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Cardiff Coffee Shops Guide: Coffee #1

Coffee #1 Albany Road

One of the great things about Roath and Cathays is the abundance of coffee shops. Whether it's catching up with friends or working on essays, sometimes it's nice to get away from the uni and out of your student digs, and kick back with some good coffee and maybe some cake.

But which are the best Cardiff coffee shops in this area? Here’s the first in our guides to coffee shops around Cardiff. First up, Coffee #1!

Where is it?

Coffee #1 is firmly established in the heart of Roath, with two cafes just around the corner from each other. The one on Albany Road is slightly larger, while the other on Wellfield Road has a better conservatory area at the back for making the most of sunny weather, so take your pick. They’re about 15-20 minutes’ walk from the Students’ Union.

There are also cafes elsewhere around Cardiff, including Wood Street and Queen Street in the city centre.

What’s the feel of the place?

Although the Coffee #1 chain was recently bought by Brains, opening new stores on Queen Street and elsewhere, their shops still retain that quirky, independent feel.

Both stores have a Bookcrossing point, where you can pick up free books, or leave unwanted books for others to pick up. Looking through the books is a fun lucky-dip, and a nice social connection.

How is the coffee?

The coffee is really good – there’s the usual array of cappuccinos, lattes and the like, costing between £2-£3 depending on size and exact choice, as well as various syrups and stuff that you can enjoy, including mint, vanilla and gingerbread. A variety of smoothies are also on offer.

I recommend you check out the drip coffees, where you get a coffee holder and timer, and pop it on top of your mug to filter it out when the time is up – all rather fun, and it gives a different taste and strength to espresso-based coffee.

The mocha deluxe is a thing of beauty, with whipped cream and marshmallows – just don’t count the calories!

A loyalty card gets you a free drink after collecting 10 stamps.

What’s it like for socialising and studying?

Although it can be busy late afternoon and particularly at the weekend, it’s usually not a problem finding a spot for an extended period, whether to chat with friends, read a book or do some revision.

Of course, it’s good etiquette to restock on food and drink and/or give an extra tip if you’re camping out for a long stretch of time, but I've never been nagged by staff, who are friendly and helpful.

Coffee #1 doesn’t have Wi-Fi as a matter of policy, to discourage people from using the place as an office and encourage people to actually socialise instead. That could be helpful if you want to be free of the distraction of the Internet when revising (well, if you ignore your phone, anyway…) or be a pain if you need to look stuff up. There are a decent number of power sockets for laptops and the like.

Verdict

There are cheaper coffee shops closer to the university. But if you live nearby or don’t mind walking a few minutes further, it's a great place to grab a coffee and have a chat or get stuck in to your uni work.

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