Why leeds is great if you love coffee

There’s nothing like a hot cup of coffee to get you through a revision session in the library, or help you stay alert during a long lecture.

Luckily for students in Leeds, the city’s coffee scene is thriving. There’s a huge mix of quirky independent roasters all ready to provide you with that caffeine fix.

Below is just a small selection of the impressive independent coffee scene in our city, along with recommendations from some of our students.

Laynes Espresso

Laynes Espresso has something of a cult following in Leeds, thanks to their extensive coffee knowledge and delicious food. They serve coffee from an ever-changing selection of independent European roasters such as Morgon, Grumpy Mule and Roundhill Roastery. Based near the train station, there’s often a queue out of the door to sit down with food – but it’s so worth the wait.

North Star

If you already know anything about the coffee scene in Leeds, you’ll have heard of North Star. It’s award-winning for a reason! They’re a roaster that provide coffee to many of Leeds’ best coffee shops, but they also have their own beautifully bright and simple café on Leeds docks. Coffee wise – they always have two contrasting espresso options, prepared using their expert drip tray scales. There’s also glass doors so that you can see inside the roaster, which is very impressive. This is a great spot for studying – the cool water-side location is sure to get your creative juices flowing, and if you happen to get a little peckish, there’s a fantastic selection of cakes on offer. 

Sociable Folk

Sociable Folk is a quirky, minimalist café that is somewhat off the beaten track, but well worth the visit. It’s based in Wellington Place, not too far from the train station. It serves delicious North Star coffee, and if you fancy a tea, they can rustle you up something fancy (vanilla and earl grey with steamed milk anybody?). Located in the middle of several office blocks, it’s always full of people working, so perfect if you want to crack on with an assignment. There’s also plenty of outdoor seating, meaning it’s a great spot to head to and enjoy a bit of sun during the summer months.

If you’re looking for a filling, healthy breakfast then try the shakshuka – eggs, tomato sauce and garlic yoghurt. Sounds weird but tastes amazing. I’d never had it before and now I’m hooked!
Student recommendation on Laynes Espresso

Fettle Café

Fettle is a beautiful café just a short walk away from Leeds Beckett’s city campus, on Great George Street. Its Scandi-themed interior makes it a lovely place to get to work on those assignments, or to relax after a long day of university. As well as your regular cappuccino and espresso, they serve an array of speciality coffees – including turmeric and red velvet varieties. All their coffees are made with a double shot to make them extra-delicious, and they serve healthy, plant-based food to compliment your coffee. What more could you ask for?

Café 164

This café is slightly out of the city centre, based in Munro House, close to the bus station. Of course, they serve delicious coffee, coming from North Star or Bradford’s Casa Espresso. Their focus is on light, seasonal blends which are all about the taste. Café 164 have another trick up their sleeve too. As well as coffee, they pride themselves on serving home-baked ciabatta and focaccia sandwiches which each and every sandwich lover should try.

200 Degrees

This coffee shop on Bond Street, near Leeds’ bustling shopping centre, is another firm favourite among Leeds locals. Their website sums them up: ‘The atmosphere in 200 Degrees Coffee Shop is relaxed, the food is innovative and tasty and the coffee speaks for itself’. Their coffee is hand-roasted in-house, and you can tell. They even have their own barista school upstairs for those that want to learn how to craft a yummy coffee for themselves.

Try the homemade syrup in your coffee if you fancy something a little different – it’s delicious!
Student recommendation on 200 Degrees

Mrs Atha's

Another famous Leeds coffee house that may leave you queuing for a table as it’s so popular. Located in the city centre just off of Briggate, Mrs Atha's is great for a caffeine pit stop before a day of shopping. They use the local Maude coffee, which is delicious. They also have a huge selection of tea if you fancy something a little different. Along with the quirky, lovely décor, there’s also delicious cakes to enjoy, including award-winning vegan options.

La Bottega Milanese

This lovely café has two branches in Leeds. There’s the smaller and more casual spot inside The Light, and a larger café on Bond Court which has plenty of outdoor seating for a warm sunny day. They rotate their coffees, serving blends from around the world on a monthly basis, meaning you’re always in for a new treat when you visit.

Head to La Bottega and grab one of their amazing iced lattes on a hot summers’ day. Then, walk five minutes across the street to Park Square (a relatively unknown little park right in Leeds’ city centre) and enjoy it in the sun. You’ll feel like you’re in Italy or somewhere!" - Student recommendation on La Bottega Milanese.
Student recommendation on La Bottega Milanese

Kapow Coffee

There are two branches of this fantastic coffee house – The Calls and Thorntons Arcade. So, depending on whether you’re having a wander along the waterside or you’re doing a spot of shopping around the city centre, you can be sure you’ll be close to one. There’s a conservative, espresso-based menu that focuses on quality, not quantity. Why not head there to enjoy their espresso, cosy atmosphere and cake – what could be better?

Sheaf Street Cafeteria

Located down near the Tetley and Crown Point retail park, Sheaf Street is the epitome of the cool coffee house. They’re known for their awesome array of food and drinks (provided by the Grub and Grog Shop) as well as their varied events. Coffee comes from local roasters, and their breakfasts (served until 4pm) are something of legend around Leeds - made in front of you with plenty of yummy vegan options, homemade crumpets and a reasonable price tag.

I always go here without anything specific in mind to eat, as the specials selection always blows my mind. A recent sandwich I had was creamy Lancashire cheese with pear and honey.
Student recommendation on Sheaf Street

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