Nick BirssNEWCASTLE’S burgeoning small, independent business scene has welcomed another arrival in the form of newly-opened Laneway & Co coffee shop on High Bridge.

24-year-old Nick Birss has set up his first venture back home in the North East, after working for and being inspired by a friend who runs coffee shops in Melbourne, Australia. The name ‘Laneway & Co’ is a nod towards Australian coffee culture, with the best coffee spots in the city found on small side streets or in alleyways known as ‘laneways’.

Laneway & Co is one of a growing aficionado community of cafés that puts pure quality coffee at the heart of everything it does, taking as much time on the art of sourcing, selecting and serving coffee as some of the world’s top sommeliers do with wine.

Nick said: “They say, once you have a really top quality coffee, you never go back! You only have to travel to big cities around the world to see how important coffee culture has become to people’s daily lives, and that high quality doesn’t need to mean high prices.

“The independent coffee scene in Newcastle is growing fast, and the stalwarts have been very supportive of my start-up on High Bridge since we opened our doors in June.

“Within days, the likes of the guys from Pink Lane, Flat Caps and baristas from the Ouseburn Coffee Company came in to show their support – we all have the same passion and are on a common mission to change how customers consume coffee, and that is good for all of us.”

Laneway & Co serves the Allpress Redchurch blend and single origin coffee from London roasters Square Mile that change seasonally to showcase the world’s best growing regions as far afield as Malawi and Sumatra. With its single-serve hand-crafted pour over filter options being the most popular choice for true coffee connoisseurs.

Nick added: “Although we are all about the coffee, we’ve started to serve lunches with deals including homemade sandwiches, fresh savoury bites and cakes. The reaction has been great so far – we get everyone from those grabbing something between meetings to those who like to linger with their laptop or a magazine to enjoy the coffee shop experience throughout the afternoon. We open up at 8am to capture trade passing through as people make their way to work and are now opening on aSunday too.

“Our location on High Bridge is ideal. It’s a real gem in the city, a thriving home to other independent and unique businesses, and being underneath Motel One means we see a set of new faces each day.”

Nick is from Sunderland originally, leaving home to study journalism at Brunel University London before travelling Australia for three years and learning his barista craft at a friend’s coffee company.

Only weeks into his Newcastle business, he is planning to open other Laneway & Co cafés across the North East, with Durham next on his wish list.

For more information, follow Laneway & Co on Twitter @lanewayandco and find them situated at17-19 High Bridge, Newcastle.