. I liked how they have worked, their relationships with their customers were natural and not showy and I found them very easy to chat to. It was a lovely afternoon as I was even allowed behind the counter. They explained how Gina, their state of the art La Marzocca Strada worked, Gina being named after Gina Lollobrigida as their machine is curvy and Italian!! It was like a computer in a coffee machine, giving the barista complete control over every shot of coffee.
The team at Bean & Bud aren’t just specialists in coffee, they also have a wide selection of loose-leaf speciality teas such as Black, Green, White, Oolong and Puerh teas. Their teas and infusions are all expertly sourced directly from growers, Ruth has a wealth of knowledge from working for Fairtrade pioneers Cafedirect, but also from spending time with tea growers in Kenya and China. This has allowed her to find out how their teas are produced from leaf to cup, but also about the culture and philosophy of the drink.
To accompany their coffees and teas, they have a good choice to get your tastebuds around. Freshly made sandwiches every morning, using local suppliers for bread, cheese, meat, salad and chutney, such as Harrogate Preserves and neighbours Addimans Butchers. They also use gourmet cheeses including local examples Coverdale and Fountains Gold.
Ruth’s homemade Amaretti biscuits sell like hot cakes. I’m not surprised as the one I had was lightly golden on the outside and had a yummy chewiness on the inside, just right for an amaretti biscuit I think! She also bakes the Fat Rascals and brownies too. A lovely surprise was the Pastel de Nata, the Portuguese custard tart, I was lucky to leave with one for the journey home and it left me reminiscing of our holiday in Lisbon last year.
In the future Ruth and Hayden would like to streamline their tea menu and focus more on exclusive teas, holding tea cupping events where customers can be introduced to new products. Home barista courses and Q&A sessions, where their knowledge and understanding of both tea and coffee could be put to fantastic use may also be a possibility.
I’m really glad I spent the afternoon getting to know Ruth and Hayden. They certainly know their stuff and I’ll be definitely coming back on my next visit to Harrogate!!
14 Commercial Street