Ever since Hudson’s went belly up (see previous post/s on this), in my quest for independent tea/coffee shops, I came across a café opposite the Mailbox in Birmingham. It’s name is Café Blend. I frequented it in unison with The 90 Day Café (I’ve promised to write a eulogy on its demise which I would do in die course). CB is rather a rather pleasant place to go to. Very modern, leather seats, whitewash walls, etc.
As per usual when trying out cafés and tea houses, I ordered tea and a Victoria Sandwich (where available) to test out the place. Unfortunately, I did not like the tea (which happens to be Teapigs brand and if you call your tea pigs then that does not bode well…) and the Sandwich was rather unsatisfactory.
However, CB’s main forte is, obviously, not in its tea and cakes, it is in its massive and wide range of blends of coffees (hence its name) which really would impress you. Boasting 150 or more blends, there is the traditional coffees and there are the special ones blended with all manner of flavours and liqueurs.
One of my favourites is the Turtle Mocha Frappe (don’t worry, no reptilia were harmed in the making of it) which consisted of white mocha with caramel, espresso, steamed milk blended with ice then topped with whipped cream, caramel syrup and crushed biscuit.
Now if that doesn’t make your mouth salivate I don’t know what does. And yes, they make blended frappes and they are very smooth and not lumpy. This includes a coffee frappe:
For the hot type, there’s That’s Amore which consists of blended espresso, cinnamon, raspberry and chocolate topped with whipped cream.
Hot chocolate can be had plain or blended with almond or other syrups to taste.
They also do what is called ‘red esspresso’ which is tea rather than coffee based.
There is, of course, a lot more that I haven’t shown here and I’ve only tried around 10 or 12 of the total drinks that are on offer. It would certainly be worth it to go and try some yourself. Ignore the normal mochas and cappas, go and be daring and have some of the unique blends. They even do coffee based Martinis…
The service is good, though a bit slow sometimes. The facilities, as far as the gentlemen’s is concerned, could do with some attention (the broken tap that was promised to be fixed hasn’t yet been done and the toilet seat has/had broken off!)
Prices are reasonable: basic blends are around £2.85-3.10, more if you add alcohol.
They also have some special event nights from time to time, sometimes with live music, etc. The crowd I would say is rather hip.