Leicester’s blessed with loads of coffee shops and, as everyone knows, the independents are where it’s at when it comes to chat and atmosphere. Now, we realise coffee tastes can be as varied as the beans that make them, but here’s eight great places for students old and new to check out before settling on where you go for your regular cup of Joe. Oh, and cake. Don’t forget the cake.
St Martin’s Coffee Roasters, St Martin’s Square
The aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans hits you as soon as you walk through the door. It has a cosy home from home feel to it and the staff are both lovely and knowledgeable. As well as speciality beans there are more than 40 loose leaf teas to choose from. Sweet treats include pancakes as well as the more traditional slices. To top it all, St Martin’s converts into Crafty Burger on various evenings. It’s easily the top place for a burger in Leicester.
Bru Coffee and Gelato, Granby Street
If you’re wandering past Bru late in the evening you’ll still see people sitting outside sipping their lattes and putting the world to rights. It’s a lovely little snapshot of how the café culture is alive and well in Leicester. As well as ice-cream there’s freshly made waffles while desserts include apple pie and custard.
Orso, Market Street
Very much part of the burgeoning coffee and lite bites scene in the city centre. It has a lovely outdoor area that sees a lot of sun, close to Green Dragon Square at the back of the market. As well as home-made cookies and cakes there’s a good food menu (with plenty of avocado options). Keep up-to-date with their latest coffee creations on Facebook and Instagram.
Café Mbriki, Carts Lane
Housed in a delightful listed building on Carts Lane (check out the iron gate leading to the jitty) Café Mbriki is an absolute delight. Peek through the window and you’ll see a fine display of cakes and the coffee, like all of the places listed here, is really excellent. Where it excels is the menu, with its Greek salad, Falafels, Mezze and Goubes. Thumbs up for the ice-cream too.
Phoenix, Midland Street
Not strictly a coffee shop. In fact it’s not at all – it’s a cinema. With a café. But boy is the café good. Fresh cakes, decent coffee and a really relaxed atmosphere. And the freshly made sandwiches fill more than a hole in the stomach. It’s the best place to unwind after capturing a film (£5 for NUS).
Café Roma, Rutland Street
A family-run Italian café that serves up proper coffee. But what you also come here for is the Italian desserts. Check out the coffee and almond sponge, the chocolate salami, tiramisu, panna cotta and lemon cheesecake made with a crushed Italian biscuit base. If you’re wanting something more substantial you can’t go wrong with their lunch offers on some brilliant pasta dishes. Magnifico.
Leicester Coffee House Company, Granby Street
How about coffee with a conscience? This lovely shop, with exposed brick walls and chunky radiators, not only roasts its own coffee on site using ethically sourced beans, but it also supports learning opportunities for young people in the shop. Sustainability is also at the top of the agenda. It takes its name from the original Leicester Coffee and Cocoa House Company which was formed in 1877 to invest its profits in local townsfolk. People rave about the espresso.
Ninety-Six Degrees, Braunstone Gate
This independent speciality coffee house is hugely popular with students on their walk in to campus from the Narborough Road area. Sitting on Braunstone Gate, tucked between a Chinese supermarket and Natterjacks bar, it’s named after the perfect temperature, in celsius, that coffee should be brewed at. It’s also popular with lecturers at lunchtime – so best to go earlier or later in the day if you haven’t handed in that coursework.
Posted on Wednesday 18th August 2021