Coffee shops play an important role in Sheffield city

Amelia Selby is currently doing a masters degree at Sheffield Hallam University.She says: “To keep myself busy (and pay the bills), I’ve started working freelance on the side. Juggling client deadlines and a 12,000-word dissertation means that I find myself writing. Quite a lot, a lot of the time.

By Barbara Craythorn
Wednesday, 10 July, 2019, 10:45
Amelia Selby

“I often got cabin fever, sitting alone in my flat staring at my screen all day, and I began to feel a little bit withdrawn from society. But, the beautiful thing about writing on a laptop is that my ‘office’ is portable.

“I now work in local coffee shops instead, and it’s dawned on me the important role that these places play in people’s lives. I don’t go just for a much-needed caffeine hit, I go to coffee shops to be around people and to be part of a community.

“There is something quite comforting about working with the buzz of a freshly brewed coffee, the gentle tinkering of others nearby, and the company of complete strangers. The number of great independent coffee shops in Sheffield means that I find myself spoilt for choice on a daily basis but there are a couple that I believe are truly special.”

Tamper Coffee House

Tamper Coffee

An institution on Sheffield’s coffee scene – one that I actually had the pleasure of living above for short while. Alongside a chilled New Zealand vibe, freshly baked cakes, and a winning malted hot chocolate, there is another reason that Tamper Coffee is so special.

One morning I had the pleasure of being introduced to a gentleman called Andrew, who visits Tamper Coffee at least four times a week. What is humbling is that, despite coming in and sitting on his own, he is never once alone. The staff welcome him with open arms – literally – and he strikes up a conversation with every person he meets.

It’s evident that this coffee shop serves as a place of comfort, warmth, and familiarity, and his stories about his days working in the Sheffield theatres are always a welcomed/delightful distraction from my laptop. By the way, the malted hot chocolate? It’s called a Hot Milo. You can thank me later.

Gaard Coffee Hide

This Neepsend based coffee shop often serves me a much-needed breath of fresh air. The brightly painted mural is an instant mood lifter, their range of vegan cakes makes my heart flutter, and I get both a mental and physical energy boost from my favourite lemongrass, kale, and mango smoothie. But more than just helping the environment, Gaard host a range of community-led initiatives too. My favourite is their ‘pay it forward’ coffee scheme. Basically, customers can pay in advance for an additional hot drink that can be redeemed by someone in need. But the concept is about so much more than the coffee itself – which is fabulous by the way! A coffee can provide comfort, conversation, and most importantly, it garners a wonderful sense of community. Trust me, there is no better feeling than adding to the tally.

Gaard recently got a new addition to their beyond friendly tea. T, a man who only three months ago was sleeping on the streets, is turning his life around with the support of Sheffield’s Tent City. With a smile that is nothing less than endearing and the faith of Gaard’s owner Liam, T has got more than a fighting chance and it’s heart-warming to watch.

Union Street Coffee

This is coffee shop that I could visit every single day without getting bored. It perfectly epitomises what Sheffield is all about. The daily rotation of independent street-food traders reflects the diversity of the city and the communal working concept underlines the hard-working ethos of the Steel industry. And let’s be honest, nothing screams ‘Thursday’ in South Yorkshire more than a Pie-Eyed pie and mash. Above the café, Union Street offers a reasonably priced co-working space for those who may otherwise work at home.

It’s clearly a much-welcomed and well-used space judging from the number of people I see walking through the coffee shop with their laptops. I’ve never used it myself – I couldn’t possibly commit to one coffee joint as I don’t believe in favourites – but their mission definitely echoes my own thoughts. Working on your own sucks and everything is better together.

Bullion Café

Nestled in the corner of bustling Cutlery Works, Bullion Craft Chocolate is a little oasis of calm and a reminder that, with a hard work, dreams can come true. Working the daily grind in a 9-5 job, when your passions lie elsewhere, is something that I’m sure a lot of people can relate to. I can, and so could the owner, Max, a few years ago. Max was a recent graduate working in sales and marketing, but he had a dream to make chocolate and used an old Indian spice grinder at home to do so. With drive, determination, and a damn delicious product (trust me), he took a chance. three years later, seeing Max, walking round his factory wearing a chocolate-smeared pinafore, crocs, and a huge smile, reminds me to never give up on my dreams and to find a job that I enjoy. Working in Bullion Craft Chocolate, I find that the words just seem to flow. Looking at everything that he has achieved with his award-winning brand is nothing short of inspiring – and even more so with one of his delicious mochas in hand. The perfect balance of sweet chocolate and roasted coffee, I can’t recommend it enough!

Sheffield is city that is certainly not short of coffee shops and my list of recommendations could go on and on. Coffee is often at the heart of people’s daily lives, and it has very much become an important part of mine. What I’ve learnt is that my flat is the worst place for inspiration. I now sit in one of Sheffield’s cafés, letting good quality coffee fuel my thoughts, whilst I watch the world go by. The next time you grab a latte, stop and look around, and you too might get inspired. It’s amazing what you can learn from a table in the corner of a coffee shop.