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North Tea Power Reviewed

Alex Horne puts North Tea Power's other brew to the test

Written by . Published on August 5th 2012.

North Tea Power Reviewed

THERE are whispers building in volume around Manchester that suggests a cafe tucked away on Tib Street sells the best coffee in the city. This follows the editor's article extolling the virtues of Caffeine & Co and Salvi's - click here.

The new claim is an odd one, considering the establishment in question is named North Tea Power. 

You know this coffee is good without pondering over the various levels and hidden passages within it, it stimulates the taste buds rather than the part of your brain that finds use for words like 'bergamot'.

You would be forgiven for thinking that there is a surplus of cafes in the Northern Quarter. North Tea Power, however, stands out by bypassing the tweeness of its competitors.

Opting for bare bones decor with recycled wood and school chairs, the cafe pulls off a distinctive style without being conceited. The mellifluous tones of folk music usher visitors into its spacious interior - maybe there's a bit of twee. 

North Tea PowerNorth Tea Power

Although eager to put the place’s coffee through its paces I thought it unfair to do so on an empty stomach. Good things come to those who wait and all that.

The lunchtime menu isn’t extensive but is constantly changing with a variety of sandwiches of the day on offer. 

After ordering the chorizo salami with chilli jam and cucumber (£3.80) from a soft spoken girl behind the counter, I sat outside and was served almost immediately. At first glance the bread looked roughly three inches too thick but my worries were alleviated after the first bite. 

The bread was fluffy and light allowing the chilli jam to suffuse through the sandwich but was substantial enough to support the well stuffed butty. The sauce had enough sweetness to live up to its claim to being a jam but never overpowered the mild but mouthwatering chilli. The mixture of chorizo and jam was not only well balanced but distinctive and made me wonder why I had never tried the combo before. 

My only issue was with the side salad of rocket which always offends me (it's not even thick enough to pick up with a fork) but that can hardly be held against North Tea Power. The sandwich was a delight and considering it comes from the Northern Quarter and costs under £4, I would consider it a bargain. 

The same cannot be said for the £1.65 can of lemonade. You can see why they don’t put the soft drink prices on display. 

Now, the moment of truth.

I confess I don’t entirely empathise with the almost religious devotion of the true coffee acolyte. Still on observing the intense focus on the face of the man making my cappuccino (£2.40), my expectations began to rise. 

Could this be the best coffee in Manchester?

It was bloody good.

I could almost taste the care put into making it. It was smoother than Marvin Gaye but without the bitter end and topped with milk foam so delectable that it could have been a dessert in itself. I could wax lyrical about the various chocolatey notes and honey undercurrents but I’d rather not. 

You know this coffee is good without pondering over the various levels and hidden passages within it. It stimulates the taste buds rather than the part of your brain that finds use for words like 'bergamot'. Basically, this is coffee that keeps on giving; it is rich, deep and damn fine. 

I don’t know if anyone is qualified to state definitively which coffee is the best in Manchester. In fact, that’s a lie, no one is qualified but if I were asked to recommend a coffee shop in Manchester I would, somewhat confusingly, point to 36 Tib Street, North Tea Power. 

So it's all hotting up beautifully. The editor's talking about Salvi's and Caffeine & Co, but I'm not letting him forget North Tea Power. Who needs Starbucks eh? Three different places, three different parts of the city, three great coffees.

You can follow Alex Horne on Twitter @AlH_HlA


North Tea Power, 36 Tib Street, City. M4 1LA. 0161 833 30732 Faulkner Street  Manchester, M1 4FH 

Rating: 14.5/20 

Coffee and food: 8/10 (really all for the coffee)
Service: 3/5
Ambience: 3.5/5

PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away.

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17 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Aaron CornishAugust 6th 2012.

The coffee is fantastic there. It is a blend from Hasbean, I buy it in bags from NTP. Sadly it is nowhere near as good when I make it at home

AnonymousAugust 6th 2012.

Well done for reviewing it nearly two years after it opened.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Lynda MoyoAugust 6th 2012.

Thanks Anonymous, but we did actually review North Tea Power when it first opened in 2010. This is actually our second review. We always like to go back you see and re-review. Nowt wrong with that. Things can change. Here is the link to the first review written by me www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/…/North-Tea-Power-reviewed…

GrumpyoldfuckerAugust 7th 2012.

well anon, stick that in yer pipe and smoke it!

AnonymousAugust 6th 2012.

One size only though in NTP to take out isn't it?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 7th 2012.

nope, same sizes take out or drink in

Burt CodeineAugust 7th 2012.

I think because most coffee shops of all shapes and sizes charge roughly the same for a 'standard' cappuccino, I think it's right that the purists are named and famed....we have a great track record with real ale in the city now, it's probably time our coffee palates grew up too.
One handsome Italian delhi with a posh, beautiful looking coffee machine doth not make a proper cappuccino/espresso...(salvi's and the Delhi in Didsbury take note...)

Sad to say, but London has these coffee houses in abundance. North Tea Power, Coffee Fix (in Gatley) and the excellent Robert's & Co in Mawdesley, Lancs (used to run the Royal Exchange Cafe pre 96 bomb) are a small handful.

Great Staff in NTP, but right about those soft drinks prices - unfortunately means we have to miss the place when in town with the kids.

lukeunabomberAugust 7th 2012.

by far the best coffee in manchester.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
DougAugust 8th 2012.

the reviewer is right, there is no definitive "best". What there is is a definitive worst - the chains definitely and countless indies (Katsouris to name one where the coffee is really bad). Thank goodness that there is a choice now. Until recently NTP was the ONLY place to get a decent coffee. I would walk from Deansgate to get one - that's a 20 minute round trip and now I can get a great coffee at Caffeine&Co as well.

As Burt says above, London has these places in abundance and I don't think anyone there is stressing about whether Prufrock has a marginally better pour over than Allpress. They are just relishing the fact that the don't have to go to fricking Costa.

Allez les Indies. All of them.

AnonymousAugust 8th 2012.

Prufrock is much better than Allpress.

Blue PeterAugust 7th 2012.

Burt, does an Italian Delhi sell pappadoms and pasta?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Burt CodeineAugust 8th 2012.

Oops...naughty 'H' from steps. Chicken Tikka Ravioli with a sprinking of freshly ground Garam Margarita...

BobAugust 7th 2012.

sending someone to review coffee who drinks it white?

DavidAugust 8th 2012.

Maybe you could try reviewing one of the MANY coffee shops that have opened in the last few years in Rusholme,and which unlike the city's other coffee shops open till after 1 am.They may be mostly Arabic,but surely they deserve to be considered too.

AnonAugust 8th 2012.

"Maybe you should try reviewing one of the many coffee shops in Rusholme" "Maybe you should have reviewed this 2 years ago" "You sent someone to review it that drinks it white??" "They only serve their drinks to go in one size" You bunch of whingy misery arses!!!! ALWAYS looking for a teeny detail to latch on to and whine about. Cheer the flip up!

AnonymousAugust 9th 2012.

Burt, 'naughty 'H' from steps'? Eh. Please explain.

AnonymousAugust 9th 2012.

Sorry Burt. It's been a long day. Just got it. Doh!

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