One of my favourite things to do anywhere in the world is to visit coffee shops. England may be better known for its tea, but I’ve been having a great time trying as many local coffee shops as I can here in Sheffield. With so many amazing spots around the city to get your caffeine fix, what sets apart the best of the best? I’ve decided that, while all three of my favs have different things about them that I love, what they all have in common is that I keep coming back over and over again. I love exploring new coffee shops, but I also like to have a few go-to spots as well. So where are they?
22 Snig Hill, Castlegate
Albie’s is a fixture in Sheffield’s local coffee scene despite being quite new to the city, opening in Castlegate in 2018. Their focus is on making specialty coffee accessible to consumers, with a house espresso blend developed with local roaster Cuppers Choice.
Whenever I go to Albie’s, the staff are super friendly and seem genuinely happy to be there. It’s always a really nice feeling to go somewhere and feel like a regular, and Albie’s has that feeling, even if you’ve never been before. If you go regularly, they will remember you. As someone who is decidedly not local (and haven’t had much of a chance to make Sheffield feel more like home thanks to Covid lockdowns), it’s quite special to be able to go to a coffee shop and feel like you’re part of their little community.
The decor at Albie’s has a really nice “hipster coffee shop” vibe: Light colours with black and wood accents, tons of plants, and displays of home espresso supplies available to purchase. The café’s prioritization of good coffee for all means that they offer a variety of retail options for you to set up your own espresso station at home. It’s a great spot if you’re an aspiring coffee snob looking for specialty coffee goods and locally roasted beans.
The coffee itself is great. The espresso is a locally roasted bean blend with buttery and fruity notes. No matter where I go, my go-to coffee drink is a latté, and the espresso at Albie’s pairs really nicely with both dairy and alternative milks. I tend to go or either soy or oat milk because I think they pair better with espresso, but sometimes I forget to specify until it’s too late, whoops. Anyway, disregard my tangent about personal coffee habits – Albie’s coffee is really nice.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the food at Albie’s: every day of the week has a small selection of baked goods, and some seriously delicious bagels. My go-to is the Lox, which is cream cheese, smoked salmon, avocado, and chives. It is to die for! On weekends, they also have donuts, cinnamon buns, and more from Sheffield bakery The Suited Baker.
Coffee at Mow’s
Seller’s Wheel, 151 Arundel Street
Mow’s is an offshoot of dining and event space The Mowbray. While the Mowbray is located in the hip Kelham Island neighbourhood, Mow’s is a little hole-in-the-wall shop located right in City Centre. And I mean hole-in-the-wall in the literal sense! Because of the Covid-19 lockdowns the team behind The Mowbray opened a pop-up café in the historic Sellers Wheel building, selling coffee out of the window. This isn’t the only Sheffield business I’ve seen doing this, and I think there’s something so fun about streetside service through the window!
The branding and design at Mow’s feels stylish and industrial, a fitting vibe for Steel City. Sellers Wheel is a Grade II historic courtyard and collection of buildings that used to be home to one of Sheffield’s many metalworks, but is now a hotspot for local coffee lovers (it’s home to both Mow’s and Tamper Coffee!). Mow’s shares its building with Laundry For Hair, and I think there is something very cool about businesses with shared functional space. The café also has interior space that I hope to be enjoying when interior dining opens up again (thanks, Covid!). The aesthetic is designed to match the historic industrial vibes of the building it’s in, as well as The Mowbray and The Chimney House’s vibes.
Aesthetics aside, Mow’s is one of my favourite spots for coffee in Sheffield because the coffee is just that damn good. The first time I tried Mow’s coffee, my mind was actually blown and I immediately texted my coffee snob friend back home that I had found a holy grail coffee shop. Having tried several coffee shops around the city, I feel pretty confident saying that the best tasting coffee in Sheffield. The espresso used by Mow’s is from Dark Woods Coffee Roasters located in West Yorkshire, winning bonus points for being local. The coffee itself has an extremely rich, bright, sweet taste that is genuinely some of the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life. Huge recommend!
448 Abbeydale Road
One of Sheffield’s most charming spots for coffee has to be Pop-Up Sarni! I stumbled upon this café walking home from the climbing gym, and it drew me in with its bright turqouise storefront and vibrant decor. Pop-Up Sarni has great coffee and food, but what stands out to me is just how fun it is to stop in for a drink or a bite. The place just radiates positivity!
Wedged into a tiny corner shop, Pop-Up Sarni is packed with bright colours, potted plants, quirky art, and a shiny espresso machine. The dozens of plants scattered around the shelves- cacti, succulents, and spider plants available in fun hand-painted pots – and they are all for sale! While there is no indoor seating due to the small space, there is a gorgeous back patio tucked behind the building for you to sit in while you enjoy your coffee and food. Picnic tables are tucked into the covered outdoor space, and surrounded by fairy lights, flowers, and bunting. It’s a space that is curated with so much joy, and it always makes me happy to visit.
Speaking of those positive vibes, the staff at Pop-Up Sarni are an absolute delight. The owner is an absolute ray of sunshine, and is so friendly. Like I mentioned, it’s really nice to have somewhere you can go to feel like a regular, part of the local community, and I always feel that way when I go here. I can’t overemphasize the good vibes of Pop-Up Sarni, and all I can really say is that you have to visit yourself to get it!
These are my top three favourite coffee shops in Sheffield! There are so many great spots for coffee here in town, and my list of places to try just keep getting longer… but these are the coffee shops that I keep coming back to. What’s your go-to coffee order?