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under pressure espresso, coffee
Photograph: Under Pressure

The 12 best coffee shops and cafés in Birmingham

Want to get your caffeine fix? Sorted – these are the absolute best coffee shops and cafés in Birmingham

By Huw Oliver
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In Birmingham and beyond, coffee may well be king but tea is getting hotter and hotter. And from artisan roasters and chichi coffee shops to old-school cafés and terribly twee teahouses, Birmingham has pretty much everything you need for your caffeine kick. Even our pubs, bars and restaurants are getting in on the act and serving coffee and tea every bit as good as their food and booze.

We’ve put together a list of the coffee shops and cafés we think are best in Birmingham, so have a gander and get stuck in. Beautiful beans and lovely leaves await.

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Best coffee shops and cafés in Birmingham

1. Urban

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Opened in 2009, Urban’s Church Street emporium set the blueprint for Birmingham coffee culture. Testament to its popularity, Urban opens seven days a week, and is frequented by everyone from office types having a morning meeting and on-the-hoof freelancers quietly working away to folks just wanting a glorious coffee and a slice of cake. Its two floors are a thriving hive of community; a snapshot of Brummie diversity.

2. 6/8 Kafé

Restaurants Cafés

On top of its chalk boards, locally sourced and crafted goods and excellent coffee, this delightful place set a trend early on with its desire to pass on its craft to its customers. There are often guest espressos, a plethora of different choices on drip, and every morning you can also get an old-school filter – including the dependable Philter. Breakfast covers everything from pastries to porridge, while lunch includes the standard sandwiches and paninis. 

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3. Faculty Coffee

Restaurants Cafés

Faculty by name and nature – you’ll find caffeine alchemy in Brum’s answer to a coffee classroom. Opened in 2014 by former Saint Kitchen owner Geoff Lam, Faculty is on a mission to provide great coffee and allow customers to understand more about it. There’s no room for sofas or comfy chairs – this is coffee making laboratory, after all. An intimate room with a pop-up vibe, Faculty’s décor is stripped-back and industrial, with wooden fittings, exposed brick and pipework aplenty.

saint kitchen, coffee, snacks
Photograph: Sal Maxuda

4. Saint Kitchen

Restaurants Cafés

The overflowing front counter will catch your eye as you enter Saint Kitchen, taking centre stage amid a seating area that boasts stylish chairs and stone and wood fittings. The coffee is mighty fine, and barista Liam’s flat white is one of the best anywhere. There are also options on filter, as well as an ample choice of loose-leaf teas, and single-origin hot chocolate courtesy of Kokoa Collection. Food includes all-day breakfasts, paninis, noodles, soups and plenty of cake.

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5. Boston Tea Party

Restaurants Cafés

This friendly, family-run chain has been growing exponentially up and down the M5 over the past few years. It’s a byword for consistency and familiarity. Arriving in Birmingham in 2013, this was a caffeinated shot in the arm of Corporation Street. If you’re not sucked in by the massive trays of home-baked cakes by the entrance, then BTP’s vast menu covers everything from all-day breakfasts to mains including burgers, salads, toasted sandwiches, soups and a very good kids’ menu.

6. 200 Degrees

Restaurants Coffeeshops

One of the first venues to open at lavish new city-centre complex The Grand, 200 Degrees is a haven of artisanal coffee and exquisite sandwiches. Despite the wealth of independent coffee shops in Birmingham, this one stands out for its emphasis on the food as well as the brews. Sandwiches are available from a regularly changing menu. Naturally, they roast their own house blend, an exotic combination of Vietnamese robusta and Colombian arabica beans.

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under pressure espresso, coffee
Photograph: Under Pressure

7. Under Pressure Espresso

Restaurants Cafés

Serving beans from London’s Workshop Coffee, from a Victoria Arduino espresso machine, Under Pressure has a simple menu that’s reminiscent of places such as Prufrock. You can have espresso with or without smooth, steamed milk (say flat white and you will get just that), along with filter and brewed selections. The espresso is Workshop’s excellent Cult of Done blend – a clean, sweet and spicy brew – or, if you’re not in the mood for coffee, there’s also a selection of Canton Teas to choose from. Lil’s Parlour supplies amazing cakes, while the fantastic bread and pastries come courtesy of Thirteen Bakers.

Cherry Reds, bar
Photograph: Sal Maxuda

8. Cherry Reds

Restaurants

Birmingham born and bred, this independent coffee shop is a local institution, having begun life in Kings Heath before opening a sister venue in the city centre. You’ll find a range of appetising comfort food here, from American-style pancakes with splashes of syrup, to a wonderfully satisfying falafel burger that even the meatiest of meat-eaters have been known to savour. Not only that, but the atmosphere is warm, welcoming and very much chilled out.

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9. Damascena

Restaurants Coffeeshops

An oasis of Middle Eastern hospitality in the bohemian suburb of Moseley, Damascena has won over Birmingham’s tastemakers and punters alike. Proof of its success came with a raft of awards and an announcement in late 2016 that they would be opening a new branch in the city centre. Coffee first came to us from the Middle East, and Damascena is the place to discover its roots. When it comes to lunch and dinner, classic shawarmas feature roast lamb or chicken wrapped up with garlic dressing and gherkins.

10. Yorks

Restaurants

Anyone who claims New Street Station is the busiest place in Birmingham hasn’t been to Yorks at the weekend. Here, hungry Brummies tuck into brunch in stripped-back, industrial surroundings well into the afternoon. Choose from a breakfast bar that includes homemade granola, bagels and as much freshly baked bread as you can get down you, and an extensive range of egg-based brekkies. Our pick is the measured heat of the shakshuka – baked eggs in sweet harissa peppers, tomatoes, coriander and lime yogurt.

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leverton & halls, coffee shop, brunch, deli
Photograph: Sal Maxuda

11. Leverton and Halls

Restaurants Cafés

What started out as a vegetable cooperative has in 10 years transformed into Bournville’s foremost brekkie hub and organic deli. With the most important meal of the day served alongside an array of homemade, wholesome staples until closing, you’ll find young families, patent hangover-nursers and ladies lunching shoulder-to-shoulder at Leverton and Halls. If the pancakes with crispy bacon and lashings of maple syrup are too sweet for your palate, the vegetarian breakfast is a first-rate alternative.

Want to tick off the big-hitting sights?

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