Central but tucked away on an unassuming side street, Mrs Atha’s is undoubtedly one of Leeds’ top speciality coffee shops.
It’s one of those places that, on first glance, gives off a slightly mixed vibe. Any trip requires at least 20 minutes for your pupils to adapt to the gloom. It’s very dark, and therefore a smidge unwelcoming, not to mention fairly un-photogenic, at least for us mere flash-phobic amateurs. The tables outside aren’t exactly in the garden spot of all Leeds.
However, inside, pupillary sphincters finally relaxed, it will begin to dawn what a pleasant, high quality place Mrs Atha’s is. The staff are brilliant. They’re accomplished baristas with a pleasant touch. The decor is nicely done; interesting but without many of the standard speciality coffee shop cliches.
Delve a bit deeper and things only get better. Mrs Atha’s roasts its own beans, via its new sister roastery Maude, also Leeds-based, nestled under one of the city’s railway arches. Maude came into existence earlier this year after one of Mrs Atha’s baristas suggested to the bosses that they should go down the roasting route.
Those bosses are brothers Warren and Jonathan Jones. They named Mrs Atha’s after their grandmother, whose first name is Maude.
I had a flat white, which was terrific, and pulled from an always delightfully flamboyant Slayer coffee machine. Abi had a filter coffee made from beans from Burundi. Also good.
This wasn’t our first trip to Mrs Atha’s. Our previous visit was the morning after our anniversary, when we had a delicious breakfast.
With Laynes, Opposite, Mrs Atha’s and others, plus two new roasteries in North Star and Maude, the Leeds coffee scene is on the up. Mrs Atha’s is highly recommended; definitely up there with the best the city has to offer.
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We visited on 2 August 2015.