Network Rail recently completed their five year transformation of Birmingham New Street station. The 1960s office block, car-park and residential tower that once buried the train station beneath a concrete deck are all demolished. In their place is a large domed atrium that floods the concourse with natural light.
Surrounding the concourse is the Grand Central shopping centre with dozens of retail outlets and one of the country’s largest John Lewis stores as anchor tenant.
Alasdair no longer works at Yorks Espresso Bar and so took me instead to Faculty Coffee, a snug, independent coffee shop at Piccadilly arcade, two spits and a fag end from New Street Station. We had espresso there and my espresso was strong and viscous and well extracted.
Alasdair described to me the protocols of coffee cupping and then gave the assemblage a bag of Columbian coffee beans that had been exclusively sourced and grown for Yorks Espresso Bar. He then sent me to meet up with his friend Amy, in Moseley.Alasdair told me that Amy had worked with him at Yorks Espresso Bar.
Before visiting Amy, I stopped by at Yorks Espresso Bar to try their nitro cold brew coffee. It was served from a beer style keg system and clouded like Guinness in the glass. It combined with the espresso I had drunk at Faculty Coffee to give me caffeine shakes.