6 Royal Building, Victoria St, Derby, DE1 1ES, UK

Festive Fizz: Brunch at Elements Tea & Coffee House, Derby

THIS POST FEATURES A GIFTED EXPERIENCE PROVIDED BY ELEMENTS TEA AND COFFEE HOUSE, DERBY
In the second half of the eighteenth century, a group of intellectuals specialising in everything from botany to poetry began frequenting coffeehouses in the Midlands. The Midlands Enlightenment movement, as they became known, had previously met in alehouses to exchange ideas but (unsurprisingly, given that beer was on offer!) these venues were rowdy places, not best suited to intellectual discussions. On the other hand, coffeehouses provided a more sedate location where members of the movement could engage in serious conversation.

At the centre of the Midlands movement was a man named Erasmus Darwin. While you may not have heard of him, his grandson Charles Darwin is sure to ring a bell! The Enlightenment group may be long gone in the modern day Midlands, but its impact is still being felt in the coffeehouses of the region. Venues such as Elements Tea and Coffee House on Victoria Street have been inspired by the area's rich history to create welcoming conversation spaces to bring together people and ideas in a similar way.

Elements tea coffee house Derby brunch menu review

Introducing Elements

The Midlands Enlightenment group certainly has a history worth celebrating - the ideas born in this movement are thought to have influenced some of England's greatest romantic poets, including William Wordsworth himself. However, there are a few aspects that we are glad they've left in the past. For example, eighteenth century coffee houses were usually places for men and men alone. Women weren't typically permitted to join in with the intellectual discourse. But as their modern day equivalent, Elements is turning this on its head, creating a truly inclusive space where everyone is welcome.

With their extensive hot drinks menu and food offering, Elements is committed to catering to all tastes and dietary requirements. Whether you're a carnivore, herbivore, or somewhere in between, you're sure to find something to tickle your fancy. They source their products locally too, with vegan treats coming from Clemie's Vegan Cakes in Nottingham and fresh fruit and veggies being purchased from Derby Market. The coffee house is super transparent about its suppliers, with many of them being listed on their menu. This was a brilliant approach that gave you real confidence in where your food was coming from!

Elements tea coffee house Derby venue
Elements tea coffee house Derby

Community vibes

As well as making sure that everyone who enters their coffee house can leave with a full belly, Elements prides itself on being a vibrant part of wider life in the city of Derby. One of the first things that you notice as you enter the venue is the art on the walls. Most of this comes from local artists who Elements have supported either through purchasing their art pieces or by exhibiting them for others to buy. The coffee house also promotes local makers such as the fantastically talented Derby-based artist Sarah Perkins, giving their guests the opportunity to buy smaller items such as cards and macramé pieces alongside their morning coffee.

The community vibes don't end here. Just one of the events that Elements hosts for members of the local community is the monthly Mental Health Cafe. The Cafe provides a safe space for people to enjoy a hot drink, tuck in to some cake and discuss mental health in an accessible, respectful and confidential venue. Another similar initiative are the sober events that Elements organises alongside the Derby Recovery Community. The Elements staff clear away the entire bar before these alcohol-free events to create a supportive environment for all attendees. Elements' commitment to the local area is really heartwarming to see!

Elements tea coffee house Derby local artists
Elements tea coffee house Derby waffles granola vegetarian menu

Food and drink

There's no doubt that Elements is a real force for good in the local community, but how does the food stand up? I was invited along to sample their Fizz Brunch, which comprises a brunch dish of your choice and a glass of Prosecco (or beer if you prefer!) for just £8. I found plenty to tempt me on their menu. A high proportion of their dishes were vegetarian friendly and many could be made vegan too. After consulting the brunch menu, I opted for the Scandinavian Waffles (£3.50). These are served with your choice of sour cream and homemade fruit compote; bacon, poached egg and maple syrup; or pecans, sour cream and maple syrup. I went for the last option.

Waffles like this are a Sunday morning institution in both Norway and Sweden and the Elements' offering did their countries proud! The waffles were thin but pillowy soft, with just enough syrup to give a hint of sweetness without being sickly. The contrast with the rich, tart sour cream was delightful. My only suggestion for improvement would be for the kitchen to crush up the pecans rather than placing them whole on the top of the waffle. While the aesthetic appeal of their current presentation is undeniable, having the pecans in smaller pieces would've allowed them to be spread out a bit more across the plate so that they could be enjoyed in every mouthful!

My boyfriend who joined me for brunch picked the Granola Bowl (£3.50). This comprised toasted granola in maple syrup, served with Greek yoghurt, honey, and iced berries. The portion size was very generous and the yoghurt was of high quality - it was really thick and creamy. The choice to include iced berries was an excellent one as they were juicy and full of flavour. We washed our brunches down with a glass of Prosecco each. Brunch is served at Elements from 8.30am - 3pm every day and I would highly recommend it!

Elements tea coffee house Derby Scandinavian waffles
Elements tea coffee house Derby granola

Service & atmosphere

Stephanie and Pete, the masterminds behind Elements, have to be applauded for all of their hard work. Independent coffee houses often lose out to big businesses like Starbucks or Costa but this pair have created something really special in their venue. Elements is warm, welcoming and feels genuinely homely. All of the staff were lovely and couldn't do enough for you. Pete was as active behind the bar as any of his employees, which was wonderful to see. Elements celebrated their first birthday in Derby this November and based on my experience, I'm sure they'll be around for many more years to come!

Elements tea coffee house Derby fizz brunch prosecco

Other festive fun in Derby

Once you’ve brunched to your heart’s content at Elements, you’ll find plenty of festive activities in Derby to help you carry on the Christmas cheer. Here are just a few reasons to visit the city over the holiday season:

#LetsMAKEChristmas19

If you haven't finished your Christmas shopping yet and are still on the lookout for a one-of-a-kind gift, the craft sale at the Museum and Art Gallery shop is a must visit. You'll be able to find everything from jewellery and cards to ceramics and gin, all locally made! Find the sale at Derby Museum and Art Gallery until 24th December.

Glacier Pop-Up Bar

Another great place to enjoy a tipple this Christmas is Derby's very own pop-up bar. Stroll down the ice effect tunnel leading to a fabulously festive frosty bar. The drinks menu features a delectable Sloe Gin Fizz, so I'll definitely be heading along! Find the Bar at intuDerby until 31st December.

A Christmas Carol

Regular readers of my blog are know that I'm a huge fan of Derby Theatre - I've had the pleasure of watching numerous top-quality performances there in the past. Top of my festive to-watch list is their adaptation of the beloved Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol. Find it at Derby Theatre until 2nd January.

Will you be treating yourself to a special brunch over the festive period? What are your favourite festive brunch dishes? Do you stick to a trusty avo on toast, or do you mix things up? Let me know in the comments!

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