Costa have started to claim that they’re voted the UK’s favourite coffee shop.
I don’t believe that for a second. I’ve had their coffee, after all.
Those canvassed have probably never been to the likes of Laynes, La Bottega Milanese or Opposite in Leeds, or perhaps Bold Street Coffee in Liverpool.
Bold Street Coffee is another independent through and through, in the same mould as the trio from Leeds, and it’s equally good.
Great coffee – rich, fruity espresso with a dynamic punch to it, paired with good, homemade food from a short menu, served in a simple and very cool room by friendly people.
It’s really everything an independent coffee shop should be, right down to the vinyl records played through an old Yamaha amp, the type from years ago when amps sounded warm and a little bit retro. Why I sold that old Sony amplifier of my dad’s when I was at university, I’ll never understand, but anyway…
Places like this are real treasures, and the best are capable of thriving in the face of stiff competition from the chains. The chains can’t touch the independent’s product – Starbuck’s terrible espresso isn’t comparable to Bold Street’s mellow brew, and it’s into the independents that many people move once they tire of the big players’ bland uniformity and realise that there’s more to coffee than a bucket of warm milk.
Think of it as a graduation of sorts.
This means that there’ll always be a market for the indies, there’ll always be a group of people who’ve grown up and got past the brands, who want to taste the real thing.
And there will also be a group of people who’ve been there all along, and we’ll smile happily at the understated success of coffee shops like Bold Street, and be glad that we knew these places were great all along.
One more thing. Bold Street Coffee made me think. There’s nothing quite like this around here, outside of The Big City.
Saltaire, are you ready?
Find Bold Street Coffee at www.boldstreetcoffee.co.uk , @boldstcoffee or at 89 Bold Street.