It’s fair to say that Kronos is different to all the other coffee shops in Leeds. Why? Because it charges by the minute, not the cup.
Great George Street has seen something of a resurgence of late, with a host of new openings over the last 12 months, the latest of which is Kronos – a coffee shop with a difference. They’ve taken a leaf out of the book of Howard Schulz, CEO of Starbucks. His original idea was to create a ‘third’ space, somewhere between home and work where you can relax – and what better way to do it than by creating a new concept store where you pay for your time, not the consumables.
“Kronos is a coffee shop, but not a classic one, we focus more on the atmosphere because we want people to feel at home and come back with their friends, but most of all we want them to feel comfortable. Did you ever get those dirty looks from the staff when you order one coffee and sit there for hours? I did and this will never happen at Kronos,” Director Evgeny Yakovlev told us.
And that’s pretty close to the mark. They have a relaxed attitude at Kronos that puts you in control. Step into the brightly painted shop and you’ll be met with a mix of minimalism and clutter – think understated furniture paired with leopard skin, chalkboards and clocks, lots of clocks. The snacks littered around the bar (no need to order, just help yourself) are marked up with Alice in Wonderland-style ‘Eat Me’ signs – have as much or as little as you like, there’s no judgement here.
“It’s very simple, once you walk in one of our experienced baristas will explain the concept and tell you about all the goodies we have on that day. Then we’ll give you a little chalkboard with the time you came in (so you can keep track) and you are free to roam around and explore,” Evgeny explained. “Once you’ve finished you come back to the bar and our barista will tell you how much you owe. We currently charge 10p per minute, so one hour would cost you £6. In that time you can have an unlimited amount of professionally made coffee, as well as tea, lemonade, a selection of biscuits, fresh fruit and much more.”
They do all the classics at Kronos, with a choice of Americanos, lattes, espressos and cappuccinos, all of which can be ordered at the bar. Couple them with cereal, pastries and biscuits, which you’ll find dotted around the bar, or order a plate of crumpets – hell, you can even bring your own food to eat in, they don’t mind. They do sandwiches too, freshly made every day to cater for the lunch crowds – they’re not included in the price, but they are a bargain at just £2.50. You can get them to eat in or takeaway, and the same is true of the coffee – which is also a bargain at £2 for a coffee or just £1 for an espresso.
“Coffee is a biggie, we’ve spent a long time calibrating our coffee machine and the grinder to get the best pour possible. This month’s beans have tasting notes of chocolate, caramel and almond and taste great in a cappuccino,” Evgeny told us, but the way he takes his coffee might surprise you. “My favourite is a cappuccino with whipped cream and marshmallows, it tastes great, perfect with a book on a rainy day.”
There’s a real focus on keeping it local at Kronos – their coffee is roasted locally at Cielo in Garforth, they’re in the process of setting up a subscription with Leeds Bread Co-op and their milk comes from Gary Ingham, a local farmer who specialises in free range milk from happy cows.
You even get entertainment included in the price. They have a stash of board games for you to play while you’re here, as well as a PlayStation 4 – and if you beat Kayden the barista at FIFA, your stay at Kronos is on the house. They’re also plotting a series of free events, with speed dating, FIFA tournaments and board games all on the cards for the future, and as time goes on, they’ll start introducing paid-for events too, including talks, book readings and foodie get-togethers.
Kronos has an interesting concept, a relaxed atmosphere and a great location, with a downright bargainous price for a takeaway coffee, so we hope they’ll do well. Check it out next time you’re in the area and let us know what you think.
Kronos Coffee, 61 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BB.