It’s something of a UK week here on Build-Outs! After our jolly jaunt to Bungay a few days past, for this Build-Out we’re checking out Cornershop Coffee in Macclesfield, Cheshire, a bit south of Manchester. There is no relation (at least as far as we can tell) between this Cornershop and the band Cornershop who made “Brimful of Asha,” one of the great UK pop singles of the 1990s, but let’s not hold that against them. What Cornershop Coffee has to offer instead is a neighborhood cafe with a minimalist approach, and some very tasty coffee and pastries. We’ll also note that these are some of our very favorite photos in the 2023 Build-Outs series thus far, offering a tasteful and intentional look inside this cafe’s thoughtful design process. This is one to watch.
As told to Sprudge by Peter Milne.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Cornershop Coffee is a neighborhood coffee shop focused on quality and sustainability through a minimalist approach. We will offer a carefully curated drinks menu alongside top notch pastries and bread from local bakery, Early Bird Bakes.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Situated in a busy neighborhood of Macclesfield, the premises has for many years serviced the local community in the form of a corner shop. We hope to build and expand on the buildings history and provide a space for the community to gather, relax and enjoy. The space will be calming and aim to focus attention on the coffee experience, whilst maintaining a relaxed and approachable atmosphere. There are three big windows at the front allowing ample natural light to flood in. There will be plenty of seating, with the customer areas split between window seating and more sociable bench seating for larger groups.
What’s your approach to coffee?
Quality and simplicity drive everything at Cornershop. I was a brewer for many years before switching to coffee professionally. Starting out I wanted to brew the biggest, hoppiest most ridiculous beers that pushed the boundaries of flavor. This phase quickly wore off as I found myself yearning to perfect simple, delicate, and nuanced beers, which require greater precision and attention to detail—there’s nowhere to hide off flavors or faults in this style of brewing.
This way of thinking transfers over into my/Cornershop’s approach to coffee, where every step of the process is analyzed and continually improved to best express the coffees natural characteristics. We want to display the farmers and roasters hard work by brewing with care and consistency.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
La Marzooco Linea Classic – absolute work horse.
Mahlkönig E80S – love the flavor profile from these burrs, more sweetness in the cup.
EK43 – a classic, will use this for additional espresso options, decaf, and hand brew.
Weber Workshops Moonraker – the real first viable option for WDT in a cafe environment. Can’t wait to see the results.
As for coffee, excited to partner with Blossom Coffee Roasters who will provide the rotating seasonal house espresso, they go about things the right way.
How is your project considering sustainability?
Sustainability is at the core of everything we do. Most of the equipment purchased is used/second hand to minimize waste and the producers we have selected to work with focus heavily on sustainability and transparency.
We are also deliberate and considered in our choice of materials. Tim Denton, the studio behind our coffee counter and furniture, predominantly uses Birch, which is fast growing and abundant.
We then requested the help of Polly from Lande Design, who specializes in sustainable architectural and interior design. With her help we have chosen several unique materials. Hemspan Bio Wall, made from natural fibre hemp, will be used on some internal walls, Recork, a natural cork flooring will be used on areas of the floor and tiles with 40% recycled content will line the sink areas. There are also plans for the pendant lighting to be grown from mycelium, the roots of mushrooms!
Lastly, we have commissioned local potter Emma Witcome of Pen-y-bont Ceramics to design and manufacture bespoke mugs, cups and plates to be used in the shop. She uses locally sourced clay and traditional techniques to make a natural and unique product.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
Saturday, September 2nd, 2023
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Soph Hock – logo and font design
Tim Denton – coffee bar and furniture
Emma Witcome (Pen-y-bont Ceramics) – cups and plates
Lande Design – interior design
Oliver Townsend – photography
Blossom Coffee Roasters
Ealy Bird Bakes – bakes, pastries, and bread