There’s a new coffee shop in Leeds as 200 Degrees opens up on Bond Street.
Leeds has an abundance of amazing cafes to pop in to, and now there’s another to add to the list, as 200 Degrees has finally opened its doors. Their new cafe on Bond Street is their fourth, joining their existing cafes in Nottingham and Birmingham. They also have a coffee roaster in Nottingham, which is how it all began. Owners Tom Vincent and Rob Darby were university friends who had a taste for cracking coffee, but they had a hard time the blend they liked – and so they decided to make it themselves.
They started as a roasters, beginning with a small unit in an old building, which has now expanded into a full blown production on the banks of the River Trent. Their beans are sourced from all across the world, using Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance approved suppliers – and they mix them by hand, before roasting them at 200 Degrees, hence the name. They’re then sampled in-house to make sure they’re up to their high standards, before you get to try them yourself.
Vincent told us their story, “We were very into our coffee, probably more in to coffee than beer to be honest. We couldn’t get what we wanted, so we started to roast our own with a little roaster in the corner of a building and that’s where it came from. It actually became so popular that we opened our own shop, which wasn’t really on the agenda to begin with, but it just worked that way and started to develop.”
Opening a cafe wasn’t part of the initial plan, but the wholesalers loved their blends so much that it was the logical next step for the company, and they’ve now added Leeds to their growing empire of coffee. But why? Vincent explained, “It’s a great city, it’s got an independent food scene that I think is as good as anywhere in the country. The number of independent food producers and food outlets is absolutely massive for a city this size. I think the scene in Leeds is further developed than a lot of other cities, so it was really the obvious choice because here you don’t have to explain to people what decent coffee is and what speciality coffee is, because it’s already here and it’s already what people do.”
Their house blend is called Brazilian Love Affair and that’s what you’ll be drinking at their Bond Street home – but they’ll also be showing off their more creative side too, with a range of small batch blends that come and go with the seasons.
If you’re looking for a bite to eat with your brew, 200 Degrees has that covered too. Their menu has been designed by a New Jersey-born chef – the result is a Trans-Atlantic menu of breakfast and lunch dishes, that aims to blend traditional market-style fare with the flavours of the Big Apple. Expect everything from soups to sandwiches, pastas and salads on a menu that changes every Wednesday.
The cafe itself is an impressive affair. They’ve changed the look for Leeds, to fit in with the venue’s surroundings. Usually they go for a Victorian, turn-of-the-century style, but this one has a more mid-century feel, inspired by 1930s-1950s design, with North African touches here and there. It’s got a cosy, independent feel – look out for quirky touches, like the neon light fireplace, retro light fittings and a statement copper panel wall. They’ve also given it a nice personal touch, with friendly service and drinks brought straight to your table, so you don’t have to hang around at the end of the counter.
There’s something else that sets 200 Degrees apart – an upstairs room especially dedicated to tastings, classes and barista training. Their purpose-built classroom seats 12-16 people, and will be home to a series of classes and courses starting from £40, with everything from full barista training to latte art and ‘at home’ coffee making. Tom told us a little more about what they’ll be doing, “There are different levels, there’s basics, intermediate, then there’s the expert level which is for guys that work in the trade. We’ve also had a chat with the guys at Leeds Indie Food about opening it up to local food producers who don’t necessarily have that sort of space.”
200 Degrees is a cool, cosy coffee that still feels like an independent, so next time you’re in need of a caffeine fix, pop down to Bond Street and give them a try.
200 Degrees, 31 Bond Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5BQ.