Harvest Canteen and Coffee House in West Jesmond in Newcastle is a well-known coffee go-to for local caffeine lovers. The front-of-house cafe of the Ouseburn Coffee Company prides itself on providing the people of Newcastle with local, freshly roasted coffee straight from the Ouseburn Valley. Having sampled many of Newcastle’s coffee and tea houses, it was therefore only a matter of time before my feet led me to Harvest’s doorstep to sample their famed coffee.
On a rare sunny weekday, I found myself walking into the Harvest Coffee House eager to see what all the fuss was about. The first thing you notice when you walk in is the open and bright decor of the place. Its interior is stylishly decked out like a stripped back, jazzed up farm house given a Scandi interior design makeover with their numerous potted plants, lots of painted wood and low hanging lights. The large windows at the front of the cafe let in loads of light so you never get that dark and dingy coffee house feeling, making it a great spot for both sunny and rainy days to sit back and watch the passersby in a cafe that always feels bright and cheerful.
This rustic, minimalist aesthetic to the cafe matches the friendly atmosphere the place exudes from the welcoming and smiley staff. Their friendly, accommodating service brightens up the already well lit cafe as well as your day. No wonder locals pass by Harvest on their way to work each morning, the place puts you in a good mood from just stepping in the door.
Although their main attraction is their coffee, Harvest also serve simple, uncomplicated but delicious food from an unfussy menu. They don’t branch out much beyond simple baked goods and breakfast dishes like eggs with avocado or pancakes. On my visit to Harvest, I tried their blueberry muffin accompanied by one of their famed coffees in the form of a latte. The blueberry muffin was absolutely beautiful, it was really substantial and thick, filled with moist blueberries that burst when you take a bite into the muffin. It was easily one of the best blueberry muffins I have ever tired, perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
The coffee on the other hand, was not as impressive as I had expected from its reputation. My latte had a slight burnt taste which made it not as enjoyable as it could have been, as it was a nice blend and decently strong for those who like their coffee more intense. As OCC roast their coffee fresh each day, it might have just been that I got a coffee from a batch that was a few hours old. But still, I was disappointed that the coffee was good but not as impressive or mind-blowing as I had expected it to be.
As well as guarenting each coffee living up to their reputation for excellent drinks, Harvest could also do with an expanded food selection. As the coffee house is open until 5pm on weekdays, it would be nice for a more developed menu for later on in the day. Although they do serve a small selection of sandwiches and pastries, a simple evening menu to switch to that is as uncomplicated as their current menu would be a well received development and would not take away from the simple, unfussy vibe of the cafe.
Overall, my visit to the famed Harvest Canteen and Coffee House was not a wasted trip, as I was impressed overall with the cafe thanks to its welcoming and friendly atmosphere and staff, although small improvements could be made where their food and coffee is concerned if I was being picky.