Hands up who likes coffee…?
Hands up who likes coffee that doesn’t taste like watered down brown sludge…?
Despite living in the UK’s second city, I have been guilty of neglecting the smaller cafes Brum has to offer from time to time. Don’t get me wrong, I would always pick a small or indepedent coffee shop over the ones that are slowly taking over the world and never pay their taxes *cough, we know who you are* but when I’m rushed (or desperately seeking WIFI or a charge point for my dying laptop) I often grab whatever is nearest – and let’s be honest that’s usually a Starbucks.
With this in mind, last week I decided to make a change, and start exploring the city for new coffee places to try. After taking a trip to Birmingham Library to get some peace and quiet whilst working, I wombled back towards town in search of a quick coffee before my train home. Mooching down New Street it occured to me that I hadn’t yet tried Second Cup: a fairly new arrival on the busy highstreet that runs through the centre of town.
First impressions are good, and I realise it’s deceptively big. A long and thin shop, there’s some seating in the windows at the front before the counter, then another section at the back. It’s bright and cheerful and I like that there’s both secluded tables and large padded booth areas, making it accessible and comfortable regardless of why you’re visiting.
The staff are instantly attentive and polite, and I recognise one of the girls as a previous Yumm Cafe (Custard Factory) barista – a good sign in my book. As well as the usual coffee shop regulars like lattes and juices, there’s an impressive selection of ‘signature’ coffees available. There’s also LOTS OF CAKE.
I’m immediately delighted to see the coffees in the Signature Collection are listed from light to dark (making is easy – for once! – to know how strong your cuppa will be) and I decide to try the Paradiso blend which is rated as medium. I order a large and before I even get my coffee I’m over the moon to learn this enormous mug is costing me just £2.20 – yes, really.
Taking a seat in the raised booth area, I wait to be called to collect my coffee. Looking around the back section I notice a lovely electric fire nestled behind some comfy looking sofas, and a full to bursting book shelf. Cute idea, esecially as there were also a few kids books to keep little ones entertained if mum and/or dad needs 5 minutes peace.
My coffee arrives and I settle in for a quick skim of the book I’ve picked up, also noticing the groups around me munching gorgeous looking cakes and freshly made sandwiches. Note to self: get a fruit scone and jam next time. The coffee is steaming hot and tastes freshly brewed; it’s just rich enough witout being overpowering or bitter.
I ask the man sat next to me if he’s been here before and he tells me – that despite working 20 minutes in the other direction – he comes here at least 3 times a week on his lunchbreak because he loves the La Minta coffee from the Signature Collection so much. I’d say that’s a pretty good sign people like the coffee at this place..
As someone who is always looking for a new place to work for a few hours that’s both offering a nice atmopshere as well as great coffee, I’d definitely visit Second Cup again.. although next time I’ll be smashing in half of the cake section.
Second Cup, 64 New Street, B2 4DU