So, coffee shops of York, we meet again. This time on a more off-centre location where the student traffic is high but the standards are by no means lower. Enter Bison coffee.
An independent coffee house serving Hasbean coffee with a side of Vintage store and live music events. It's safe to say I was ready to saddle up and check it out.
But after the initial excitement of rekindling my coffee adventures last week the question was "would I still get such a buzz from my next espresso excursion?" Of course I would! What kind of silly worry was that?! The REAL question was, would Bison Coffee rock my rodeo or would this little trip just be an average heifer in a plethoric herd of cafes? Well let's see..
Along a residential street, Bison stands out. Not in a showy off way, but in a 'oooh that looks like a cool place to try' kind of way. Inside is a very unique experience. It's got a small corner shop vibe going on. A practical sized cashier area just big enough for two servers ready for action as soon as you step in the door. It's window-side bar is ideal for grabbing a quick shot whilst you read a headline or two and a few minutes of people watching. But head to the back and the ambience changes completely. A darker, almost 'back in time in someone's house', environment is created with a few mismatched tables and chairs, candles and eclectic paintings. It's neither a 'cosy' coffee shop chill space nor a desk-like productivity hub, but a completely unique atmosphere entirely.
There's enough light to feel airy and clean, but just enough vintage decor and quirky furnishings to give the whole place character and charm.
How many coffee shops do you know where your beverage comes in a solid cereamic Menwith Hill memoriabilia mug?
Beverage à la Bison
So, the beverage choice at Bison is pretty standard. You've got all you're americano, espresso, flat-whitey, hot choccy classics but WOAH, plot twist, there are all brilliantly affordable prices?! Given it's out of town location they can afford to boast beautiful brews that don't blow your life savings. Perfect for students and perfect for a second visit...which I did very promptly a couple days after my first. Although I was disapponted there is no loyalty scheme, but for small independents this would be a difficult thing to get going.
My initial visit saw me fall prey to my go-to flat white, but alas the only milk alternative they offer is soy. I'm glad they provided that option, I guess I'm usually just spoiled for choice with many places offering the nut-milks. The drink itself was great. As strong as a flat white should be, with enough milk to smooth the caffeine hit. Soy milk creates a 'stiffer' foam and a brilliant new take on latte art- resembling the surface of a planet. On my second visit, an americano took my fancy and was so beautiful quality wise, but required additional hot water so as not to hit me too hard. My third trip (yes, the fact that I've already had 3 visits shows my appreciation), I tried an iced Americano which hit the spot as we utilised the lovely outdoor seating in the delightful May sunshine.
What made the drinks even better? The cups.
Much love for the cup-thetics.
Decor/environment: 5/10- Very unique, quirky and vintage, but not always ther most practical (low-capacity).
Menu: 6/10- your standard espresso-based beverages, great selection of teas, bagel goals (even for vegans!), only soy as milk alternative, some DELICIOUS looking Brown & Blond brownies plus other cakes/savoury bite options.
Drink quality: 8/10- Excellent quality beans crafted into quality coffee with milk frothed well. Juuuust a little to strong as an americano for me (I had the jitters) and I wasn't the biggest fan of the particular blend on that particular day- just a preference thing
Vibes: 8/10, You can't knock somewhere for having character. Bison simply ooooozes character. Not only that but you can choose your vibe- whether that be outside sunning, inside people watching or more snug hidden away in the back room. A really independent feel but maybe not as buzzing as I'm used to.
Staff:6.5/10, It's always hard to judge this one. Some days you might find more friendly staff, others you might have a more introverted barista. On all occasions I received a pleasant and prompt service from skilled knowledgeable baristas who were mostly willing to endure my Smalltalk.
So I may have thought I wouldn't experience the same buzz of coffee exploration following Spring Espresso on my first trip. But my desire to explore remained and it was definitely worth it. Like fingerprints, no two coffee trips are the same. Bison is totally quirky, totally unique and provides great quality drinks, price, service and location in a totally awesome experiential way.
Take a sip from the cup of my mind, and let the thoughts brew...