Tag Archives: North Star

Somewhere Else Coffeehouse & Bakery – The North’s Coffee Community, pt X

My hunt for independent coffee haunts has once again taken me to Sheffield with Somewhere Else Coffee. This recently opened coffee establishment is family owned and run by Caroline and Katie Scott, a mother and daughter duo who originally hail from Rotherham. Having once been in the business of managing a boatyard building barges, it’s certainly a bit of a departure to making an espresso, but this dream of opening their own coffee shop was just too great.

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Choosing the city of Sheffield for its home, they appreciated what the place had to offer in terms of history and character. After a long search to find the perfect space for the shop, they saw completely by chance an empty betting shop that had been covered up for years on Eccleshall Road. Being able to see passed all the work that it would need, they fell in love with the space, in particular the front window. For the interior they used inspiration that harks to the past, with recycled and reclaimed materials found every now and again in there quirky designed interior.

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They wanted to use a local roastery for the coffee and happen to use Leeds based roaster North Star!! These guys are certainly getting around, and no wonder with their superb coffee, you’ll be able to find North Star’s Dark Arches for their house coffee. This is something they are very proud of at Somewhere Else, as they are the first to sell coffee from North Star in these parts.  Somewhere Else isn’t just about coffee though, tea also plays an important part on their beverage list too; using Sheffield based Birdhouse.

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Cakes are all homemade by Caroline’s own fair hands, popular they are too; in particular their blueberry, strawberry and almond cake which goes down a storm! With many of them catering for a range of dietary requirements, whether they be gluten intolerant, dairy or vegan there’ll be something delicious for you!

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I really liked the space they’ve created, having used lots of reclaimed materials to produce a shop that’s light, bright and mixed with quirky touches every now and again. Upstairs there’s a more cosy snug and a studio room that showcases work from local artists and University students. In keeping with one of their main priorities of being a part of the local community, they help to raise money for Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

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Keeping the shop in the family is very important to these guys and their aim is for it to grow steadily, building a firm base on Eccleshall Road and doing a good job of it. In the future they’d like to sell coffee beans, increase their repertoire using different brewing techniques such as Aeropress, and possibly hosting coffee cupping events.

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If you’re ever in Sheffield and fancy coffee from fantastic local roaster North Star, served in relaxed surroundings by some lovely people, why not try Somewhere Else Coffee?

Somewhere Else Coffee
965 Ecclesall Road
Sheffield
S11 8TN
http://www.somewhereelsecoffee.com/#/
http://www.northstarroast.com
https://www.facebook.com/BirdhouseTeaCompany

The Noise of Strangers Pop-Up @ Leeds Dock, Leeds

Oooh I love a good pop-up, especially the intrigue that surrounds it, The Noise of Strangers is one venture that’s been waiting in the wings for a long time. I first saw them on Twitter last year then the trail seemed to go cold – who were they, where had they gone, had it died a death, what was the deal??? Was it a game they were playing?

Suddenly The Noise of Strangers started to reach out and interact with followers, so at the earliest opportunity I signed myself and mate Lucy Reynolds up, fellow pop-up lover to join in the fun.

Whoever these guys were, they’d slowly enticed us into their web, drip feeding us with vague, sneaky peaks of the venue. Leading us on a bit of a wild goose chase, all good fun to be had. The location was finally released a couple of days before the event and it was in one of the empty buildings of what was Clarence Dock, now Leeds Dock. In the past the only thing that attracted me to visit was really The Royal Armouries or the fantastic restaurant The Bird which was housed at Alea Casino. Since The Bird closed I haven’t really give it a passing thought, until now.

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Final instructions were emailed to us and told us to venture down to Leeds Dock, near a popular pizza restaurant close to the Royal Armouries. We found a huge expanse and in the middle were two long tables with seating in the form of long benches. All set up and looking good so far. So when we were offered a glass of Prosecco with Elderflower, the only thing to reply back was  ‘oh yes please, thank you very much!’

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The Prosecco didn’t last long so we dove straight into sampling the False Bay Sauvignon Blanc they had to compliment our meal, reasonably priced as these events go at £13.50 I found it a nice, easy drinking white that was certainly hitting all the right notes and getting us in the mood for a yummy five-courser.

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Our pre-dinner drinks gave us chance to re-familiarise ourselves with the menu and it was just a list of the primary ingredients; this partly lended itself to the intrigue where they just provide the barest of details, bringing out the need to ask questions and find out more. 

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We were invited to sit down for dinner at 7pm and sat next to a slate platter of butter, where one was rolled in Parmesan and one was reformed with a sweet caramel flavour. With some yummy bread rolls our experience started well. 

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When the first course was brought the initial thing that impressed me was how beautiful everything looked, aesthetically lots of attention to detail had obviously been paid to the ingredients and dish as a whole. This first course was a lovely opener with flavours of the sea from the razor clam and salty samphire, extremely delicious crab underneath and the pickled cucumber and radish helped to cut through the richness in the dish. Everything was so delicate I did just sit there staring at it, but soon, within a few mouthfuls it was gone.

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For our second course three main components were listed – smoked duck, Pain d’épice and apple. I’ve only eaten smoked duck one, as part of the Kirkstall Bridge Inn‘s platters, a revelation it was too with real punchiness from the smoke, but still retaining it’s sweetness. This dish was a much more delicate affair, with very thinly sliced duck hidden underneath a crisp Pain d’épice, apple, chicory and edible flowers. I didn’t really know what to expect by the Pain d’épice and after a little research found it is a spiced bread, traditionally made with rye. I found it a little overwhelming for the dish, it’s sweetness took over a little more than I would have liked and masked the delicate flavour from the duck. All the other ingredients were lovely, but if the duck is the main ingredient then I feel it should have been more evident.

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Our third course was also beautifully presented, cubes of cured salmon, beetroot in different forms – meringue, golden, regular, purée, powder, a deep fried breaded goat cheese which just oozed out. Lots of contrasting flavours from beetroot which was earthy and vibrant, salty cheese and undeniable flavour of salmon. A really tasty dish, the walnut added a little but I found it was a bit lost amongst everything else.

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Course no: 4 – Lamb is an obvious meat of choice at this time of year, on offer was a rolled shoulder of lamb which was delicately lamby in flavour. It must have been cooked forever as it was so melt in the mouth, virtually no pressure was needed to chew. A generous swipe of pea purée, a couple of olives which provided an umami hit, but thankfully weren’t too powerful and a sprinkling of feta cheese for added saltiness. The gravy/jus whatever you want to call it was glossy and smooth and did what a great sauce should do and brought the whole dish together. The only thing I found a little odd was the plating up, we had a large dinner plate, with the food placed on one side of the plate, what about the other side!

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After a little break the desserts were brought over in delicate little glass bowls, what came was the perfect combination of strawberries in either fresh, jelly and freeze-dried forms, balsamic, black pepper sugar and whipped cream. It was deliciously light with lots of flavour; sweet, sour and peppery heat – a yummy palate cleanser!

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I’d half forgotten that North Star were providing the coffee for the event, but as always was fantastic to see them showing off their hard work! With a couple of Chemex flasks ready for their Rwandan coffee that we would have as the climax to our experience. 

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Coffee was served black and they’d brought a lovely Rwandan Gashonga to try out. The Chemex had done a lovely job keeping the coffee clear, syrupy and with a distinct taste of fruit from cherry, blackcurrant and damson. Kept black and with no bitterness whatsoever, so hopefully even people with the craving for adding sugar to their coffee wouldn’t get the urge. In my haste to drink it I completely forgot to take a photo first, sorry. Finally the macarons were a perfect companion to our coffees, light, unctuous and gooey in the centre. Yummy.

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The evening had been a collaboration of many; including Joe Hepworth of Hepworth’s Deli,  North Star Micro Roasters and Leeds Pop-Ups and Latitude Wine, apologies if I’ve forgotten anyone. On all accounts I’d had a really lovely evening, not just because of the food, but when it comes to events like this, it’s people who really love food and the experience as a whole who come, so we were lucky to sit next to two other diners who seemed to enjoy the evening as much as us. 

Our five course dinner was £35 each, not including wine.

Did you attend the event, what did you reckon? Do you love a good pop-up too?

The Noise of Strangers

The Noonshine Cafe @ Outlaws Yacht Club, Leeds

Writing a food blog you may think I eat like this ALL the time, but in reality at work it’s a different story altogether. Now I can’t speak for other people, but at school I don’t eat properly at all, working through my break, tea and biscuits are my usual lunch. Don’t worry  I wouldn’t expect sympathy or anything like that, I make the most of my free time instead!!

So when I heard on the grapevine that Leeds food and drink folk Noisette Bakehouse, The Grub & Grog Shop and North Star were hosting The Noonshine Cafe every Friday at Outlaws Yacht Club, I thought to myself you lucky Leeds folk working in the city centre, you can get something that’s value for money and yummy to boot, all made by local independent businesses. Wanting to show my support, and hoping to get a good feed on their first day, I left school at an appropriate time after doing school stuff. I even ordered a sandwich in advance so I didn’t miss out, really sad I know, but I like to think of it as being organised! 

Outlaws have worked with North Star to create their own blend of coffee, while Noisette Bakes had a great selection of baked goods, in particular the sea salt caramel brownie, which is quickly becoming a favourite in many people’s tummies! Jim and Dan the team behind The Grub & Grog Shop had a tempting range of stews, sandwiches and salads. Oh I shouldn’t forget Leeds Bread Co-op who provided the bread for the stew and sandwiches.

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I was starving when I got there so quickly ordered the Beef Brisket sandwich, Mandarin Frangipan Tart and a North Star latte. 

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I’m not normally a fan of sandwiches, if only all sandwiches were tasty like this I could be converted! Fresh ciabatta bread from Leeds Co-op generously filled with great tasting brisket and I loved all the extras, in particular the horseradish which gave it a kick up the backside, the fresh stuff too this time. At their last event the Leeds Creative Family Tree event, Jim didn’t manage to get his hands on any so our food lacked a little punch), that certainly wasn’t the case here!! Peppery rocket and lovely pickled mooli gave it a sharpness, whilst also keeping it fresh. For my dessert my Mandarin Frangipan Tart went great with my North Star coffee. 

In terms of cost, it certainly was value for money – my ‘three course’ lunch of sandwich, coffee and cake set me back just £5!!

I think Noonshine is another fab example of collaboration between local independent businesses, and one where you can get a decent, bargainous lunch!! If you are Leeds city centre based, you won’t go far wrong getting lunch, coffee and cake from these guys!!

Outlaws Yacht Club
38 New York Street
Leeds
LS2 7DY
0113 234 6998
http://outlawsyachtclub.com
@grubandgrogshop
@NoisetteBakes
@NorthStarRoast
@LeedsBreadCoop
http://noisettebakehouse.com
http://www.northstarroast.com
http://leedsbread.coop

North Star Latte Art Throwdown @ North Star Micro Roasters, Leeds

One of my 2013 blog highlights was North Star Micro Roasters Inaugural Cupping Event.  Since their initial launch North Star have gone from strength to strength, building a large following of coffee lovers in Leeds and beyond.

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Wednesday was the day of their Inaugural Latte Art Throwdown Championships, held at their premises in Meanwood. I’ve been a little obsessed with the whole latte art thing over the last few months after seeing a latte with a Darth Vadar design, to the point where I’ve even been really sad watching YouTube clips and making my husband watch them! 

For people not in the know, Latte art is where coffee is made by pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso which results in a  pattern on the surface.

headed down after school with my friend Alice to meet some coffee folk, watch in awe and of course take some photos!! We’d wondered which baristas would be competing, with such great places to get coffee in Leeds at the moment we were optimistic, such as Laynes, Opposite, Mrs Athas and La Bottega Milanese to name a well known few. really decent crowd were already there when we arrived at North Star Headquarters, and Krag and Ellis, the boys at the helm of North Star were there hosting.  

When Ellis announced the competitors we weren’t far wrong, representing Leeds were baristas from Froth ‘n’ Fodder, Cielo, La Bottega Milanese, Mrs AthasNotes and also Ellis from North Star. Also vying for the crown were baristas from further afield – Bean and Bud and Baltzersens hailing from HarrogateUpshot Espresso from Sheffield, Grumpy Mule from Meltham and finally Crema Espresso from Bridlington.

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Independent food produce was also on show during the event with fantastic bread from theLeeds Bread Co-op, paired with yummy chutney fromMade by Jim, unctuous brownies and caramels from Sarah at Noisette Bakehouse, and lastly beautiful meat and cheese platters supplied byBaltzersens.

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Ok, so apologies for my trigger happy camera finger, I know it happens a lot, but I managed to take 300+ photos during the evening!!! I’ve tried to be good and have whittled it down to a compilation of photos that hopefully tell the tale of the competition.

The rules for the 1st round were that competitors would battle it out head to head, they could pour any design they wanted into a 6oz cup, using a 12oz jug. Being watched by eagle-eyed judges – Adam from Opposite Cafe, Carl from Layne’s Espresso and Krag from North Star, competitors were judged using the following criteria:

  • balance and symmetry
  • colour definition
  • use of space
  • the overall pour

All of to be done under pressure with a crowd of their peers and latte art admirers!!!Here’s a compilation of the 1st round pours:

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In the 2nd round the ten remaining baristas had to pour a rosetta:

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Tulips were up next in the semi-finals:

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So after three rounds of a closely contested battle, the field of twenty hopefuls was down to the final three: Lenka (Bean and Bud), Matt (Mrs Athas) and Oakley (Crema Espresso).

In the final round they had to use a 12oz jug to make a latte in a 6oz cup but also a piccolo, being as artistic as they dared with the design.

Matt from Mrs Athas
Matt from Mrs Athas
Oakley from Crema Espresso
Oakley from Crema Espresso
Lenka from Bean and Bud
Lenka from Bean and Bud

The judges took a few minutes to deliberate and come to an agreement over their scores, in the meantime the crowd and the competitors waited with baited breath.

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A few minutes later Ellis announced the winner of this years Inaugural Latte Art Throwdown – Oakley from Crema Espresso!! He was the clear winner, with Lenka from Bean Bud in 2nd and Matt from Mrs Athas in 3rd. All very well deserved!!

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The winner – Oakley from Crema Espresso!!!

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So another great event at North Star, an evening full of shaky hands, tense moments, great camaraderie and sportsmanship. It was fantastic to meet some of the North’s independent coffee community and see them come out in force! Here’s to more cupping events and throwdowns in the future!!!

North Star Micro Roasters

Unit 27
Penraevon Industrial Estate
Jackson Road
Meanwood Road
Leeds
LS7 2AP

Inaugural Cupping event @ North Star Micro Roasters, Leeds

Of all the non-alcoholic beverages I drink coffee isn’t really one of them, I may order a caffè latte (which maybe a bit lame to coffee connoisseurs), but in general I drink it very rarely. On Thursday afternoon I’d received a message on Twitter from North Star Micro Roasters, a Leeds based company who’s primary ethos is to produce coffee from ethically sourced Arabica beans.

IMG_4636They are based on Meanwood Road in close proximity to other Leeds Independents Leeds Bread Co-op and Ridgeside Brewery, and had very kindly invited me to their Inaugural Cupping event, I had no idea what a cupping event was, but I was really intrigued so drove down that evening. As soon as I walked in I saw sacks of their coffee beans stood next to their roaster called Roxanne – a 5KG Toper and a whole host of people from local businesses, friends and family.

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DSC_0444Within the first five minutes I had spoken to two people involved in this new venture, born in April this year. Being pretty much a coffee virgin, with virtually zero knowledge about coffee I was quickly involved in a conversation about how each stage of the process was performed from picking the perfect coffee beans to roasting them to perfection, culminating in a coffee which possessed a consistency of flavour with each batch of beans. I had no idea it was so technical and being a science teacher by day, found it quite scientific. 

They have a range of single origin coffees for pour over and two house espresso blends – Czar Street Seasonal Espresso and Dark Arches Espresso. Part of their work at the roastery will be dedicated to collaborating with businesses in order to create bespoke blends unique to their individual tastes. 

What was also great to hear was their interest and commitment to the people who work on the land and do all the growing, picking and processing. North Star are working with Harrogate based Falcon Speciality Green Coffee Importers and both share the same ethos of sustainability, where fair prices are paid to farmers for coffee, the land is used in a way that respects the environment and the continuous improvement of coffee flavour profiles are all at the heart of their business. In turn this will hopefully build relationships that will last and prosper, allowing farmers to continually re-invest. All of North Star coffee is fully traceable, fully certified internationally or audited by Falcon trained social auditors, which ensures that the land where our coffee is grown and the people who grow it are treated with respect.

For the inaugural cupping we saw Roxanne, the 5kg Toper in its element roasting a batch for the evening and during this the profile of the beans was being monitored in terms of the beans temperature to ensure a consistent flavour profile for each batch.

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Mike Riley from Falcon Speciality Green Importers, who’d previously work for Taylors of Harrogate for 25 years as Head of Coffee introduced the cupping event and showed an infectious passion for his craft, he spoke lyrically about each coffee that would be tasted, its origin and flavour notes. For the next hour or so people were invited to taste away, comparing coffee from different areas be it Nicaragua, Columbia, Ethiopia and Rwanda to name a few. Coffee was also being used on the La Marcocco Linea espresso machine by expert Barista Ellis Hall, this would also be available for training at the roastery as part of their service to customers.

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DSC_0465There was a great buzz to the whole event and it showed that maybe I’m missing out here and should give coffee a try. One of the best things about the Leeds food and drink scene currently is the collaboration and support between independent ventures, on the night they had drafted in food from neighbour Leeds Bread Coop, pizza from Dough Boys and tamales from El Topo. Drinks were supplied by another neighbour Ridgeside Brewery.

Leeds Coop bread
Leeds Co-op bread
Cherry and chocolate tamales from El Topo
Cherry and chocolate tamales from El Topo

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It was a great evening showcasing coffees from another Leeds independent business. I think I left with a feeling that was evident from the start, that this team at North Star really show an innate passion for the humble coffee bean and this I’m sure can only be a wonderful thing. Leeds is certainly lucky to have them. I’d really like to visit them again in the near future and give coffee, which I hadn’t really given a chance before, a proper try. If it’s through a local, independent venture like this, which encourages me to enjoy this beverage then all the better for it!!!

North Star Micro Roasters
Unit 27
Penraevon Industrial Est.
Jackson Road
Meanwood Road
Leeds
LS7 2AP
http://northstarroast.com
http://leedsbread.coop
http://www.el-topo.co.uk
http://www.ridgesidebrewery.co.uk