I am a freelance writer living based in Sheffield. Check out my blog of the Berlin music scene at fourquartersofberlinmusic.blogspot.co.uk.
Published November 7th 2012
Wake up and smell the coffee beans
Sheffield is a city which loves its coffee. But where can you go if you want to escape the soulless coffee chains that are taking over the high street? Fortunately Sheffield still has plenty of quality independent cafes and coffee shops that offer a lot more than just comically oversized mugs and tacky pictures of lattes stuck to the walls.
Bragazzis, based on Abbydale Road, brings an authentic taste of rural Italy to the steel city. It is prevalent throughout, from the beautiful black and white pictures of the Italian landscape to the classic Vespa scooter, draped in the country's flag, displayed in the cafe's window.
This increasingly popular coffee shop is nearly always bustling with young professionals and students. Even the tables outside, which overlook the busy main road and the row of takeaways and laundrettes opposite, can fill up fast. This is because the quality of Bragazzis's coffee is no longer a secret. Each one is carefully prepared by the well trained staff using their own unique blend. A latte will cost you around £2.30 and no Italian coffee would be complete without a piece of crunchy biscotti.
If, however, you want something more than just a small biscuit on your lunch break then you can choose from their wide selection of freshly made pastries or cakes, or why not try their brie and grape sandwich which is served on rustic Italian bread.
For those of you who want to continue this Italian diet at home, Bragazzis is also a multi-award winning delicatessen selling high quality cheeses, coffees, pastas and olives. The coffee shop is open every day from 9am to 5.30pm (Sundays from 11am to 4pm) and offers an ideal retreat from a busy workday or a long weekend shopping spree.
If you like your coffee with a bit more 60's soul then you don't have to travel too far to find Cafe 9. This laid back cafe, situated in the leafy suburb of Nether Edge, is run by Pete and Dave, two aging hippies with a passion for coffee.
Inside the cafe looks like an old cabin, with its wooden floorboards, rickety tables with wax covered candlesticks and walls plastered with everything from vintage album covers and portraits of Bob Dylan to a hand-carved Irish Shillelagh. The atmosphere is incredibly relaxed. You just place your order at the small, cluttered bar and lean back on one of the miss-matched chairs.
While you wait for your coffee (they are in no rush) you can attempt one of the crossword print outs and listen to some old Muddy Waters or a Neil Young album. When the coffee finally comes you will be glad you waited. Okay, so they it may not have a fancy leaf pattern in the foam, but it is rich, strong and very reasonable at around £2. It is no wonder why this quite cafe is quickly becoming a popular choice for coffee lovers.
If you are in the centre of town and in need of a pick-me-up you should head to Tamper Coffee. This New Zealand style coffee shop is situated at on a small side road linking West Street to Division Street.
Tamper is the brainchild of resident kiwi, Jonathan Perry. He moved from his native land down under to Sheffield in 2011 and has brought the best parts of the New Zealand coffee culture with him. The trained barista has an extensive knowledge of coffee, which is discernible by the wide selection he has on offer. He can whip you up anything from a standard americano or latte to an affogato (vanilla ice cream topped with espresso).
At lunchtime the queue can stretch out the door and the few tables inside this small coffee shop are invariably taken. You can always grab your coffee to go, however, and sip it on the grass banks of nearby Devonshire Green. Jonathan also offers freshly made sandwiches in organic, artisan bread but if you are really hungry you should try the delicious New Zealand influenced steak and cheese pies for £3.60.
These are just three of the many independent cafes in Sheffield who are making a stand against the coffee chains that are sprouting up all over the place. If you really love coffee than look no further.