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Mackie Mayor
Photograph: Pexels / Paul Cook

The 10 best coffee shops and cafés in Manchester

Need a caffeine fix? These are the best coffee shops and cafés in Manchester

Rob Martin
Lucy Lovell
Written by
Rob Martin
Contributor
Lucy Lovell
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Café culture in Manchester is stronger than ever. You could say the same thing about the city's coffee, where getting that balance between a beverage that hits all the right notes of strength, flavour and temperature is no easy task. Fortunately, we’re spoiled for choice and Manchester has everything from greasy spoons with mugs of jet-black filter to quirky brunch spots with perfect flat whites to brilliant bars serving killer cortados.

Whether it’s a single-origin pourover or a smooth flat white, this city’s coffee scene has you covered. Here’s our round-up of the very best coffee shops and cafés in Manchester right now.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Manchester

Best coffee shops and cafés in Manchester

Grindsmith
  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops

While Salford’s Grindsmith is an easy one to miss, excellent coffee and chilled out surrounds ensure that many who do find it make a note to come back. Funded by a Kickstarter campaign back in 2013 by mobile coffee heavyweights Peter Gibson and Luke Tomlinson, the eco-friendly wood-clad pod does at first look like a laboratory, with multiple coffee syphons emitting wonderful aromas.

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza

When family-run café-bakery Trove opened in the small suburb of Levenshulme, it changed the Manchester coffee game. Now it’s expanded to not one but three sites, adding Ancoats and Marble Street venues. But expansion hasn't meant any loss in quality and Trove continues to be one of the very best places for coffee in the city. Or is that three of the best?

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Two floors of Grade II-listed Victorian finery – including a stunning glass ceiling – make up Mackie Mayor (named after Ivie Mackie, a local alderman who opened the venue in 1858 as a meat market). It’s a vibrant food and drink market in the Northern Quarter. And many come for the great food and drink offering but Wolfhouse Coffee offers some of the best java around. Dive into a range of espresso-based bevs and fancy pour-overs.

Bright, friendly and with stacks upon stacks of homemade doughnuts: there aren’t many places we’d rather spend an afternoon than Siop Shop. If you can drag your gaze away from the perfectly plump sweet treats – the dreamy flavours include millionaire shortbread and chai topped with pecan nuts – then there’s a stonking coffee selection to explore, too.

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Sure, Prestwich may not rival Ancoats when it comes to food and drink, but there’s a lovely bunch of indie joints that are well worth the 20-minute tram from the city centre. Our favourite is All The Shapes, a casual bar-restaurant-café serving up fun, family-friendly vibes. Its speciality coffee is best enjoyed with a wedge of cake on the pretty, sun-soaked terrace (yes, sometimes the sun shines in Manchester).

This laid-back Northern Quarter café has a loyal following – not least for its incredibly moreish cream pies. Idle Hands is also loopy about coffee, offering a selection of rare filters from guest roasters. Nordic-style beans are your best shout; regular names include Munich-based Man Versus Machine and London’s Dark Arts Coffee.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés

Somewhere between trad greasy spoon and trendy bar, Koffee Pot is a Manchester institution. It’s moved a few times in the city centre, but has now settled on Oldham Street. The vibe is about as Northern Quarter as it gets here: street art on the walls, hot Vimto by the mug and huge, no-nonsense fry-ups. There’s a pleasingly no-frills brew, too, locally roasted by Ancoats Coffee. Filter coffee is just £1.60 and comes served in a proper mug.

  • Restaurants
  • Tea rooms

This great gaff opened in 2010, making it one of the OG craft coffee houses in Manchester. Its uber-cool site is often lined with freelancers on laptops, but it’s a brilliant shout for a coffee break if you’re in the city centre. A huge selection of loose leaf will keep tea fans happy, while espresso-based cups – from the punchy piccolo to the silky long black – are always exquisite. Long live NTP.

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs

Primarily a bar – and a damn good one, too – Common is often overlooked as a coffee spot, but its brews are second to none. Along with all the usual suspects, Common serves a filter coffee using London-based Workshop Coffee Co (with unlimited refills). If that doesn’t float yer boat, try loose leaf tea by the mug or pot.

  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops

Takk is a love letter to Scandi coffee houses, and it’s been serving up hygge vibes to savvy Mancunians for years. It now has three outlets across the city, but we still love its Northern Quarter branch the most. It serves guest coffees from Europe and beyond: the house brew is a single origin from Finca Miravalle in El Salvador.

After more solid recommendations?

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