Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Cielo Coffee House - Leeds City Centre

I wrote previously about the Cielo coffee house that is based in Garforth, they're a social enterprise which seeks to not only pump cash in to the local community but also the community in which they buy their coffee from.

They have a soft spot on my heart as they started life in my home town, helped keep the local library open and then moved to a bigger place and set up their own in-house micro roastery. They also keep the local teens in jobs too.

Things are clearly doing well as they have opened a new place in Crossgates, the city centre and have even opened a place in the Midlands. It seems an age ago that they took over the tiny shop that was (most likely) an old lady clothes shop on Garforth Main Street all those years ago.

Cielo can be found in Leeds City Centre on Duncan Street on the same street as Pieminister, Five Guys and Veeno. I pass Cielo on route from the bus stop to the train station so having skipped breakfast and with a trip to Manchester on the cards we decided to pop in for a coffee and a nibble before we hopped on the train.

Cielo isn't particularly very big, there isn't a vast array of seating but there is more than some of the smaller coffee shops in Leeds, I'd hazard a guess to say it's a medium sized coffeehouse in terms of places to drink coffee in Leeds.

A range of pastries, cakes and paninis were on offer and my eye was caught by the raspberry and custard pastry. The Garforth based shop sources it's pastries from the ever fabulous Dumouchel I didn't catch a glimpse of where these are from but I'd hope they're still keeping it local and using Leeds' very own French bakery and helping spread the word. 

I ordered a flat white and D a latte (as well as a panini for D). The pastry was handed to me at the till and the barista took a note of where we were sitting to bring out our coffee and panini to us.

The coffee was good, it was by no means unpleasant but it wasn't as smooth as some of the other independent coffee houses in Leeds such as Laynes and La Bottega Milanese. There was a slight bitterness present which I can only guess may be attributed to over roasting, the milk was a touch too hot which may be reflected by the bubbles in my cup, again I am hazarding a guess having only taken a crash course on coffee thus far. Later in the day, in Manchester, I visited Takk coffee house and the difference in coffee was quite apparent, the roast and blend was a bit more refined.

I still enjoyed my coffee at Cielo, although it doesn't quite meet the marks of the artisan coffee houses I think with a little time they might just get there. As they are a social enterprise I guess they are limited on how far they can delve in to the coffee world, as I know those from Laynes have travelled to far off countries in pursuit of the perfect coffee berry.

The place is a little rough around the edges, with the toilet probably needing a little bit of a clean and regular check up. It looks as if they have had minimal budget to put together the coffee house with parts looking somewhat unfinished, and not in a fashionable way. However, with large windows it's a perfect people watching spot as Duncan street gets a lot of footfall especially on a Saturday.

I hope to see Cielo go from strength to strength, there's just a little bit of improvements to be made here and there to get them competing with the big coffee dogs of Leeds.

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