“ 8a Oxford Road, Manchester, M1 5QA. tel = 0161 236 4003 „
Went in after a long train journey as it is by oxford road train station. Had a latte and a panini. There was an amazing choice of food and drinks and all at really reasonable prices. The staff were really welcoming and there was a really nice relaxed atmospere. I will definatly be going there again.
My first time back to this establishment on Oxford Road's Station approach and, wow, how it's come on. The quality of my cafe latte was incredible. I'd have to be back in London to find anything to compare it with. I tried one of their Goat's cheese paninis, it easily beats anything I've had in Costa or any other of the majors. It's always inspiring to see a local independent doing so well in their own town, and at somewhere like a railway station (and without charging silly prices like the big boys do).Overall a great, chilled out, authentic, European style coffee bar. I shall be making an effort to return when I'm next in town.
Returning to Manchester for a few weeks after a few years living in london, I had to visit Java Bar Espresso as I reguarly visited their Piccadilly, oxford road and the Victoria Station Kiosk. At the time they did serve the best coffee in manchester. I could only find one shop at Victoria Station, which was such a dissapointing experience. The coffee is not the same quality as I remember I had a good java coffee and wanted to get a sandwich well they don't sell any just a few pastry's. The member of staff who served me wasn't very helpful, one the things I remember is the fantastic customer service the coffee was very average for the price and the crossiant was stale. I asked whether I could change the coffee to a latte, unfortunatley the latte was worse than the normal coffee, it was weak and not hot enough so I decided to to just leave it, having spent a few weeks now in manchester I would not recommend Java Bar Espresso to friends as I had previously done. There are now some excellent independant shops in manchester particuarly around the noethern quarter from the Soup Kitchen to Oklahama and of course there's a costa and cafe nero in various locations around the city. Unfortunatley Java Bar Espresso is now just poor and should be avoided.
I find Java Bar Espresso perfect if I'm either going to a film at the Cornerhouse or have time to kill before a train from Oxford Road. The coffee is quite simply the best I've had anywhere. I only drink black sugarless coffee and much of it disappoints. Just good Java is superb - a rich full bodied coffee without bitterness. Far better than anything I've had elsewhere and at much more reasonable prices, plus one in ten free with a loyalty card. Food too is good - simple things done well, sandwiches with a home made feel to them. Staff always pleasant, and always a newspaper or the telly news to look at. WiFi would be great, but it's really the terrific coffee that makes me return! Starbucks et al should go there to see how to do coffee properly!
This morning was another one of THOSE days! You know the ones I mean, when you went to bed too late the night before after having one (or two!) too many glasses of wine or pints of beer. You've overslept and had to rush to get ready to go out this morning, and you've not had chance to have a shave (that applies to boys and girls!) and have not had that first, important cup of coffee! Anyway, I'd played taxi for the morning, ferrying my girlfriend to another of her exams (why she can't get the train is beyond me, but I'd better not bring that up with her lest I'm accused of making her more stressed, if that's possible!!!). Well, anyway again, after completing my good deed for the morning I went in search of that coffee to try and make myself human again (or as human as I ever get). My saviour came in the form of Java Cafe bar on Oxford Road in Manchester. For those of you who know the area, it's located opposite the BBC building, a few yards up from the Metropolitan University, and about 1/2 mile away from the town centre. For those of you who DON'T know the area, it's still there but you won't have the foggiest where I mean, so you might as well not have read that bit, sorry! They are a small chain of coffee bars in the aforementioned Manchester, so small I think they've only got three shops, which is more than 1 (obviously) but a few less than competitors such as Starbucks and Aroma. The shop is located in the same building that used to house the Northern Ballet, and the entrance befits the building, with a huge, open veranda style doorway with open air seating heated by some of those large gas heaters that look like lamps (believe me, you need them in Manchester) leading through the glass frontage into the coffee bar itself. Very impressive for a humble cafe! The interior is mainly decked out in wood (decked out, gettit!) with quality wooden tables and wooden chairs and stools that are s
uprisingly comfy, if a little slippy!!! There are some modern art pictures on the wall and for those of you with wallets bigger than mine, you can even buy a picture from about £50. I'm not sure how keen they would be to actually sell one as it would leave a large gap on the wall, but you could always try! Anyway, on the whole the interior is rather cosy, as long as you sit away from the draft that whooshes through every time someone opens the door, it was a chilly day the last time I was in! It is a very relaxing place just to sit and sup your coffee, watching the world go buy outside, or eavesdropping on peoples conversations inside! To top it all off, when I walked in today Copa Cabanna by Barry Manilow was laying over the stereo, perfect! But never mind the decor, I'm here for that humanising coffee. As you would expect from a modern coffee bar, they have a pretty impressive range of coffees, including the ubiquitous cappuccino and latte (£1.40/£1.95), the rather naughty Cafe Mocha (£1.50/£2.25) and the usual suspects of Espresso and Machiatto (£1.25). They also served an even more naught Chocca Mocha, a hot chocolate/espresso mix (£1.50/£2.25) and one I've never heard of Caffe Con Leche, which I'm reliably informed is Spanish in origin, and consists of a straight coffee (well, have you ever heard of a gay coffee) with a jug of steamed milk, all for £1.30. Sounds just like a latte to me, but at least you save 10p by adding the milk yourself! Aha, so they stock the range, but what does it all taste like. On the whole, a little different to what you normally get served. I don't mean it does not taste like coffee, just that rather than the bland, rather weak tasting coffee you can get served, especially in chain stores, this coffee does seem to have a little bit of bite to it. The coffee comes from a blend of arabica and ristretto beans, and gives a strange combination of smoothness with strength, and a very long af
tertaste. This might sound unpleasant, but it is not bitter, and I quite like it, you certainly get your money's worth as you can taste the coffee for at least an hour afterwards!!! As with most coffee houses, the quality can fluctuate, but on the whole it is very good, and I will take the colourful inconsistency of Java coffee over the anaemic, conformist bland coffee you can get served elsewhere. Not surprisingly it's not just coffee you can buy. They have a range of soft drinks and iced coffee's available, and a very, very impressive array of cakes, biscuits sandwiches and baguettes to temp you and expand that waistline. To keep that waistline under control they sell fresh smoothies by Innocent, although they are quire pricey at £2.00 each, a lot to pay for some fruit juice and yoghurt! To top it all off they also serve my favourite brand of crisps, Jonathan Crisp, with a good range of flavours. They are rather like Kettle Chips but come in smaller bags, with some bizarre concoctions such as Jalepeno Pepper or Sun dried Tomato and Basil flavour. Sounds weird but tastes great! Overall, an excellent place to relax with a good cup of coffee and a baguette. The shop is just far enough out of the city centre to avoid the frenetic pace or suffer the queues of busier bars, the staff are friendly and the ambience warm. Gets my vote.