Bean & Bud, an independent coffee house nestled down Commercial Street in Harrogate, is a hidden gem as far as cafes are concerned in this Victorian town. Although Harrogate has quite a few independent coffee house and cafes serving afternoon tea, not all are as unique as they’d like you to think, or as knowledgable about their products as others. But there are exceptions, and Bean & Bud ranks high up on the list.
Although a small establishment with limited seating, Bean & Bud boasts a caffeine-lover’s getaway from the main shopping streets, offering you a quiet spot to take your time and smell the coffee. After passing the various Starbucks, Neros and Costas in the centre of the town, you walk in the door of Bean & Bud and are immediately greeted by the colourful cafe and smiling staff.
Experts on everything coffee related, the staff are amazingly helpful when it comes to you making your decision on which coffee to treat yourself to. Which coffee you say? What variations can their be aside from the standard espresso, cappuccino, latte, americano and the occassional flat white? At Bean & Bud, these are only the type of coffee to choose from, in terms of the milk to espresso shot ratio. You also have to choose what type of roast you want your drink to be made from and how it is made, choosing from the overwhelming selection on the boards above the counter.
They offer both coffee from individual farms and from cooperations representing smallholder growers. They also offer different types of roasts that they advertise on the boards, making the variety that you can chose from even greater, particularly because the types of coffee frequently changes as their supply alters, as they follow the harvests and respond to which coffees become available at different times. So no matter how many times you visit this little diamond, you will always see something new to try due to their ever-changing coffee selection.
If you are stuck for choice, the staff always willing to explain the differences between the options available and suggesting the best options if you describe what kind of coffees you like – sweet, light, heavy, nutty etc. As well as espresso based drinks, they also offer individually slow-brewed coffees that are prepared using a choice of brew methods. Again, different coffee options are often offered for this type of drink and the staff will happily advise on which beans best suit which method. Take a risk and try something new by going for an unusual roast brewed using the chemex, kalita wave or aeropress methods!
Aside from great coffee and proven coffee expertise, Bean & Bud also offer a range of freshly prepared sandwiches and cakes (including gluten free options) which are delicious. I can heartily recommend their Pastel de Nata (Portuguese Tarts), which are a good stab at more authentic versions, and a lovely companion to a cappuccino.
One of the best things about Bean & Bud out of all of their wonderful coffee and cakes, excellent customer service and clued-up staff, is their support of wider communities. Not only do they source some of their coffee from independent farms as opposed to international brands, but they also take any leftover food at the end of each day to the Harrogate Homeless Shelter. This is something that should not only be applauded, but serve as an example for other cafes in Harrogate and beyond for how small businesses can contribute to the wider good of both local and abroad communities.
Overall, Bean & Bud is all you could ask for of a small, independent coffee house. Although I would like to see more sofas and armchairs and less wooden chairs to make the colourful cafe feel more comfortable, I cannot fault them in anything else. If you are ever in Harrogate and the line at Betty’s seems never-ending (9 times out of 10), pop down Commercial Street to Bean & Bud for some of the best coffee you will find in this neck of the woods.
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