Early morning flights are a daunting prospect – even more so when the rush to the airport strips one off their regular first-of-the-day cup of coffee. That prospect gets even worse when one skims through the list of airport dinners open at 5am, which often do not promise much in the way of a decent brew.

Mocha at Broderick's
Mocha at Broderick’s

But when I eventually crossed the long, winding and tiresome security at Manchester Airport on a particularly busy Tuesday pre-dawn morning, I was reasonably happy to jump onto the first cafe I saw to get some coffee and breakfast sorted – and that cafe turned out to be Broderick’s.

It was my first visit, but I had a vague feeling the brand was a chain. After some research later on I learnt the company produces vending machines – and then I remembered seeing these coffee booths all over the shop. Now, the Manchester Airport cafe looked like the real deal – even though it was placed centrally in the passageway between security and all duty free shops inside. Regardless, I thought there would be no harm done in trying it out – especially that I was desperate for caffeine, and kept my expectations low anyway. I committed to standing in another long-ish queue of tired people (which kept on growing thereafter), served by equally tired-looking baristas.

Surprisingly for the amount of people moving around the place, there was plenty of free seating, so once I received my simple order of a mocha, I unhurriedly took a stool by a breakfast-bar table. I approached with a smile, and my expectations uplifted – I watched the barista who prepared the drink and could tell she knew what she was doing, with the result plain to see in form of a latte art on top.

I took my time before sipping it, connecting to WiFi and logging onto my email – a whole 2min delay which was long enough to set me off salivating; so without further ado, I dug in. The texture of the drink was smooth, the temperature just right, and it was rather sweet – but not overwhelmingly so. The only thing at fault was slight bitterness which I would attribute to the type of cocoa powder they might have been using – which was not striking enough to spoil it for me. I drank it with outmost appreciation – but it was enough to leave me without wanting more.

Overall, the Broderick’s experience finally woke me up and set me off to a decent start – I just wish you could get the same quality coffee from a vending machine.

Mocha: £2.60

Verdict justification: Really good coffee considering the venue and circumstances, although missing a spark

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