Thursday, 27 March 2014

North Tea Power - Manchester

I stumbled upon North Tea Power when I came flat hunting in Manchester and as a result they will always hold good memories for me as one of the first places I sat and watched the world go by in the Northern Quarter. The shop itself looks great, if you were asked to explain typical third wave coffee shop d├ęcor you'd describe this exact place - lots of wooden tables and clean surfaces; the DIY vibe of the logos hand stamped onto the cups or the holders gives them a slight personality of their own. The staff are always very welcoming and music selection is always on point.

Essentials first – they serve a cracking coffee (every cup I’ve had has been to a very high standard) with various guest roasts on from week to week and offer a wide range of coffee shop cake staples as well as a short selection of toasted sandwiches. For those non-coffee obsessives they also have loads of soft drinks, a huge variety of teas and some US Craft Beer options which is good to see and differentiates them nicely from the other coffee shops in the city.

I must admit that whilst the inside looks great for some reasons its often baking hot inside and can be absolutely unbearable on a sunny day so I usually go for take-out. The rickety tables outside have their own charm but I’ve seen them take numerous casualties of spilt drinks.

I ordered a toasted Reuben on this occasion, the last time I had a sandwich to take away they’d somehow managed to prepare the sandwich in a toaster that must've been used for something coated in sweet sugary syrup – a real pain to not notice until I’d gotten home that I had a sugared cheese toastie (I’m slightly ashamed to admit I finished it anyway)

The good news is that the sandwich this time was good, the meat was more wafer thin supermarket slices than freshly prepared so I assume they’re either bought in or prepared on premises in a minimal kitchen. The stinginess on the meat was the only low point - the sauerkraut and melted cheese doing their job well in balancing it all, it was definitely filling enough to keep me going for the afternoon.

The maple pecan pie was fine but a bit paltry and disappeared swiftly in a couple of bites.

Finally, after spilling my first coffee and having to re-make it, I did end up with my long black coffee having milk in (despite asking for it without) but was in a rush so had to take it as was. Frustrating.

In total I paid £9.20 for the Reuben sandwich, the square of maple pecan pie and the long black (with milk). Whilst that might seem slightly excessive price wise given the comments above, it’s the rough and ready nature of NTP that gives me such strong affinity for it and despite some minor issues this time I wouldn't hesitate to head back. This is the only time they’ve made a mess of my coffee and it would’ve been replaced if I’d not been in a rush so it’s difficult to criticise them too much. Hopefully the competition from Caffeine and Co and Takk will make them step their game up slightly and avoid the minor issues I had on this occasion.

Bonus pics from the last few times I had coffee 'in'......

North Tea Power on Urbanspoon

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