Signs Of The Times: 6 Of The Best Cardiff Coffee Shops
Written by Jaillan Yehia
During my recent weekend in Cardiff – my first ever visit to the Welsh capital – I noticed one thing right off the bat; this city is crazy about quality coffee.
This list of 6 seriously good Cardiff coffee shops will help you stay sharp while you shop in the city centre, and the signage alone will entertain you even if you don’t need a pick me up…
Much bigger (and supposedly better) cities than Cardiff see you search for soya, leg it around looking for a good latte, or cab it in pursuit of a perfect cappuccino.
Worse, some force you to frequent your zillionth identikit branch of Starbucks in search of a decent caffeine hit.
This goes double on a Sunday when many cities which do have great cafes, bewilderingly, close them on the very day that you actually want to visit (Antwerp and Bratislava, I’m looking at you).
But not so here in Glamorgan where I would have been bouncing off the walls if I’d stopped to sample all the fair trade, organic, barista brewed, locally roasted beans available at Cardiff’s coffee shops.
I made a shortlist of the cafes I wanted to get to while I was on my shopping break in the Welsh capital – and to help you get your own caffeine fix in Cardiff, here it is.
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First up is a cafe that seems to be the gold standard when it comes to independent coffee in Cardiff. Smack bang opposite Spillers Records, this is one of The Independent’s Top 50 UK Coffee Shops.
The Plan prides itself on gourmet, artisan and in-season coffee blends and has a lovely cosy and creative atmosphere. I’m going to be 100% honest here, the cafe was lovely, the coffee was delicious but I was so busy looking out the window at the oldest record shop in the world and people watching like mad, that I didn’t take a photo of my own beverage. My bad.
Not just a café but a roasterie, they roast their own beans in-house and have a great reputation as well as a prime location in the Morgan Arcade, which is highly photogenic, and you can easily pop in while shopping in Cardiff.
3.Outpost Coffee in the Castle Emporium
Simultaneously flying the flag for both Cardiff’s coffee craze and it’s vinyl obsession is Outpost, inside indie urban market The Castle Emporium which as if the setting wasn’t hip enough, sells you old 45’s and coffee and sends someone to deliver it to you by bicycle.
Not sure how that works, as every time I’ve tried to combine coffee and cycling I’ve failed miserably. Oh no wait it’s just the records they deliver, you’ll have to go into the Emporium for the drinks. Sensible.
Right on Queen Street this isn’t just a coffee shop, it’s an evangelical church of coffee, with Rainforest Alliance certified coffee from Brazil and a full-scale barista school to boot .
I also rather liked the sign for free cupping classes I spied, which says a lot about the hip vibe here, and in fact all over Cardiff.
A little further east than the other cafes, and a long walk away compared to other Cardiff city cafes (a whole 5 minutes; Cardiff is compact) this is the place to support local Welsh roasters and meet old friends in an even older vault: the location used to be a bank and the basement still has the door to prove it.
They also have freelance meet ups on Mondays, and if you own a Mac this one, possibly even more than the others, is your spiritual home while you’re in town.
Creative types pile into the Capital Quarter branch of Kiln + Ilk as it makes a hip hang out and meeting place, and sells a unique brand of coffee from a farm in El Salvador – but if you’re in town for the weekend you’ll have to wait until Monday morning to visit. There’s a further branch in Pontcanna though and that’s open all weekend.
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