Caffeine and Cake: Faculty, Birmingham
1. An inherent mental or physical power.
Synonyms: Power, capability, capacity, facility, potential, potentiality, propensity, wherewithal, means, preparedness
2. An aptitude for doing something.
Synonyms: Ability, proficiency, competence, capability, potential, capacity, facility, readiness
Coffee and cake. Cake and coffee. A winning combo, but one that somehow fails to deliver on more than the odd occasion. Not so at Faculty, Birmingham.
‘A small, quality focused tea and coffee shop’ that they are; Faculty may be the spot I’ll miss the most as my latest stint in Birmingham comes to a close. Given my curiosity to see the city in the aftermath and completion of it’s huge construction projects, it is the likely excuse to drag unsuspecting friends back.
Good food, coffee and a decent bar are what pull teams (or at least those I reside in) through living and working away from home. Armed with my favourite Australian coffee snob’s recommendations and comforted by the Michelin fierce reputation, expectations were high for Birmingham.
Moments from New Street Station, stumbling off the train and towards Birmingham’s centre, Faculty beckons you in. Contemporary in its exacting coffee pour, it should be mildly out of place in the old-fashioned Piccadilly Arcade, but rather the quaint location serves to smooth the edges around the sharp industrial lines of its hipster furnishings and achingly cool A-board signage.
Stepping inside, the interior does not disappoint. Warm and inviting baristas expertly juggle coffee orders and manoeuvre tasty morsels into tempting piles while answering inane questions from customers like myself. Unassuming design touches - contrived if they weren’t so earnest - make it quietly known that this is a family-owned business with heart. Each teaspoon is elaborately unique and highly steal-able (I refrained), water is served in milk bottles with many sourced for their retro breakfast cereal advertisements and various paraphernalia including homemade Anzac biscuits pay homage to Australian coffee culture.
Faculty was my first ‘proper’ coffee in Birmingham and where I chose to wile away my last Brummy afternoon. Fitting then, that as I lingered over my flat white, the baristas on duty Francesco and Alex could be faintly heard quibbling as to why the Gabriela Munzoz Colombian bean espresso didn’t taste quite as delicious today when the machine settings were unchanged. Perhaps it was the inclement weather?
14 Piccadilly Arcade