Bold Street coffee is one of Liverpool’s most beloved independent coffee shops.
We get up, we get ready and we all find ways to get through the day. We find happiness within chaos and balance within variables. Some find solace in privacy and silence and some escape through the company of others. Enter Bold Street Coffee, where both are welcome and the one constant is good coffee. Bold Street Coffee is 7 years old and we’d just like to thank it on behalf of Liverpool. For those mornings our coffee needed a coffee, for the days we swore we’d never get through and for the Wednesdays Stan Ambrose plucked at his harp and our hearts. Thank you for the business meetings, the hellos, the goodbyes, the catchups. The first dates, the last dates and the ones in between. The sit downs, the takeaways and the “we’re closing now”s.
We caught up with Sam, founder and owner of Bold Street Coffee, to reflect on the last 7 years of serving one of the best cups of coffee in Liverpool:
When did your love affair with coffee start?
I got into coffee when I was a barman and was making coffee as part of the job. I started reading about it and learning about it, and it was around then that I thought I’d like to open a coffee shop of my own. Not going to lie, I was pretty shit at first but I started to get better and better. I went down to London and there weren’t any good coffee shops like there are today, but there was one shop called Flat White which was probably the first really good coffee shop I’ve ever visited. Their coffee tasted so much better than any other coffee I had ever had and I thought to myself that I needed to learn how to make coffee like that. In 2005 I started work at Coffee Union, which is where Bold Street Coffee is now, as a manager where I was learning how to make great coffee and learning how to run a shop.
How did Bold Street Coffee come about?
I didn’t have any cash to set up a coffee shop so me and my sister got a van and put a coffee machine in the back and started doing outdoor events. We started doing small events and ended up doing festivals like Glastonbury and more. After working events and saving up I looked at quite a few units but none of them came off. Then about three days before Christmas in 2009 the owners of this unit closed shop. As soon as I found out I got in touch with the landlord. I knew what it was like here and I knew there was loads of potential so I put an offer in. My aim was to create the best cup of coffee in Liverpool but a coffee shop is so much more than that. The atmosphere is so important, our staff playing the vinyl they like each day is so important, as is the food.
How has Bold Street Coffee evolved since you’ve been open?
Bold Street Coffee has definitely evolved but in some ways it hasn’t changed at all. I just always wanted to have the best coffee, nice food, good service and good music. So those things haven’t changed. But the way we make coffee has evolved and got better – standards have got higher and consistency better. That’s what we are always working on. We’ve also expanded the food menu over the years… the first day we ever sold bacon butties was manic and it has been the same ever since.
We noticed you now accept the Colu app where people can spend their Local Liverpool Pounds, how did that come about?
Colu just approached us and the idea seemed great. The initial phase for the customers is good to get people spending their local digital pounds with us but the long game is so much more exciting. The fact we will soon have the technology to use local pounds we receive to pay our suppliers is amazing – the whole idea of money just circulating the local economy rather than big banks is great. Also, the way the world is going, people are so used to these kind of apps and it’s nice to be a part of that technology.
What’s your favourite cup of coffee?
I personally love a flat white but we also do so many amazing filter coffees at our place that change regularly. It’s amazing how different they can all taste.
You must have seen Bold Street change a lot since you opened in 2010, what has it been like?
When we opened Liverpool ONE had also just opened and everyone was so worried about The Ropewalks and how it would affect it. There were a few empty units when we opened and there weren’t many places to go for food but soon after we opened, LEAF opened up and it led other people to open here too.
What is the secret to a good coffee and what makes Bold Street Coffee what it is?
It’s a little bit of everything. Buying really good coffee is the first thing, we’ve got a really good relationship with Hasbean with exclusive use of their small batch coffee where we might change coffee every month. Everything is perfectly measured and our equipment is so well taken care of. It may be boring to some but there is a real science to it. The key thing is that everyone else has brought something to this shop. It’s not me who comes up with all these ideas, it’s everyone else. And thats what makes it great.
Special thanks to Mike Gannon for the photography.