Andrew Webb’s Saffron Walden caffeine crawl

PUBLISHED: 10:06 24 April 2015 | UPDATED: 10:06 24 April 2015

Andrew Webb enjoys the tea and coffee selection at Tea Amo on Cross Street.

Andrew Webb enjoys the tea and coffee selection at Tea Amo on Cross Street.


You know, for a town of around 15,000 souls, Saffron Walden does rather well for places to get a cup of tea or coffee. So the other morning, I decided to do a caffeine crawl around town. What I found was there’s a place and a price to suit everyone.

Chocolate cake recipe

Chocolate and cake, need I say more?

All too often many chocolate cakes are just Victoria sponges made brown by the addition of cocoa powder, not this one.

Also, it’s one single cake which means you don’t have to think about a filling.

Finally, the ganache coating gives extra moistness and more 
chocolate flavour, perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, any time of day.

For the cake

200g 70-80 per cent dark chocolate

250g unsalted butter cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing

100ml full fat milk (at room temperature, or warm a little in the microwave)

250g pain flour

250g caster sugar

60g cocoa powder

5 eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

50ml water

50ml vegetable oil

4 teaspoons of baking powder

For the ganache coating

225ml double cream

350g broken up plain chocolate.

- Preheat oven to 140ºC

- Grease and line a deep 23cm springform cake tin

- Place a glass bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and add the milk, butter and chocolate. Gently heat until thoroughly melted and combined.

- Place the flour into a bowl, add the cocoa powder and the sugar.

- Fold in the chocolate mixture, the eggs, the vanilla extract, the water and the oil, finally add the baking powder. Fold gently together until combined.

- Pour into the cake tin and shake a little to even out the batter.

- Place in the oven and bake for 60-75 minutes. Check with a skewer, it should come out of the cake clean. Leave in the tin on a wire rack to cool. - - Wash and dry the bowl you melted the chocolate in. Add the cream and the broken up chocolate and heat gently until fully combined. Leave to cool and when set use a palette knife to apply to the sides and the top 
of the cake in a coating.

Bicicletta con Velo

The new kid on the block, and though it’s aimed at lovers of pedals and pelotons, you don’t have to be into cycling to enjoy a fine cup of the black stuff here. Their coffee comes from Hot Numbers, a coffee shop and roastery on Gwydir Street in Cambridge. Their beans are sourced direct from farmers, rather than through middle men and dealers. They then roast the beans in small batches. Typical blends include tanzania, which has peach like acidity with a juicy body, followed by a gentle after taste of orange blossom and almonds. There’s also a range of locally baked savoury snacks, cakes and brownies for sale.

Kim’s Tea and Coffee House

If you’re after somewhere sedate to enjoy the sunshine, Kim’s Tea and Coffee House has the option of sitting in Jubilee Gardens. A large range of coffees are available, from Indian Mysore a light and refreshing coffee with spicy overtones, right up to Indonesian Blue Sumatra, a heavy, smooth coffee with its rich chocolatey finish. However if you really want to push the boat out, try the Pure Jamaican Blue Mountain, one of the finest coffees in the world. They use full-fat organic milk for all our cappuccinos and cafe lattes – as this gives a smoother creamier taste (although skimmed or semi-skimmed organic is always available).

Tea Amo

A friendly, quirky, chocolate box of a shop that’s particularly popular with parents who have young children, all watched over by Kim and her daughter Mollie (who has been known to dress up as Princess Elsa from Frozen on more than one occasion). Mollie bakes all the cakes, with coffee cake, chocolate cake and Victoria sponge being firm favourite. While the nippers enjoy apple juice from tea pots and a sweets, treats, biscuits or cakes; mum or dad can enjoy a good cup of coffee.

Cheddar and Vine

A great place for a quick caffeine hit, where you can also buy a bottle of something nice for later, as well as selection of cheeses and chutneys. Their Italian coffee is ground fresh, and despite being a wine shop, there’s now a firm set of regulars who come in just for the coffee.

Cafe Cou Cou

Huge scones, and freshly ground coffee or a pot of tea to wash them down mean this institution has a loyal following.

Cafe Mocha

A friendly favourite that has been serving the town for over 40 years. They use fresh Arabica coffee beans, and Italian crema coffee for their freshly made Cappuccino and Latte drinks.

Tiptree tea room

Formerly The Courtyard, this popular tea room has now been taken over by Wilkin & Sons, Essex’s famous jam maker, and so as you’d expect their jam features in their cream teas.

Maze Cafe

Perched in the corner of market square, maze offers cakes and pasties along with cream teas, a variety of coffees, as well as hot chocolate, while youngsters might like their delicious milkshakes and freshly made smoothies.

The chains

Lastly, there’s the two familiar chains in town serving coffee; Starbucks is particularly popular with young mothers as there’s plenty of space for buggies.

Finally, a little coffee fact for you. Did you know that the pronunciation of the word coffee is the same the world over – coffee in English, ka-vee in Finnish, kah-vay in Turkish, cà-phê in Vietnamese? Always the same two syllables, even in Welsh!

Follow Andrew Webb @foodjournalist and check out his website

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