If the wind is blowing off the river you smell the coffee as soon as you turn off Catherine Street into Back Canning Street. Follow the cobbled lane a couple of hundred yards and the rich smell grows stronger. Turn to the left and you’re in the little back alley, Hope Way. It’s here, if you look carefully, that you find the source of those glorious smells: Bellew & Co. They import coffee from all over the world, and roast it on the premises.
Bellew and Co dates back to 1953 when Mr Edward Bellew was in charge. Mark Bainbridge took over the business in 1983. The coffee is roasted and ground and then packaged and distributed from the small premises in Hope Way. Even though it’s a wholesale company that supplies many of the restaurants and cafés in the city (such as The Quarter, The London Carriage Works, 60 Hope Street and Café 53 on Bold Street), staff are always happy to weigh out a pound or two for personal callers. This is where we get our espresso (Milano blend is excellent) and Kenyan Peaberry.
This is an interesting quarter: just around the corner from Bellews, the KIND Seed Centre brings together a range of energy saving measures in a building designed specifically to teach Liverpool children about the issues of sustainability, energy conservation and healthy eating. KIND (Kids in Need and Distress) is a local charity which has just Celebrated 25 years of providing activities and support for children and their families in Liverpool.
The KIND centre is built on the plot of the old Canning city farm. The innovative building is highly insulated and its only external wall faces due south to obtain the maximum use of passive solar heat gain. Solar thermal panels combined with air-to-air heat recovery provide hot water for the underfloor heating and also for basins and sinks. All rainwater is harvested in an underground tank and re-used for flushing toilets. All washbasin taps are controlled by electronic switches. All lighting is low energy and room switching uses automatic proximity switches which sense whether rooms are occupied or not.
The centre grows its own produce which is then cooked on site with the help of the children and eaten inside the light and airy interior or outside in the garden patio, on the first floor balcony or in the roof garden. Full height sliding doors open up the ground and first floors to the garden and balcony.