Caffeine boost: The rise of the independent coffee shops in Harrogate
Last updated Jan 7, 2022
Independent coffee shops are more popular than ever in Harrogate.

One thing Harrogate isn’t short of is independent coffee shops.

Once associated as a trendy hangout for hipsters, now the majority of the population are queuing up to get their caffeine fix – and it better be a decent flat white.

New venues on the scene include Swedish coffee house Fi:k, in the Montpellier Quarter, which has also recently opened a branch in Knaresborough, Cortado, on Leeds Road and Heal, also in the Montpellier. There is also Bamber & Brown, a barista bar at Birk Crag, where you can enjoy an artisan coffee in a tipi, and Constellation Coffee, which opened on East Parade last month. Another Swedish coffee shop, Nord, is also set to open on Otley Road.

But what is it about these coffee shops that everyone is going nuts for? And can the town handle the increasing number?

Opening its doors on Leeds Road in August last year, Cortado is one of the new kids on the block.

Meeting spot

Manager Erin Seelig said:

“We felt like the Leeds Road area was missing the market as most of them are directed towards town and this area really needed something.

“Coffee shops are now slowly starting to expand out into the neighbourhoods, which is great.

“It’s a hub and a meeting spot for a lot of people, especially in Harrogate.”

Erin said she believed each coffee shop in Harrogate had it’s own community and offered something slightly different, with Cortado focusing on takeaways to cater for an increase in the number of people who grab one and go for a stroll.

Find your niche

She said this was a habit that had been formed on the back of the lockdown daily walks.

“We see the same people – and their dogs – every day and for us it’s lovely to serve the community.

“For us we are trying to create our own identity. You have got to find your niche.

“If you look at the coffee shops in Harrogate, some focus on the cakes, some do brunch and they all attract different types of people.”

Manager Erin Seelig at Cortado on Leeds Road.

Erin said customers cared more about the different blends of coffee than ever before and often liked to know where the beans were roasted.

Affordable luxury

She said:

“It’s an affordable luxury and it’s a part of the day a lot of people look forward to as there is also the social element.

“I think there is plenty of room for new coffee shops as Harrogate has a big population of residents, as well as tourists. It’s always nice to have choice, and if one of them is full, you can pick another.

“All the independent coffee shops support each other as well. We get massive support from Bean and Bud, Hoxton North and No.35. They have been in here lots and we go to them. We can share ideas, which is really nice.”

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Matthew Edmonds and Oliver Highland Edmonds launched HealMedical and Wellness Spa around seven years ago and last month they added artisan coffee and gift shop to their business, which is based in the Montpellier Quarter.

Coffee and chat

Matthew said:

“The vision for the coffee shop is to enhance the wellness spa with a relaxing, calm space in which having a coffee and a chat becomes an integral part of your experience.

“The retail gifting area aims to highlight independent businesses who strive to give back, whether it be working with the learning difficulties community or supporting environmental causes. This sums up the ethos of Heal.”

Matthew Edmonds, owner of Heal.

Unique experience

Matthew agreed that all new coffee shops in Harrogate should bring the community a unique experience.

He added:

“This is what we are aiming to do at Heal by also stocking quirky gifts and cards that you don’t see everywhere.”

Heal’s coffee and gift shop in the Montpellier Quarter.

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