“ Tea & Coffee Shop / Address: 162 Newland Avenue / Hull / HU5 2NE / Tel: 01482 470 056 „
Newland Avenue in Kingston-upon-Hull is in the heart of the student area that occupies everything from Beverley road towards Cottingham. Most private student houses are located here and as a student you really have no need to venture out any further that 1km from your house to satisfy any of your shopping, nightlife and culinary needs. Oh, and of course the actual University is not too far away as well. Most people coming to Hull seem to be somehow connected to the University or use the city as a starting point for a P&O cruise. Despite its bad reputation Hull is actually a lovely city offering visitors a wide variety of attractions and an exceptional nightlife.
For anyone venturing out of the city centre towards Newland Avenue Planet Coffee is a must stop-off point. On the corner of Alexander Road Planet Coffee is roughly 1km from the University and maybe 4km from the train station. You really cannot miss it as it is usually very busy with people sitting outside even in bad weather. The clientele is diverse, ranging from the obligatory students to business meetings and families. Everyone is welcome here and the café really caters for all needs. Over the last couple of years I have probably spend more time here sipping hot chocolates than inside a lecture hall. It is the perfect place to meet friends for a relaxed afternoon and the upstairs even has the perfect group revision area.
As the name says this café offers everything a coffee lover could dream of as well as a wide selection of cold drinks, delicious cakes and homemade sandwiches. My winter favourite however is the hot chocolate section. Whilst he hot choc is tasty on its own it is made special by adding flavoured syrups. There is a suggestion menu including orange & coconut flavour, mint favour and the perfect tear dryer of marshmallow syrup with actually marshmallows topping the drink off. But feel free to experiment with your own creations. All the medium hot chocs on the menu are 2.20£ but it is a few pence more if you add an extra syrup of your choice. My housemate and me pride ourselves in having tried and tested the entire menu several times through. We loved every flavour bar the slightly obscure cherry and cream hot choc. My favourite is gingerbread and pumpkin spice (yes, this is exactly how fancy Planet Coffee can be) with a close second of minty hot chocolate during not so cold days.
And if that is not sweet enough you always have the option to add a piece of cake to your drink. The cakes look home-made but please don't quote me on that. With 2.50£ they are ok value for money with some more tasty than other. I am not a big cake eater but my housemate loves them and cannot resist the temptation. I have tried a few of them as they really do look inviting but most were a bit too sweet for my taste. With a huge piece of cake, cream on the side plus a syrupy hot choc topped with more cream and a flakey this really is a heart attack in the waiting. But hey, student life is stressful enough to warrant the occasional treat. There is sometimes a vegan option on offer but generally most cakes are not vegan friendly so better ask if that is a concern for you.
If you are looking for some more health conscious options you can still count of Planet coffee. Food wise there is a soup of the day during the winter months served which is usually very tasty. The bowl is massive and although I am not completely sure on the price anymore I would be tempted to say it is under 3£ for a portion of soup and a roll. I had the tomato, the lentil and the carrot and coriander soup before and all of them were delicious and very filling. During the summer months you have the option of several types of paninis and sandwiches all served with crisps on the side. The tomato and mozzarella panini was always well seasoned and tasty. The paninis are definitely filling enough for a light lunch during lecture breaks or a quick snack in the afternoon.
During the summer months the hot chocs are a bit too rich for me, and probably for most people, but luckily there is a wide variety of cold drinks on the menu. The summer highlight are definitely the fruit smoothies for 3£ each. Frozen fruit is mixed with juice or ice cream to create the perfect summer drink. The flavours are nice but as they are pre-packed portions you cannot get rid of any one fruit you don't like. Another favourite summer drink is iced tea with lemonade - simply choose your tea flavour from the wide choice of organic and fair trade fruit and herbal teas and add to a small bottle of soda. Voila, healthy and refreshing at the same time. During the summer months it is unfortunately almost impossible to get a seat outside and some people really seem to be spending their entire day sitting there. I guess it is really the perfect spot to get some sun and enjoy people watching up and down Newland. Smoking is permitted outside but obviously not inside.
Inside are quite a few small tables with comfy chairs and bigger seating groups with couches arranged on the ground floor. I find it here to be a bit noisy with all the groups occupying the middle bit of the room. Sitting close to the counter can be very annoying with people pushing through constantly and the milk foaming machine thingy is terribly loud. It is a good atmosphere though if you are looking for a laugh with your friends. The upstairs tends to be quieter with fewer people here. We usually try to sit here if we go for a proper chat or a revision session. The interior is sort of retro and vintage inspired but certainly comfortable and homely. I admit to having spent entire afternoons sitting here chatting the time away.
Staff is generally efficient and laid-back but not overly friendly. However, they are swamped with costumers so I will forgive them the occasional grumpy day. The one thing that does annoy me is that they "close" way before closing time - meaning that sometimes you cannot get a hot drink anymore even if it is three quarters of an hour until close. Also starting to clean up and mopping the floor while people finish their drinks is not particularly polite. Obviously I understand that people want to get home on time, but if it says that they open till 9pm and then starting to clean at 8pm is a bit too early for me. Apart from that Planet Coffee is one of my favourite places in Hull and I am quite a regular here. There is a reward card where every 11th drink is free - which for me generally means at least one free drink per month.
Oh, and if you wonder how the coffee is I have to admit to never having actually tried one. I am not a big coffee drinker but all my friends are happy with what they get served. There is the standard selection of style choice and -as with the hot choc - flavoured syrups can be added. They also offer decaf and soya milk if you ask for it. My advice though is certainly to try the hot chocs - you are almost guaranteed to get hooked on them!
Being a student is hard - you might not believe it but after all these boring lectures, long essays and all this free-time can be incredibly exhausting :-)
And what is a better cure than a deliciously sweet hot chocolate with cream and a piece of cheesecake on the side. It is no wonder that the Planet Coffee on Newland Avenue in Hull/England is more visited by students than the University itself. I can of course only talk for me and my friends but I'm surely spending more time there than in my lecture theatres.
The coffee house is circa 10min walk from the University and a 20min bus ride from the town centre, conveniently located on Newland Avenue it is the perfect place to relax and enjoy delicious sweets.
There are about 50 seats on chairs, sofas and comfy armchairs in the cozy café - free water and free wifi are available for all customers - I'm actually sitting there right now enjoying my lunch break and a hot chocolate.
The menu is huge with many different varieties of coffee, hot chocolate and cold drinks as well as delicious cakes and hearty paninis. Prices are all around 2 Pound for a hot drink and 2.50 Pound for the cakes. The pieces of cake are a bit on the small site but still, they are well worth the money. Coffees are nice but as I am not really a coffee drinker I will concentrate on my favourite: the hot chocolate.
- Satsuma: a delicious hot chocolate with orange syrup and whipped cream on top. This is my favourite as it is not too sweet and quite refreshing with the tangy orange flavor.
- Mutany: very sweet mix with coconut syrup - perfect for really cold days!
- Marshmallow dream: good idea but a bit of a hassle to drink as the hot choc is too thin to mix well with the melting marshmallows. As you have to fight for a spoon I son gave up drinking it.
- Strawberry and cream: sounds wired tastes delicious. This would be my favourite if I could get only a small cup - it is just too sweet for a whole cup.
- Deluxe Hot Choc: Honestly, I couldn't taste much difference between the deluxe (and obviously more expensive version) and the original one.
- The cakes are a bit pricy but very nice. My all time favourite is the carrot cake with its sweet, nutty flavor that is not too overpowering. Unfortunately I found the caramel cake to be sickly sweet and only tasting of pure sugar.
- The little snacks like Muffins are way to expensive, they are not home made and taste like something you could get at Tesco or ASDA, certainly not worth 1.50 Pound.
Planet Coffee is a lovely and relaxing place full of regulars. Nobody will mind if you sit there for hours and only have one drink. The only downside is that the staff is not the friendliest. I really fail to understand this, there is never a friendly word, service is very rushed and any request - even the question if I could have a spoon with my drink - is handled in a "god, what do you want now?!" kind of way. It is really a shame because if there is nobody who tells me about the different flavours of the cakes then I am obviously not going to buy any. And this is not just when it is busy - even when you are the only customer you will not get a friendly word or a smile from many members of staff.
But in the end I do not go there because of the staff but because of the delicious and not too expensive drinks. I well certainly stay a regular there and continue spending most of my lazy Sundays there.
Planet Coffee is certainly one of the best coffee places in Hull with delicious drinks, good cakes and cheap prices. It has more style and atmosphere than generic places like Starbucks and is a good deal cheaper.
Shame the staff is rather unfriendly - which leads to 09 out of 10 from me!