My friend and fellow blogger, Sera McDaid, always tweets about her favourite coffee spot, Ground Espresso Bar. She lives up North Coast way, where the family owned business first sprouted, and until now I hadn't had a chance to taste the delights she always raved about.
Manager Dermott invited me up to their Next branch in Belfastcity centre to see what makes Ground different to the chains of coffee places elsewhere in our towns.
The second floor cafe is spacious, bright and even has a little play section for kids who need a break from being dragged round shops. I had a white mocha & little Michael chose a strawberry milkshake & Aero muffin.
The coffee is proper coffee. Not the sickly sweet, sugar-laden stuff you'd get in certain places. Their new exclusive Purple Dragon blend is selling very well, and after one mocha I felt like I was buzzing on caffeine- something that never happens usually! It was smooth and delicious.
The tea that Ground Espresso serve is another local product, Suki Tea, made here in Belfast. They pride themselves on ethical, local sourcing of food, drinks and even the wood used for the interior design.
The traybakes are hefty and rich. Dermott kindly gave us some to nibble on our train journey home too. They launch their Christmas drinks soon, which includes a Snowball- a white hot chocolate with coconut- which sounds like my dream drink. So why not mark Ground Espresso as your shopping break spot when you are in the city for Christmas shopping?