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The best coffee shops and cafés in Leeds

In search of a caffeine-based pick me up or a herbal brew? Stop by these coffee shops.

Amy Houghton
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Whether you're a certified coffee stan or prefer a nice wholesome cup of peppermint tea, Leeds has you covered. With all of the city's bustling nightlife, fantastic shopping and fascinating galleries and museums, you're gonna need to stop, slow down and refuel at some point. 

And there are few better places to do that than in the cafes that made it into our top picks. Read on for gourmet roasters, brunch connoisseurs and all-round impeccable vibes. These are the best cafes and coffee shops in Leeds right now. 

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At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

  • Coffeeshops
La Bottega Milanese
La Bottega Milanese
One of Leeds’ most well respected independent coffee shops, La Bottega Milanese is popular enough to have two branches – this one in The Light shopping centre, and another in the financial district. Owner Alex Galantino has created a space that’s aesthetically lovely to look at (in particular, its newest shop on Bond Court), and has a minimal, functional, stylish feel. The statement wooden bench that runs through the centre of the space also makes an excellent perch for coffee drinkers. The house coffee is Alex's own blend, La Classica, roasted by The Grumpy Mule, and it regularly hosts other seasonal coffee varieties. If you fancy an alternative to an espresso-based cup, it also offers brewed coffee, such as AeroPress, and pour-over on weekends. If you’re feeling indecisive, try the split shot tasting trays with one shot espresso and one shot cappuccino, or if you’re in the market for something sweet, the affogato is a vanilla gelato covered in espresso and chopped nuts. 
  • Cafés
Opposite Cafe
Opposite Cafe
The rather unimaginatively named Opposite Cafe sits under a bank across the road from Leeds uni’s Parkinson steps. Ideally located for lunches and lecture breaks, the Blenheim Terrace eatery is extremely popular for meet-ups and munchies throughout the day, and is famed for its unpretentious atmosphere and velvety flat white. A fridge full of fancy, freshly pressed fruit juices, cold sandwiches and pots of irresistibly sweet and nutty granola with yoghurt is the first sight as you walk into the funky yet sophisticated space. The decor is clean and trendy, with urban art on the walls and leather chairs to sink into when hiding from the elements with a cup of hazelnut hot chocolate on a wintery day. Orange juice and a large range of speciality teas are refreshing and fun to try, but it would feel like a missed opportunity to not see the fancy barista machine in action and sample a lovingly made cappuccino for a quick pick-me-up. 
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  • Coffeeshops
An artisan roasted blend, expertly made from independent roasters, will most likely put Laynes Espresso on any coffee lover’s list. Owner Dave Olejnik learnt his trade with Leeds coffee pioneer Opposite, and Laynes has become a caffeine lover’s haven since its opening in 2011. Its location close to Leeds railway station makes it popular with commuters, city workers and shoppers. It’s small in size and, apart from the artwork that decorates the walls, minimal in terms of decor, but what it lacks in space it makes up for in the quality of its brews. The house espresso is roasted by London’s Square Mile, and guest coffee from notable roasters such as The Barn and Workshop regularly show up on the menu. If you’d prefer brewed coffee, there’s AeroPress, or you can opt for a pour-over. There are also plenty of sweet and savoury treats to choose from, including locally made pastries and cakes, and homemade sandwiches.
  • Coffeeshops
Mrs Atha's
Mrs Atha's
It may be primarily known as an independent coffee haunt, but Mrs Atha’s dishes up some of the finest breakfasts in the city from its all-day menu. Found just behind House of Fraser, parallel to Leeds city centre’s main pedestrianised thoroughfare, Briggate, it’s well worth stepping off the beaten path for. Food is chalked up on the blackboard behind the counter, and there’s a fantastic range of coffees and teas to wash it all down with. Some of the highlights include the bacon or sausage sandwiches (£4), pancakes with maple syrup and blueberries (£4.50), organic scrambled eggs on toast with a choice of toppings (£4.50), and muesli with organic yoghurt, berries and honey (£3.50).
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