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Wake up and smell the coffee

Jordan from Whaletown Coffee and Matt from the soon-to-open Corner Store tell us about their passion for coffee, including tips for home preparation, where to get the best beans – and the greatest local independents.

Whether it’s enjoyed at home or made by your local barista in your favourite café, there’s just something about the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee.

People get really passionate about coffee, down to their preferred roast, the quality of the beans and of course the brewing technique. All of these factors will influence the flavour of the final brew. Then there’s the style to consider – macchiato, long black, latte or flat white?

You can buy coffee beans from local roasters including Smith St Coffee, Foundry Coffee Roasters or Frazer’s and grind your own fresh coffee for a cafetiere or Aeropress.

Alternatively you could visit one of the city’s many independents, from Albie’s at Snig Hill to Cafe #9 in Nether Edge, Kopi and Chai on Derbyshire Lane to Cawa in Broomhill. There are so many great options in almost every area of the city.

For this article we got our caffeine fix from the experts: Jordan from Whaletown Coffee in Crookes and Matt from Corner Store on Sharrow Vale Road, which is due to open in late July.

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Jordan, Whaletown Coffee

I’ve been in coffee for ten years and I just love the ever-changing nature of it.

I own Whaletown, a multi-award winning coffee shop in Crookes offering up Sheffield’s own Cuppers Choice Coffee Roasters. This is our house coffee and we have different guest coffees every month from roasteries all over Europe. We’re also the home of Box Kitchen + Bakery.

With coffee, there’s so much history mixed with science, art and botany. I recently founded the Sheffield Coffee Festival, which took place for the first time this year. This is a culmination of everything I love about coffee.

The best coffee is the coffee you like.

In terms of taste, it’s best compared to steak.

We serve it rare, whereas most chain shops offer it well done. Rare would be what we call ‘light roasting’ and well done is comparable to ‘dark roasts’ or ‘city roasts’. None is technically wrong, but you get much more flavour from a rare steak! Aside from taste, we focus on ethical trading and the highest quality coffee.

We don’t recommend that people drink it black if that’s not what you like. Everything we offer is carefully curated and we’re proud of every drink that goes out. We don’t dictate your preference, but we will guide you – if you ask, of course.

The trends at the moment are more about experimental processing than a new beverage style.

Anaerobic processed coffee, where the coffee cherries are processed in a fully sealed and oxygen deprived fermentation tank, is really popular at the moment, and tastes beautiful when roasted light and prepared on filter.

I love tasting so many coffees, but at the moment I’m really adoring Natural Processed Colombians.

Natural processing is where the ripe cherries are left out in the sun on patios or drying beds, where once dried the fruit will resemble a raisin and will then be rested and hulled to remove the parchment around the bean.

Of course the flavour changes by farm and by roaster, but in general they have stunning, bold, stone fruit flavours, with chocolate on the finish.

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My main tip is: buy from a specialty shop and invest in a good grinder.

If you have the equipment, you can grind fresh for each coffee you make. If using a hand grinder, go for companies like Aergrind, Commandante or Hario.

If you are using an electric grinder make sure it’s burr and not blade. A good entry level is the Baratza Encore or the Wilfa Svart.


I’d suggest the easiest methods of coffee making at home is French Press [cafetiere] or Kalita Wave [pour-over].

I have a pop-up called Cascara Kitchen, where we show off the versatility of cooking with coffee.

You can do anything from poaching fish in coffee to simply adding grounds to flavour vegetables. Coffee in ragu based food is fantastic, a great substitute for wine.

Cascara Kitchen is paused during Covid, but one of the recipes for Vegan Mocha Pancakes is in The Little Book of Sheffield, and it will start featuring every Sunday again at Whaletown soon.

On my days off, you’ll mostly find me at Steam Yard, Albie’s, Mow’s or Marmadukes, sipping on a long black or a filter coffee.

Learn more

Whaletown Coffee, 227 Crookes, Sheffield, S10 1TE.

Corner Store

Matt, Corner Store

Corner Store for us feels like coming home.

Three generations of our family lived just minutes from this shop and visited it in its various guises over many years.

Over the last 150 years, it’s served Sharrow Vale Road as a sheet music shop, greengrocers, dairy, a corner shop, and, of course, like many of us will know it, the Sheffield institution Ora.

We love this road and community. We live here, we’re raising our families here, and we want to add to the atmosphere of the street. We’ve been given this great old place to look after and we can’t wait to see how things develop over a good brew.

Our vision for Corner Store is the modern interpretation of what people need from their corner shop. So with that in mind, coffee is our main focus. There’s no better way to start your day than with a good brew.

Everything else will centre around this. We’ll have a small fresh bakery counter, provisions, preserves and everything you need for breakfast for you to grab and make at home. We’ll have local milk in glass bottles you can return to us, an oat milk dispenser and chilled produce.

There are so many things that go into a great cup of coffee.

Firstly, you should choose a roaster you trust and use ethically well-produced beans. This is why we work with Caravan Coffee Roasters. They’re a for-the-planet company and are one of the best out there.

If you’re into a milk drink, get your milk as fresh as you can. Ours comes from a Peak District Dairy, who graze their cows on the fields across our beautiful Peaks. It comes in glass bottles we clean and return for re-use again. This saves over 8,000 plastic milk cartons ever entering the system.

I believe you have the best cup of coffee when you visit somewhere with great hospitality, a warm welcome and leave feeling happy with a cup of the good stuff. A batch filter is always my go-to.

Corner Store 2

Mixing really special single origins and crazy coffees for something different is always exciting.

Caravan do this well. I love Cuppers Choice, who are an amazing Sheffield roaster. And you can never go wrong with the likes of Campbell and Syme, Colonna, Workshop and Square Mile.

My favourite roast is medium, with a balanced and sweeter note flavour.

My tips would be: start with good fresh coffee and speak to an expert who can tell you how to get the best out of it.

You can get advice from one of our baristas, if you have any questions.

At home I use a Wilfa brewer which does the hard work for you. Again, consistency is key and when in a rush I know I can get a good cup without much thought. It depends on your personal situation and time. But I prefer to visit a coffee shop and have interaction and enjoy coffee that way.

Where would I recommend for coffee?

Obviously Steam Yard, but in Sheffield you really are spoilt for choice when it comes to good coffee. I think we do that pretty well as a city. My faves are Elm, Bullion cafe, Tamper, Marmadukes, Whaletown, Ambulo, and the original, one and only, Bragazzi’s.

Learn more

Corner Store, 239 Sharrow Vale Road, S11 8ZE.

Filed under: #Cafes #Coffee

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