Flat Caps Coffee Ridley place – Is this the best in Newcastle?


IMG_0077.JPGThursday 25th November we took a trip to flat caps coffee on Ridley place. It’s slightly bizarre going into a shop selling dream catchers and fairy things looking for coffee, but the in the search for good coffee these things have to be done. Just inside the Elula shop you go down a spiral staircase and it transforms into a coffee shop. The place a quirky with each table named but is really welcoming

As usual we were reviewing a flat white, but as Joe the owner knows is stuff and likes to serve coffee in a variety of ways so we tried a syphon coffee as well, we tried the Escocia which is a coffee from El Salvador by Has Bean Coffee. Some of us are not really into black coffee but the syphon coffee was really enjoyable. Smooth and crisp and almost tea like, we will definitely try one of these again

IMG_0245.JPGSo for the flat white we tried Nourega again from El Salvador by Has Bean Coffee, the scores were

Taste 8.5/10
Flavour 8/10
Aroma 5.5/9
Temperature 3/3
Appearance (design on top) 6/6
Consistency 3/3
Smoothness 8.5/9

Total 42.5/50

IMG_0060.PNGSo this gets 5 beans on our scale and nudges into the lead by 1.25 points

This is a sweet floral coffee with a hint of bitterness also a nutty earthy flavour. Obviously Joe Freshly ground this and it had the perfect amount of milk and temperature.

So all there is to say about the flat white from Flat Caps, is when you have an award winning barista who is passionate about coffee you know you are going to get a good cup. You go in expecting a Bentley and you come out knowing you have been giving a Bentley.

Seek out Flat Caps Coffee when you get a chance it’s worth it.


Geek retreat @ Grainger street Newcastle


IMG_0074.JPGThursday 20th November we visited geek retreat on Grainger street. This was not on our original list as it was not open when coffee ninja first started, but after walking passed it a few times we thought we would give it a go. This place serves coffee, limited food and snacks, this is also a shop that sells comics and games and if you want there is plenty of space to borrow a game and play while you have your drink. As usual we were reviewing a flat white, which was a slightly expensive £2.90

Taste 4.25/10
Flavour 4.75/10
Aroma 2.75/9
Temperature 2/3
Appearance (design on top) 0.5/6
Consistency 1.5/3
Smoothness 3/9

Total 18.25/50

So this gets 2 beans on our scale

IMG_0057.PNGOverall we thought that the flat white was too milky and the milk was not really frothed and way too big a cup for a flat white. The coffee itself did seem to have some some flavour, but there was too much milk to really appreciate this. It was inoffensive but we thought it was slightly expensive. It possible that some of the staff in the shop or more geek than barista and with a bit training their coffee making skills may improve.

IMG_0075.JPGThe best way would be to compare this is to the game monopoly, the coffee is definitely not the Mayfair, more like Pall mall but paying the Mayfair prices, so probably not the best value for what you get.

If you are a bit of a geek who likes comics or games this place is worth a visit, but based on our visit don’t go out the way for the coffee


Coffee Ninja the ratings so far


Based on the bean and £ criteria recently added I thought I would summarise the places that we have visited and reviewed so far for flat whites


9bar Coffee Grey street 41.25 out of 50
Lola’s Coffee @ central station 40 out of 50
Olive & Bean 40 out of 50
Central Bean Coffee House Newcastle 39.5 out of 50
Pumphrey’s @ Grainger market 39.5 out of 50


Harvest canteen – OCC Jesmond 37.5 out of 50


Starbucks Neville street 26 out of 50
Filmore & Union @ central station 25.5 out of 50
Costa @ central station 25.25 out of 50
Caffe Nero express @ central station 24.5 out of 50

Olive & Bean £1.69
Lola’s Coffee @ central station £2.00

Caffe Nero express @ central station £2.25
Central Bean Coffee House Newcastle £2.25

Pumphreys @ Grainger market £2.30
Costa @ central station £2.40
Filmore & Union @ central station £2.50

9Bar Coffee £2.70

The ratings for the coffee and price


Ok so this is not a review but it is how we will be adding to our ratings going forward.

Obviously we be will rating the coffee using beans rather than stars. It will use the totals that we give in our review

So these are the ratings for the coffee are below

0 – 9 This is barely coffee, instant may be better

10 – 19 This is below average, there is better coffee out there

20 – 29 This is average, this will give you the coffee fix if your passing and is ok but don’t go out your way

30 – 39 This is a decent coffee, seek out this place if you get a chance

40 – 50 This is an excellent coffee, go out your way to try this place and you won’t be disappointed

We have also rated the coffee based on price, the ratings are based on the prices in the Newcastle area.

£ – Less than £2.00 The cheapest you will find
££ – £2.01 – £2.25 Good value
£££ – £2.26 – £2.50 Average
££££ – £2.51 – £2.75 Slightly expensive
£££££ – More than £2.76 Most expensive you will find

You can use the bean rating in conjunction with the £ rating to give an overall judgement of the coffee. So for example if the price is £2.80 but has a rating of 5 beans is still probably worth a try

Costa @ central station newcastle



7th November we took a quick trip to costa at central station, the place itself is pretty nice as most of the concessions in the station are, now that the station has been refurbished, the staff are friendly and are getting into the Christmas spirit even at the start of November

Scores for the flat white can be found below

Taste 6/10
Flavour 5.5/10
Aroma 3.25/9
Temperature 1.25/3
Appearance 2.25/6
Consistency 2/3
Smoothness 5/9

Total 25.25/50

This was a mild coffee that was slightly sweet and citrus, a bit milky and slightly too hot. Too large a portion for a flat white.

Overall as all the national chains are proving a palatable coffee that does not really set the world alight, can only be compared to a reliable mid-range family car. It will do the job and get you here without turning any heads, but next time you change your car you will probably go for a different model

9Bar coffee Grey street Newcastle – the bar has been raised



Slight delay in getting this review but on 3rd November we visited 9 bar on Grey street next door to the theatre royal. The shop is quirky with what looks old school furniture it had a nice area outside to sit as well, but not really the weather for it at this time of year. On the day we went I think that they were serving ‘Bernard’ by colour coffee. I think that this is the blend that they serve on a regular basis.

As we have done with all of the other places so far we tried and scored a flat white so the results are below

Taste 8.75/10
Flavour 8.25/10
Aroma 7.25/9
Temperature 2.5/3
Appearance (design on top) 4.75/6
Consistency 2.75/3
Smoothness 7/9

Total 41.25/50

As you can see from the score above 9 bar has set the new bench mark for flat white is Newcastle. It Perfect amount of milk. Good intense coffee flavour balanced with some sweetness and floral notes some of us also thought that the coffee had a toffee/caramel flavour

We will definitely come back and we also love the custom 9bar cups

There are no lines or comparisons needed for this coffee, this is simply a great coffee that you must go and try when you are in Newcastle


Pumphreys @ Grainer market Newcastle



Wednesday 29th we visited Pumphrey’s coffee in the Grainer market Newcastle. Pumphrey’s has been around in Newcastle in one guise or another for over 200 years and they also roast their own beans at a dedicated facility in Blaydon just across the Tyne. The shop in Newcastle has two sides, one where you can buy loose beans or tea and other brewing related paraphernalia. The other side is a coffee bar with a few stools where you you can enjoy your favourite brew.

The staff were friendly and were very efficient at serving us 5 flat whites. The latte art on top was amazing possibly the best so far it was precise and each cup was perfect

So here are the results

Taste 8.25/10
Flavour 6.75/10
Aroma 6.25/9
Temperature 2.5/3
Appearance (design on top) 6/6
Consistency 2.5/3
Smoothness/creme 7.25/9

Total 39.5/40

We thought the coffee we had was very flavoursome. It was nutty, earthy and slightly chocolatey, a couple if us thought there may have been a touch too much milk which masked some of the more subtle flavours, but overall it was a great flat white that is up there with the best so far

Overall to summarise this coffee is like a warm sunny autumn afternoon. Walking along crunching the leaves and basking in the suns rays before winter sets in. Very satisfying and something you are not going to get every day