Award-winning barista opens new coffee shop on Cemetery Road

Husk opened this week, taking over from Eleven coffee shop, and we sat down with owners Jack Maloney, who won first prize at this year’s Sheffield Coffee Festival Northern Filter Championships, and his partner and illustrator, Sophie Graham, to find out more about their new venture

You might well recognise Jack, as he’s probably at some point served you your morning brew, having worked for over ten years in some of the city’s best-known coffee houses, including Albies, Gaard and 200 Degrees.

Following his award-winning success earlier this year, when the opportunity arose to take his passion for coffee to the next level by opening his own shop, Jack and partner Sophie, who is also no stranger to the barista life, jumped at the chance to put their own stamp on the already established Eleven coffee shop, just behind the Waitrose on Cemetery Road.

Husk coffee shop

“It’s a really good combo for opening a coffee shop,” explains Jack, “Sophie’s done all the design, the menu design, the general look and aesthetic of the place, and then I came in with the coffee side of things. I’m really passionate about coffee, so it’s a really good mix. The only thing we weren’t good at was DIY!”

“YouTube was definitely the saviour,” says Sophie, “I think we’ve made it look really nice. Obviously, it used to be a coffee shop before, so the difficulty was changing it enough where customers that used to come in would know something was different. It used to have a lot of pine wood in here, so we’ve darkened that up a little bit, made it a bit cosier and given it some autumnal, Scandi vibes.”

The welcoming space, full of plants, throws and comfy seating has been meticulously thought through, inspired mainly by the things that Jack and Sophie like best about coffee shops, right down to the concrete surfaces created by Sheffield-based Conplex, and BenPMA’s hand painted sign that falls down the side of the window.

They have also taken influence from Asian coffee shops, both with the interior design and the drinks menu, which unusually for a UK coffee shop includes boba tea. The drinks menu is split into ‘Coffee’ and ‘Not coffee’, with a focus on speciality coffees, which, in order to avoid becoming ‘unapproachable’, they compliment with their house coffee from Sheffield-based brewers Cuppers Choice.

Husk coffee shop

On the food side of things, they are offering an initial, small menu with three flat breads, a grilled cheese and a couple of sides, which will be expanded to include more flavours and options in the coming months.

Jack said: “The exciting thing for us is we’re making our own dough. We’re doing it all from scratch. It’s kind of similar to a Turkish flatbread. So not too thin, a little bit thicker. But it goes really well with the flavours of the fillings. We’ve got a Lebanese chickpea that we put a lot of effort into and that’s really, really tasty.

“We don’t come from a cooking or baking background, so we almost put more effort into it. We worked with a friend who’s a really good vegan chef and we’re going to be adding to the menu with some breakfasts and some more fun things.”

Husk coffee shop

With rising costs for everyone, it might seem an unusual time to take the first steps into a new business venture, but Jack and Sophie are confident that they have the right mix of quality and value.

“We’re trying to keep it affordable because costs are obviously a big thing for people at the moment,” says Jack, “so we want to make it accessible for everyone and fairly priced.

“This road is a bit of a strange one, because it’s just off London Road, but a lot of people use it to walk through. I find with Sheffield; a lot of people will walk to the other side of Sheffield to get a good coffee.

“I’ve worked in a fair amount of places in Sheffield. That’s helped because people know of me and Sophie. The general thing that people will say to me is, ‘I know you from somewhere.’ I’m like, yeah, I’ve served you coffee a lot. I don’t know your name, but I know what you order!

“It’s a really nice community vibe in Sheffield and because I’m so involved in the community, it’s really nice to get great support for the business.”

Husk coffee shop

The business officially opened on Tuesday 20th September and Jack and Sophie have been pleased with the start to life in their new roles.

“We’ve been busier than expected.” says Jack, “it’s been really good. We’ve got quite a clear idea of where we want to go. We really want to perfect this and make it good. I think our idea for opening a coffee shop was that we always wanted to be one shop, and independent. We wanted to always keep that vibe.

Sophie added: “We also want people to know it’s a really inclusive, welcoming place, where they can tell us their dietary requirements and we’ll accommodate them. Somewhere they can stay as long as they like on their laptops and enjoy the space.”

Husk is open Monday  – Friday 8am – 5pm, and Saturday 9am – 5pm. For more info, head over to their Insta

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