Café Scene Cardiff’s coolest coffee & tea hangouts
issue #01 café profile: crumbs // arcade café crawl // latté art at torre coffee // cardiff café quiz
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How are you? Thanks for reading our mag. It’s called The Café Scene, and we hope it will become your trusted guide to Cardiff’s coolest independent cafés. For our first issue, we met the baristas behind some of the city centre’s cosiest
c r e a t e d
hangouts, took a café crawl through its historic arcades and created a quiz that will find a quirky Cardiff coffee shop tailored to your tastes. So fill up your favourite mug, locate a comfy sofa and enjoy the ‘zine! Matt Ayres
This month’s Café Profile spills the beans on Cardiff’s original vegetarian haven Words: Sophie Jones | Photo: Sophia Epstein
estled in the middle of the Morgan Arcade is a piece of Cardiff history you wouldn’t expect to find. Crumbs Kitchen has been feeding hungry vegetarians for over 40 years and their chunky wooden salad bowls take you back to a time when hair was long, love was free and wholesome living was all the rage. The café is known for its meat-free menu, which also caters to dairy and gluten intolerant customers. With excellent coffee and a gorgeous setting in the historic Morgan Arcade, it’s no wonder the place has such a dedicated following. Paul Cobley and his brother Ron took over management of Crumbs two years ago. Since then the café has been reborn. “We are more popular than ever before,” says Paul,
“Come Saturday, there is a queue out of the door and right down the arcade.” Swansea born Paul has a varied background that’s as mixed and exotic as his famous salads. Five years catering aboard the luxury cruise ship The QE2 preceded a stint in the running of an independent health food shop. Like so many others, Paul remembers coming to Crumbs with his father as a kid. Those memories brought him back time and again until, one day, he saw his opportunity. “As soon as I saw it was up for sale, I leapt at the chance,” he recalls. Crumbs’s famous salad recipes have been preserved, but Paul brought
his own expertise to the hot food and cakes. He also redesigned the space in Crumbs. Pale eggshell walls, light wooden furniture and warm lighting now give the café’s cosy, wholesome vibe a matching aesthetic. The brothers have since opened a Crumbs Kitchen in Swansea, but their Cardiff base remains the original haven for wholesome veggie cuisine.
“Have you tried the gluten free cakes?”
asks Paul, proudly. “They’re delicious!”
For our first Café Crawl, we’re taking you on a tour of Cardiff’s historic arcades, pointing out the best places to sit and ponder in luxurious surroundings Words and illustrations: Sophie Jones
BEST TAKEAWAY: Coffee Continental
BEST VIBE: Coffee Barker
Coffee Continental is a great place to stop and sample bizarre concoctions on the go. Warm your hands with a gingerbread latté or your soul with “The Russian” (a hot chocolate with vodka and amaretto).
Comfy leather sofas, artisan chrome lamps and friendly staff – what more could you want from a Cardiff café? Coffee Barker dominates in size and personality, so there’s always plenty of room.
DUKE STREET ARCADE
HIGH STREET ARCADE
BEST CAKE: Garland’s
BEST VALUE: Atlantic Coffee
Witness towering bridges of spun sugar balancing on the peaks of softly crested buttercream – Garland’s makes cake-baking into an art form, both in looks and taste. Home baked every morning, find cakes, muffins and scones galore!
Where can you go to get a quick, tasty bite for lunch and not break the bank? Atlantic Coffee’s menu is broad and affordable. If you’re tired of spending a small fortune on an overpriced chain-produced toastie, Atlantic Coffee should be your first port of call.
BEST LUNCH: Wally’s Kaffeehaus
BEST DRINKS: The Plan
A secret café hidden above Wally’s incredible international deli, this Viennese Kaffeehaus serves up European open sandwiches bigger than your face and Aufschnitt (meat and cheese platters) vast enough to feed an invading army.
The Plan stands proud, bang in the middle of Morgan Arcade. The award-winning baristas here can whip you up a beautiful coffee that tastes as good as it looks. They also have a great range of teas for those who know their Lapsangs from their Assams.
POURING A PORTRAIT Meet the artist who treats coffee as his canvas Words: Will Martin | Photos: Matt Ayres
How to pour a perfect latte Step 1: Approach the intimidating coffee machine with your jug.
Ruggero’s trusty La Marzocco espresso machine helps him to achieve the perfect cup every time
mongst the hustle of puffing shoppers on Castle Street lies Torre Coffee and its owner Ruggero Baietta, Cardiff’s maestro di latte. Torre Coffee opened in February, and its ‘Italy meets Wales’ atmosphere has since attracted coffee lovers to sample a slice of la dolce vita. Ruggero greets us with a smile, wearing a black linen apron and holding out two plates of mama’s special carrot cake. On the counter are towers of tiramisu and wedges of granola, filling the room with the sweet aroma of honey. Ruggero refuses to dish out the secrets of his recipes, but they taste like a story that sweeps from Cardiff Castle to the blue shutters of his home in Treviso, North Italy.
“Life in Italy is so fast,” he remembers. “We drink coffee like… [he imitates knocking back a shot of espresso like tequila]. But Welsh people take their time. They sip and enjoy their coffee.” He thinks it is better this way. Inspired by a “Welsh and proud” attitude, the art of local painters forms a gallery along one of the café walls. And with stockades of Welsh cakes and Welsh speaking customers, Torre Coffee is easily translated as the quintessential Welsh coffee house. Art is also found on the face of your coffee. Armed with a toothpick and serious skills, Ruggero scours latte art into cappuccinos and lattes. A sheep, balloon or an elephant: what will he make you?
Step 2: Tilt your jug to 45 degrees and pull down until the nozzle is about an inch beneath the milk. Step 3: Pull down on the lever until you hear a highpitched squeak. You’ve hit the sweet spot. Step 4: Your hand holding the jug should be getting warm. When it is just about as hot as a fresh mug of coffee, release the lever and knock the jug on the table to settle the foam. Step 5: The milk is ready! Pour it over the espresso and when you reach halfway, shake the milk gently from side to side to create a wavy pattern. Step 6: Almost there! When you are about to fill the cup pull the jug towards you to cut the waves in half. Step 7: You should now have a milky leaf in your cup.
NEWS & EVENTS
Café’s are more than just tea and cakes... Words: Kirsty Hatcher | Photos: Sophia Epstein
Jumble s ale @ Mil gi Loun 15 Decem ber, 6-8pm ge
t t @ Thé Po Movie nigh er, 7.30pm 17 Decemb
Fashionistas can grab a bargain at Milgi’s famous £1 jumble sale. There will also be vegetarian treats on offer. Customers are advised to arrive early to avoid disapointment.
Join Thé Pot for this year’s final dinner and movie night. They’re ending the year with a bang, showing the festive favourite The Muppets Christmas Carol along with a hearty spread of their finest food.
wdihw aret @ G m Uke Cab ber, 8p 18 Decem The Cardiff Ukelele Cabaret are back for a yuletide special. Join the festive spirit and have a merry evening filled with your favourite Christmas songs, accompanied by Gwdihŵ’s famous mulled cider.
Coming soon: Barker Tea House Popular coffee joint Coffee Barker, famous for its variety and friendly service, is opening a new sister store in the High Street Arcade just in time for Christmas. Stephen Barker, co-owner of the tea and coffee houses says he wants it to be more than just your average café. “We still want to offer a relaxed atmosphere, but we wanted to create somewhere where people will come for that little something extra when they’re out and about,” he explained. The tea house will offer everything from afternoon tea to luxury sandwiches, and once open will boast a stock of over 60 different loose leaf teas from around the world.
Which Cardiff café are you? Caffeine, yeah!
Make mine a mojito
Super coffee? Tea for me, please
Actually, I’m a bit hungry...
I assume you want cake...
Business or break time?
Where’s my suit?
Bohemian, disorderly and inventive, this funky Roathside bar is a genuine poet’s paradise
Polite and cosy vibes meet Californian coolness; Thé Pot really does have something for everyone
Show me the sofa!
Cardiff’s seven Coffee#1s are perfect Quaint, fresh and always for both work and play, putting the buzzing, this prim café’s menu is fun back in functional the pick of the bunch