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Photograph: Under Pressure

The 14 best coffee shops and cafés in Birmingham

Longing for your next caffeine fix? Sorted! Here are the absolute best cafés and coffee shops in Birmingham

Huw Oliver
Written by
Huw Oliver
&
Kayleigh Watson
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As a nation of cafficionados, Britain has long graduated from its strong and stable love of tea to a passion for the coffee bean. But where to from here? From artisan roasters and chichi coffee shops to terribly twee teahouses and old-school cafés, Birmingham has pretty much everything you need for your next caffeine kick. Even the city's pubs, bars and restaurants are getting in on the act and serving coffee and tea every bit as good as their food and booze, and that’s before you take into account the venues with a bit of a twist - think vinyl shop bars and board game institutions getting in on the action!

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, lovely leaves and all manner of sweet things await.

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Best coffee shops and cafés in Birmingham

Urban
  • Music
  • Cafés

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.

First quaintly and quietly existing in the shadow of Birmingham’s Snow Hill business district, Café Artum has always been a bit of a fish out of water. With a bigger residence as part of Hockley Social Club (brought to you by the renowned Digbeth Dining Club), its new digs find it in good creative company. Combining a love of music and coffee, Café Artum doubles as a record shop and bar as well as a venue; whether it’s soul DJs, vinyl or a humble Sunday roast you’re after, you have come to the right place. 

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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.

  • 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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How do you fancy your luck? One of the quirkier establishments in Digbeth’s Custard Factory, Chance and Counters is a treat for those who enjoy their board games with a lighter touch than chess. With over 500 games to choose from, visitors are spoiled for choice before they even glance over their menu of tasty finger food, milkshakes, wines and craft beer. Pride of place, though, are their hot drinks; with all the usual coffee suspects and a generous selection of teas to hand, their colourful lattes include raspberry ripple, ‘minty blue’ peppermint, and ‘neon pink’ beetroot and orange - wild!

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.

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  • 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.

  • 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.

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One of Birmingham’s favourite brunch abodes, Medicine has gained a cult following for its ample baked goods, grilled sourdough sandwiches and buddha bowls. Perhaps less famed is its knack for a cracking coffee. With all of the usual suspects on the menu, plus turmeric and matcha lattes, they also turn around a winsome affogato, an Italian coffee-based dessert of espresso doused atop of vanilla ice cream.

  • 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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  • 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.

  • 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.

Want to tick off the big-hitting sights?

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  • Things to do

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