May

15

Author AA Abbott takes a visit to Tilt.

AA Abbott is a British crime thriller writer and loves her coffee! Returning to guest blog for Coffee Birmingham, she pays a visit to Tilt and laps up its many treats.

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Tilt is located in the beautiful, but under-loved, City Arcade off Union Street. It describes itself as a craft beer café and coffee shop, but it’s with pinball that it really scores. With a row of glowing, buzzing beasts by the door and more in the basement, it’s a great place to hang out with friends the old-fashioned way. There’s the obligatory free wi-fi to bring life back to the digital age, especially handy for freelance workers with their laptops.

tilt

Beer is served from midday until late. The current selection includes Belgian-style wheat beer and Wiper & True’s Milkshake Milk Stout, the ale that thinks it’s vanilla ice cream. It’s a good introduction to beery pleasure for those who don’t think they’ll like it – the closest craft beer gets to an alcopop.

tilt

But what of the coffee? There’s filter and espresso on offer, with bags of coffee to take away so you can replicate the taste at home. (Hint: in my experience, like holiday wine or a hairdresser’s creation, it’s never the same.) I had an unctuously creamy latte with a hint of bitterness: delicious, and ten times better than anything the international coffee shop chains could produce, but like the milk stout, it wouldn’t frighten the horses.

tilt

Tilt also serves tea, hot chocolate and a selection of home-made cakes. My carrot cake, spruced up with walnuts and buttery frosting, was the best I’ve ever had. Even better, the slice was so huge that it substituted for breakfast.

tilt

First thing in the morning, Tilt was quiet, hosting a few freelances and shoppers stopping for a coffee. It was easy to hear the background soundtrack of punchy eighties anthems. At noon, chat levels rose. The café was significantly busier as the lunchtime crowd drifted in to play pinball. I imagine the joint is jumping in the evening too. It deserves to be.

tilt

The café is simply decorated – perhaps too simply – but other than that, Tilt does the basics very well indeed. It offers carefully chosen coffee, cake and beer served without fuss, a chance to chill alone or with friends, and a side order of pinball. What more do you need?

LINKS:

Tilt website: http://tiltbrum.com/
Tilt Twitter: https://twitter.com/tilt_brum
Tilt Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tiltbrum/
AA Abbott website: http://aaabbott.co.uk/
AA Abbott Twitter: https://twitter.com/AAAbbottStories
AA Abbott Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AAAbbottStories/

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Jan

16

Paul Best: Batting for Birmingham’s coffee shops

Our first guest blog for 2014 and we are delighted to welcome to professional cricketer Paul Best to Coffee Birmingham to account for his glowing experiences of Urban Coffee Company’s Church Street emporium.

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After a busy week and a tough day of training, I was in much need of a bite to eat, a relaxing space and a flat white to take the edge off. I ventured to Church Street to the Urban Coffee Company, where I had often driven past, and been impressed from the outside by the seemingly trendy vibe within.

Urban Coffee Company Birmingham

I was immediately struck by the smart and well-furnished interior. Had I come in a few hours earlier I could have indulged in the porridge that would have been on offer with many different toppings available. However, as it was almost two o’clock and I had not yet had lunch, I decided to go for a festive looking ‘Roast Chicken and Chestnut Stuffing’ sandwich, which I decided to have toasted. It went down a treat especially when accompanied by an excellent Flat White. The Urban Coffee Company advertised their use of a combination of Brazilian and Guatemalan beans and my friend Tom said he picked up on the nutty, almost fruity aspect of the blend as a coffee connoisseur (get him – the big showoff).

Birmingham

Some pretty cool artwork and a large mural on the wall nicely supported the stripped-back and down-to-earth décor. A great feature of the establishment was a number of large beanbags, one of which had the honour of support my frame for a few minutes as I digested my sandwich and coffee (it let me reflect on life’s mysteries in a most comfortable fashion).
Birmingham

I was reading recently that this type of relaxation and idleness was experienced in many of the coffee houses of Europe in the 17th century. However, people were sitting back and watching the world go by one afternoon too many it seems because in England in 1676 Charles II, the king of the day, issued ‘a proclamation for the Suppression of Coffee-Houses’. In it, he banned coffee houses since they had become places of idleness and neglect.

Birmingham

In Constantinople, at a similar time in history, coffee houses were also banned as it was thought they would create a laidback atmosphere during a time of war. Anyone who was seen drinking coffee was sewn into a leather bag and thrown into the Bosphorus! How glad I was that Tom or myself weren’t thrown into the Birmingham Canal for enjoying our coffees this afternoon? Very. That’s how glad.

It’s important to have spaces in the community where you can switch off from the fast-paced world outside. This is certainly such a space. It was refreshing to see only one laptop out and not one person on their phone as the open planned upstairs seemed to create a great environment for discussion and debate whilst surrounded by the eccentric pieces of art (including a large wooden slab with a picture of Pharrel Williams).

I would definitely recommend the Urban Coffee Company for anyone who wants to experience some great quality coffee and food while doing so in a relaxed and quirky space. The next time I come I might have to treat myself to one of their muffins, which looked particularly tempting!

What do you think?
Let us know @coffeebrum or on facebook www.facebook.com/coffeebrum
About Paul
Paul lives in Coventry and is a professional cricketer for Warwickshire County Cricket Club. In the past he has represented and captained England Under 19s. He recently graduated from Cambridge University and studied Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic Studies. He is a keen foodie and a lover of good coffee. Follow Paul at @MerwoodBest
Want to blog for Coffee Birmingham?
Got a great story, issue, debate or idea – get in touch @coffeebrum or email tim@coffeebirmingham.co.uk.
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Oct

14

Pictures from Urban Coffee Company’s preview launch in Harborne

Urban has a new and lovely emporium which opened today in the newly redeveloped School Yard in Harborne. The decor and atmosphere feels warm and homely and I’m really digging the open bar vibe as well.

Here’s some pics from the soft-launch party last night. I urge you all to get over and check this place out. A fab job has been done by all concerned!

Let us know what you think of Urban’s new emporium in Harborne – tweet to @coffeebrum!! 

 

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