After years of being a tea drinker I finally got myself into coffee a few years ago, rather embarrassingly through realising that I quite liked coffee flavoured cake and ice-cream (typical me!). It wasn't long before I got myself through the door of my nearest coffee shop chain and ordered myself a caramel latte.
I carried this on for all the years that I lived in London. With a coffee chain situated on every street corner it was pretty hard to walk down a road without ending up in one and they were the convenient, easy caffeine fix when I was in a rush to and from the office.
Just recently however I've begun to realise that the world of coffee is so much more than a hit and miss latte with a mass produced, slightly stale cake. I've started to have a little try of different types of coffee and seeing what independent coffee shops are about.
Flat Caps Coffee was a name that I heard time and time again so when a Living Social deal for coffee and cake popped up, I knew it was time we attempted to develop our coffee education.
Flat Caps is situated off Northumberland Street in the centre of Newcastle yet is hidden away so carefully that it relies on its fantastic reputation, loyal customers and word of mouth. I had walked past it so many times myself and never realised it was there. To access Flat Caps you have to enter into a gift shop and make your way down some stairs into the coffee shop hidden in the basement.
I was loving this idea immediately, venturing down the little spiral staircase covered in twinkly fairy lights and walking into a cosy space full of little tables and colourful cushions. A perfect hideaway from the busy street above.
The shop is run by Joe, who is so good at what he does he's the official Northern Barrista Champion as well as being a finalist in the UK competition. Joe is passionate about coffee and offers proper brewed coffee using three different brew methods - filter, aeropress and the unusual method of syphon.
Now, walking into a proper coffee shop with limited knowledge of coffee can be a little daunting but luckily Joe was on hand to talk us through our options and show us what guest coffees he had on the board and what we could pick from.
Simon decided on Kinone which promised flavours of huge body and dark chocolate and I had Small Batch with flavours of citrus, floral and milk chocolate.
Wow! I was completely blown away by what I ordered. Usually I end up pouring far too much sugar into my coffee, but the cup I had was so beautifully sweet just how it was. It was absolutely delicious and I enjoyed it so much. I had a sneaky sip of Simon's as well which was also really lovely.
If you've been thinking about maybe stepping away from the coffee shop chains and try something a bit different I really do recommend heading on down to Flat Caps Coffee and letting Joe make you something lovely - it could well change the way you think about coffee!