Next time you’re looking for a caffeine boost, head to Leeds’ best independent coffee shops.
There’s no shortage of coffee shops in Leeds – in fact, the city centre is chock full of them. But which should you choose for your morning brew and what makes them stand out? We’ve rounded up the best independent coffee shops in the city to help your get your day off to a delicious start.
Mrs Atha’s is one of the most popular places to grab a coffee, so popular, in fact, that you might have to wait for a table – but it’s worth it. Their coffee is provided by their sister brand, Maude Coffee, who ethically source their beans from farms around the world, then roast them at their home on Railway Street. They have different roasts for espresso, filter and brewed coffee, and they often have guest brews from the likes of Roundhill in Bath and Dark Woods in Huddersfield. Their baristas are all extensively trained, so you know you’re in safe hands here, and the shop itself is a vintage chic haven.
Mrs Atha’s, Central Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DE.
Single Shot is unique, because it’s one part coffee shop and one part record store. They have rare vintage LPs at the front of the shop, with seats at the back – just go to the counter to order your coffee, which is made with beans sourced from nearby roastery The Caffe Society. Whether it’s a latte, cappuccino or flat white, they’ve got you covered, and you’ll find it’s surprisingly good value. Pair it with one of their Brown and Blond cakes, a new album or a flick through the latest music mags.
Single Shot, 30 Central Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DE.
If you don’t mind going a little out of your way to find a great Leeds coffee shop, you should hunt out Cafe 164, in their little nook on the ground floor of Munro House. Expect all kinds of sandwiches, salads and cakes, which are the ideal accompaniment to their mighty fine coffee. They use a range of local and national independent suppliers, from Leeds’ North Star and Maude to Casa Espresso in Bradford and Bruce and Luke’s in Cumbria. While you sip your coffee, you can even take in the artwork on display at The Gallery at Munro House which is inside the cafe itself.
With The Gallery at Munro House inside the cafe itself, and Colours May Vary just across the hallway, you won’t struggle for things to look at while you sip your coffee.
Cafe 164, Munro House, Duke Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS9 8AG.
Laynes is the ultimate choice for coffee aficionados. They have a bean repertoire that includes the likes of Square Mile, Has Bean, Origin and Grumpy Mule amongst a slew of renowned European roasters, as they continue in their mission to brew the best coffee in Leeds. It’s because of this that they’ve become the benchmark for coffee in the city, from their small but perfectly formed spot on New Station Road. Be it the 4 ounce Piccolo, the flat white or even the split shot tasting tray, you can trust Laynes with your morning caffeine injections. Throw in one of their renowned cakes or sandwiches for the full experience.
Laynes Espresso, 16 New Station Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5DL.
You’ll find two Opposite cafes in Leeds, each ready and waiting to give you a tasty caffeine boost. One sip of their Square Mile, Grumpy Mule or North Star coffees, which they change up on a regular basis, will show you why they’re considered one of the leaders of the indie coffee shop revolution. So whether you’re after a latte, a cappuccino or something a little stronger, nip into one of their venues for a mighty fine brew and a bite to eat.
Opposite Cafe, 26 Back Blenheim Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9HD. Cup and Saucer by Opposite, 4 Steinbeck Lane, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 3QY.
Out of the Woods
You may have to venture a little further out of the centre, but Out of the Woods is certainly worth the walk. Their experienced baristas serve up some of the best coffee in Leeds, using Dark Woods Roasters from Huddersfield to make everything from espressos to mochas. Need something to eat with your coffee? Chase your cuppa with a bowl of granola or porridge at breakfast, or one of their sarnies, soups and salads at lunch – you get the whole package at Out of the Woods.
Out of the Woods, 2 Waterman’s Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4GL & 113 Water Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5WD.
Sheaf Street Cafeteria
Although Laynes Espresso have now left Sheaf Street Cafeteria, you can still bag yourself a quality coffee there. Alongside their delectable range of breakfast and lunch dishes, The Grub and Grog Shop have taken control of the coffee machines. They whip up everything from espressos and americanos to lattes and flat whites using beans sourced from Leeds’ North Star. Open throughout the week from 8.30am and at the weekend from 9am, it’s the perfect start to the day, and with prices starting from £1.50, it won’t break the bank either.
Sheaf Street Cafeteria, 3 Sheaf Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1HD.
At the heart of Wellington Place, Sociable Folk is a firm favourite. They serve up some of the best coffee in Leeds, particularly if you like yours deep and smoky. Their flat white is definitely worth a go, but if you want something that really packs a punch, go with the four ounce cortado, all courtesy of North Star’s finest blends. But don’t enjoy it solo, because Sociable Folk has a menu of homemade food too, from healthy salads to wraps, ciabattas and pick and mix brownies.
Sociable Folk Cafe, 10 Wellington Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4JP.
If you’re after a coffee shop in Leeds that’s completely different from everywhere else, Casa Colombiana is the place to go. They have their own Casacol coffee, which is roasted, ground and brewed on-site in their Grand Arcade home, and the result is one of the freshest cuppas you’ll find at any of the cafes across Leeds. Taking their authentic approach even further, they’ve dressed up their home in impressive Colombian style and brought some of the finest South American dishes to Yorkshire, including arepas, enchiladas and ceviche.
Casa Colombiana, Grand Arcade, 6 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
San Co Co
San Co Co has plenty to offer, but their coffee in particular has earned them plenty of fans. Using Caffe Vero Italian coffee blends from Nottingham, they offer a slew of tremendous brews, including an awesome macchiato and a delicious iced coffee. Their little cafe is the perfect spot to stop for a brew, and watch the world go by, but don’t be surprised if you’re tempted in by the food. They offer a tasty menu of breakfasts, sandwiches and salads worth checking out.
San Co Co, 12 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
With two venues now open in Leeds, Kapow Coffee has become a favourite with caffeine-lovers. They like to do things their own way, so alongside the usual flat whites and lattes, made using beans from Union Coffee, you can expect a few intriguing options. They use Artemis Coffee to make the Nitro Cold Brew, which is laid on over ice while the Matcha Green Tea Latte is well worth trying. Alongside your brew, they do an enticing selection of sandwiches, salads and sweet treats so you might want to hang around to make the most of it.
Kapow Coffee, 44 The Calls, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EW and 15 Thornton’s Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LQ.
North Star Cafe and General Store
North Star was the city’s first micro-roaster, and you’ll find their delicious, locally roasted beans in coffee shops across the north, but now they’ve opened their own little cafe at Leeds Dock. It sits side-by-side with the roastery, so you’ll be able to try two of their single origin espressos, as well as one of their expertly made filter coffees, just metres from where they were made. They’ll also have loose tea, craft beer, gin and coffee-inspired cocktails – and they’re teaming up with Noisette Bakehouse to serve up a menu of delicious morsels.
North Star Cafe and General Store, The Boulevard, Leeds Dock, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1PZ.
Stage Espresso and Brewbar
Stage Espresso and Brewbar is a brainchild of Martyn and Matt Jakeman, two brothers who wanted to share their love of coffee with the masses. They specialise in single-origin coffee, so everything you order, whether it’s a flat white, a split shot or a cappuccino, will be made with beans from an individual or small group of farms. The venue itself is petite, with just a small amount of seating, but it’s a cosy place to while away the hours – and if you get hungry, you can indulge in fresh sandwiches or cakes from Tarte and Berry.
Stage Espresso & Brewbar, 41 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BB.
Another coffee lover’s paradise on Great George Street, Kronos has a whole new concept. They charge by the minute, not the cup (unless you’re taking out). Pull up a pew and enjoy a latte, an americano or a cappuccino, with beans sourced locally from Cielo UK. Couple your brew with a medley of free eats – think cookies, pastries, cereal and crumpets, all of which are included in the price. They’ve got board games and even a PS4 to keep you entertained, so you can make the most of every minute.
Kronos Coffee, 61 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BB.
200 Degrees has become a real favourite since making its way to Leeds from Nottingham, where they have their own coffee roastery. That’s one of their biggest pulls – they handpick the beans before roasting, grinding and serving them, which means they have total control over the quality. You can try their signature Brazilian Love Affair blend at their Bond Court shop, alongside a range of seasonal brews, and they’re coupled with freshly made sandwiches, salads or cakes.
200 Degrees, 31 Bond Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5BQ.
La Bottega Milanese
La Bottega Milanese has got two homes, one at Bond Court and another in The Light – and both offer some of the best coffee this side of Milan. They use their very own custom coffee that’s roasted right here in Yorkshire. La Classica is the main house blend, it’s a 100% speciality grade and ethically sourced Arabica coffee, but they also team up with various UK roasters for guest coffees that highlight the country’s burgeoning coffee scene. Pair your favourite brew with one of their delciious pasticcini sweet treats and if you need lunch, their selection of handmade piadinas are a winner. – trust us, you’re onto a winner.
La Bottega Milanese, Unit 11a The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 8TL.
This one’s a little bit different – Taste is a cafe created by the business community, for the business community. Founded by Ian Hargreaves, Managing Director at local marketing agency Your Engine Room, it was born of a need – a need for quality coffee and on-the-go lunch options. Stop by for a brew, made with beans from local roastery, Maude Coffee, or nip over on your lunch for freshly made sandwiches, DIY salads and cakes.
Taste, 3 Butcher Street, Saw Mill Yard, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5WH.
The Union Coffee House
The Union takes a collaborative approach to business. They made it their mission to work with local independents and charities, which is why their coffee comes from North Star, their bread comes from Leeds Bread Co-op and much of their furniture comes from St Luke’s Cares. Look around while you sup your brew, because everything is for sale. Whether it’s a bag of coffee beans, your favourite chair or the art on the walls – if you see something you like, you can take it home.
The Union Coffee House, 51 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BB.Feature image courtesy of Ollievision.