Exeter, Devon UK • Feb 27, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Lifestyle In The Spotlight: The Tiny Tasting Room

In The Spotlight: The Tiny Tasting Room

Eloise Grainger, Print Sport Editor, puts the spotlight on The Tiny Tasting Room, a cosy coffee shop nestled in the busy streets of Exeter.
6 mins read
Written by
Image: Eloise Grainger

Calling all independent coffee shop lovers: if you’re adventurous spirit is searching for the cutest, quaintest, yet student friendly coffee shop in Exeter, then look no further. The Tiny Tasting Room is where you need to be.

Located on Martins Lane in the heart of the city, the coffee shop is hidden away in the alley that feeds high street shoppers onto the green grass of the cathedral. Nestled in between these tourist magnets is a small but perfect independent store. Part of the South West Coffee Company, it has two other outlets in Exeter; the original ‘The Tasting Room’ on Topsham Road, and, probably more well-known to students in the EX4 region, ‘The Undergrad’. If you are a sucker for ‘The Undergrad’ as many are with its dog friendly and student friendly vibe, then The Tiny Tasting Room will provide you with the same charm, just in a more intimate setting – it also saves you the trek to Bampfylde street which no one can be bothered to do if you have a study session to be getting on with.  

This café is better attuned to little coffee dates with a friend or solo study sessions as it is on the smaller side. Upstairs seating provides a cosy atmosphere, with the cakes and pastries on display downstairs upon entry. Fun fact: all the cakes and the artwork in the café are locally sourced by bakers and artists from Exeter. If you wish for an authentic feel to your café experiences and want to push the boat out from the regular Pret lunches or Starbucks’ excessively priced iced coffees, then The Tiny Tasting Room can grant you your wishes. Uni students will love the great prices, with a freshly prepared toastie stuffed full of delicious fillings and a nutritious blended fruit smoothie only for £10 (just a festive drink at Starbucks would cost about the same, so this is fantastic value for money)! The food needs a special mention due to the sheer variety for such a small shop: smoothies, shakes, cakes and pastries, hot drinks, toasties and baguettes – you’re spoilt for choice! I must admit it took me a good ten minutes to actually decide what I wanted such was the selection. The friendly and helpful staff are great at offering recommendations if you get stuck like me. They provide the classics that will continue to be adored, such as a cheese and tomato toastie or Victoria sponge cake, but they also try their hand at different combinations that you can fall in love with. My friend tried a caramelised onion and goats’ cheese toastie – something Costa definitely wouldn’t have on offer (I definitively avoid Costa’s bean toastie). I’m not exaggerating when I say the strawberry and banana smoothie was the best I have ever had, clearly made with care and the flavours balanced perfectly against each other. It may still be winter, but nothing will stop me having a summer beverage. Its healthy anyway! 

Image: Eloise Grainger

There are so many vegan and gluten free options, which is super handy for anyone looking to carry on their Veganuary goals into February. The company takes pride on their sustainable approach to running the café and sourcing their coffee. Their wholesale coffee supplier aims to give customers great tasting coffee that is environmentally conscious, and this is how the SWCC brands itself. The Tiny Tasting Company, and indeed the two other outlets, are sustainability driven, according to their website, and they prioritise using Fairtrade and sustainable products throughout their supply chain. For them, not taking this approach is out of the question. The university is known for making bold statements on the climate emergency and being at the forefront of cutting-edge research to combat the crisis, so it is amazing that local businesses also recognise the gravity of this pressing world issue.  

Now, rather than pressing matters, let’s talk about pressing coffee. The company’s partners, the Sunday Collab, support local communities and farmers where the coffee is sourced, so you can be rest assured that the coffee you drink is both ethical and eco-friendly. What sets this independent store apart from others is that it is a great study space if you are longing for a café environment that isn’t overwhelming. Being tucked away on the alley creates a quiet oasis from the hustle and bustle of the high street. The cute and simple décor adds to this calming environment. Fairy lights are draped around the beams and stair banisters, and plants are potted everywhere.         

Due to its small setting, it is probably best to go if you are flexible with time as you might have to wait a couple minutes for a table to become free, but it is well worth the wait, especially if you want to avoid the extortionate prices in mainstream coffee shops and the overpriced Market Place on campus.  

This welcoming student and Exeter resident coffee shop is a hidden gem on Martins Lane and should be at the top of your ‘to try’ list for Exeter independent stores. It has all the necessities of mainstream shops, yet a closer attention to detail which leads to a much more wholesome experience. Independent stores are dotted everywhere around Exeter and are well worth your time exploring, but if one should get the priority, it should be The Tiny Tasting Room.

Calling all independent coffee shop lovers: if you’re adventurous spirit is searching for the cutest, quaintest, yet student friendly coffee shop in Exeter, then look no further. The Tiny Tasting Room is where you need to be.

Located on Martins Lane in the heart of the city, the coffee shop is hidden away in the alley that feeds high street shoppers onto the green grass of the cathedral. Nestled in between these tourist magnets is a small but perfect independent store. Part of the South West Coffee Company, it has two other outlets in Exeter; the original ‘The Tasting Room’ on Topsham Road, and, probably more well-known to students in the EX4 region, ‘The Undergrad’. If you are a sucker for ‘The Undergrad’ as many are with its dog friendly and student friendly vibe, then The Tiny Tasting Room will provide you with the same charm, just in a more intimate setting – it also saves you the trek to Bampfylde street which no one can be bothered to do if you have a study session to be getting on with.  

If you are a sucker for ‘The Undergrad’ as many are with its dog friendly and student friendly vibe, then The Tiny Tasting Room will provide you with the same charm, just in a more intimate setting

This café is better attuned to little coffee dates with a friend or solo study sessions as it is on the smaller side. Upstairs seating provides a cosy atmosphere, with the cakes and pastries on display downstairs upon entry. Fun fact: all the cakes and the artwork in the café are locally sourced by bakers and artists from Exeter. If you wish for an authentic feel to your café experiences and want to push the boat out from the regular Pret lunches or Starbucks’ excessively priced iced coffees, then The Tiny Tasting Room can grant you your wishes. Uni students will love the great prices, with a freshly prepared toastie stuffed full of delicious fillings and a nutritious blended fruit smoothie only for £10 (just a festive drink at Starbucks would cost about the same, so this is fantastic value for money)! The food needs a special mention due to the sheer variety for such a small shop: smoothies, shakes, cakes and pastries, hot drinks, toasties and baguettes – you’re spoilt for choice! I must admit it took me a good ten minutes to actually decide what I wanted such was the selection. The friendly and helpful staff are great at offering recommendations if you get stuck like me. They provide the classics that will continue to be adored, such as a cheese and tomato toastie or Victoria sponge cake, but they also try their hand at different combinations that you can fall in love with. My friend tried a caramelised onion and goats’ cheese toastie – something Costa definitely wouldn’t have on offer (I definitively avoid Costa’s bean toastie). I’m not exaggerating when I say the strawberry and banana smoothie was the best I have ever had, clearly made with care and the flavours balanced perfectly against each other. It may still be winter, but nothing will stop me having a summer beverage. It’s healthy anyway! 

There are so many vegan and gluten free options, which is super handy for anyone looking to carry on their Veganuary goals into February. The company takes pride in their sustainable approach to running the café and sourcing their coffee. Their wholesale coffee supplier aims to give customers great tasting coffee that is environmentally conscious, and this is how the SWCC brands itself. The Tiny Tasting Company, and indeed the two other outlets, are sustainability driven, according to their website, and they prioritise using Fairtrade and sustainable products throughout their supply chain. For them, not taking this approach is out of the question. The university is known for making bold statements on the climate emergency and being at the forefront of cutting-edge research to combat the crisis, so it is amazing that local businesses also recognise the gravity of this pressing world issue. 

Now, rather than pressing matters, let’s talk about pressing coffee. The company’s partners, the Sunday Collab, support local communities and farmers where the coffee is sourced, so you can be rest assured that the coffee you drink is both ethical and eco-friendly. What sets this independent store apart from others is that it is a great study space if you are longing for a café environment that isn’t overwhelming. Being tucked away on the alley creates a quiet oasis from the hustle and bustle of the high street. The cute and simple décor adds to this calming environment. Fairy lights are draped around the beams and stair banisters, and plants are potted everywhere.         

Due to its small setting, it is probably best to go if you are flexible with time as you might have to wait a couple minutes for a table to become free, but it is well worth the wait, especially if you want to avoid the extortionate prices in mainstream coffee shops and the overpriced Market Place on campus.  

This welcoming student and Exeter resident coffee shop is a hidden gem on Martins Lane and should be at the top of your ‘to try’ list for Exeter independent stores. It has all the necessities of mainstream shops, yet a closer attention to detail which leads to a much more wholesome experience. Independent stores are dotted everywhere around Exeter and are well worth your time exploring, but if one should get priority, it should be The Tiny Tasting Room.

You may also like

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign Up for Our Newsletter