Opposite Café sell themselves as having “the finest coffee in the North”, a pretty bold claim considering the high standard. However, after tasting the cappuccino, it’s a claim that’s hard to argue against. If you’re a student at Leeds University, this is perfect for you as the cafe is opposite the Parkinson Building (hence the name). Originally created to bring affordable fair-trade coffee to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it, Opposite’s popularity has grown enormously. They have now just opened a second cafe in the Victoria Quarter. They market this as their new ‘grown-up shop’ and serve up seasonal espresso and single origin filter coffees for true connoisseurs. The homemade brownie is famous for being the perfect accompaniment and no visit is complete without it.
Going into Mrs Atha’s you know a lot of love and attention has gone into every single detail. From the cosy interior to the vintage teaspoon that comes with your coffee, everything has been lovingly hand-selected. Mrs Atha’s serves some of the best homemade cakes, locally sourced coffees and speciality teas in town. Priding themselves on being independently family-run, the cafe has an interest in sourcing produce from suppliers with a traceable provenance. So, you can enjoy your coffee knowing it’s organic and fair-trade. Located close to the corn exchange, this is the perfect stop for any trip to town. However, it gets busy around lunchtime so avoid peak times for the perfect relaxing experience.
Outlaws Yacht Club
Outlaws is serving up some of the best local produce in Leeds, with their own espresso blend from local microbrewery North Star. North Star are the first coffee producers in Leeds dedicated to producing high quality coffees from around the world. They only provide to the very best coffee shops in Leeds. The espresso in Outlaws is worth the visit itself. If coffee isn’t really your thing then they have a great selection of speciality teas, from the classic breakfast to a China Pai Mu Tan White. The cafe/bar is incredibly cosy and has a lovely inviting atmosphere as well as a selection of board games to keep you entertained for hours. Alternatively, bring your laptop or a book as this is the perfect place to read/study or just relax on the comfy sofas in peace. They also host local art exhibitions and music events so it’s worth checking if anything is on before you visit.
La Bottega Milanese
Opening in The Light shopping centre in 2011, La Bottega Milanese became the first late-night espresso bar in the north. It quickly achieved national recognition and commendation from national publications such as Grazia and Jamie Oliver Magazine. They are fanatical about coffee as only Italians can be and also serve Italian patisserie to accompany the espresso. The latte is truly outstanding and presented so beautifully you almost don’t want to drink it. As their aim is to unite Yorkshire with Milan they source produce from both places so you know you’re getting great quality, either locally or sourced from Milan. Head here in the evening time to enjoy an authentic Italian coffee and patisserie for dessert after a meal out or a day out in town.
Located close to the train station, Laynes Espresso should become part of the daily routine for any commuter. They are so dedicated to their coffees they rotate the espresso and brewed coffee menus regularly. This means there is always something new and exciting to try. Their food menu is small but there’s something nice about that – you know that coffee is the main priority. The sandwiches, breakfast selection and sweet baked treats are delicious enough to not need the variety. They do have a second cafe located on Sheaf Street which focuses more on great food. If it’s just a coffee break you’re after then Laynes is the one. You can’t miss it as the exterior is painted brilliant orange and the interior is cosy and very relaxing.
Just Grand! Vintage Tearooms
There are a lot of great cafes in Leeds and most of them focus on great coffee, which is fine as there are a lot of coffee lovers out there. However, England is the land of tea. Just Grand! Vintage Tearooms is the place to go for a truly spectacular cup of tea. Selling themselves as being ‘quintessentially British’, Just Grand! offer a step back in time to experience the best afternoon tea in Leeds. The tearoom is designed to make you feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible. There’s even mismatched vintage crockery and parlour furniture to help complete the image. All scones and cakes are baked on premises and the business is family-run so there really is a homemade feel to the place. The tea is excellent and the baked goods really delicious. With a choice of 90 different loose leaf flavours, there really is no excuse not to visit. They even offer out knitted blankets and hot water bottles during the cold winter months to really help you get cosy.