I'd spotted this place when the refurbishments started over a year ago. Glasgow gets there, eventually, but it's the best part of a century since it led the way.
Actually, the problem is not so much the proliferation of coffee shops, but the quality of the coffee. Fortunately this place was well worth the wait. It's the brainchild of Macallums Fishmongers and occupies the site of their old shop. They roast coffee beans on the premises using a fabulous looking machine brought over from France.
Lisa said she used to work in the wine trade, before that she'd spent 3 years in Australia roasting coffee. Why did my careers lessons fail to mention such jobs?
This is a new version of the espresso machine that in 1961 pioneered the design now copied by most other manufacturers. It's a beautiful bit of kit.
My Americano was made using their House Blend 'Cranston Hill'. Wonderful fruity, smokey aroma and a delicious, rounded, chocolaty taste.
Went for a bag of El Salvador 'Las Delicias Bourbon' beans to take home. They were roasted the day before and I was instructed, "Best leave them a day first". Now this sounded interesting. After reading the great Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking I'd always presumed that the sooner you use your beans after roasting the better. Harold explains that coffee beans have more different aroma compounds than almost any other edible thing. Hundreds are released by roasting but they start oxidising almost immediately.
Lisa explained that because the beans are roasted at 220c they need time to 'settle' and release gasses for a day or two afterwards. Otherwise the cup could turn out a bit 'lively'. Fascinating. I decided mine were sufficiently rested this morning. Fabulous coffee. Smokey, nutty aromas and a lovely almost refreshing taste. Think it was £4.80 for 250g of beans. Well worth it and I even got a discreet nod of approval when I said I'd be grinding them myself.
The teas also look good, especially the flower teas which unfurl in beautiful glass teapots before you pour. And, apparently, they're in talks with a Chocolatier... whatever that means.
So I'd seriously suggest popping in to try some of the best coffee in this city and say hello to the knowledgeable and charming Rosie, Rachel and Lisa.
Coffee, Chocolate and Tea
944 Argyle Street,
0141 204 3161