Andrew Webb’s Saffron Walden caffeine crawl

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. - Credit: Archant

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.

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.

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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