A short walk down Queen Street in the direction of the sea from Brighton Station sees you arrive at Taylor Street Baristas, set back from the street on a slightly elevated pavement. From the outset, it’s a very tempting place, the sort of coffee shop that makes you want to immediately step inside. I’d have gone in even if it (a) wasn’t on my list and (b) hadn’t been recommended by other Brighton coffee shops.
Inside, Taylor Street Baristas is just as welcoming as it appears from the street. However, for me the main draw is the lovely little garden at the back. Good coffee shops with decent gardens are in short supply, so it’s always a pleasure to find another one (the lucky folks of Brighton also have The Marwood: it’s not fair!).
It also helps that the coffee is excellent. Taylor Street Baristas offers the usual espresso-based menu, along with batch-brew filter and V60/Aeropress options. The house blend (Rogue Espresso) is from Union Hand-roasted and there are regularly-rotating guest espressos and guest filters. While I was there, the guest espresso was Has Bean’s Kicker blend, with a Has Bean Costa Rica on the batch-brew.
November 2015: Taylor Street Baristas has closed its iconic Brighton branch to concentrate on the stores in London, plus the chain’s expansion plans. I know that there were plans to sell it as a going concern, so watch this space, but for now it’s closed.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Although there are now nine Taylor Street Baristas coffee shops (seven in London), I believe that the Brighton branch was the first “proper” Taylor Street Baristas coffee shop. The very first was in Richmond, located inside another shop, while the original Brighton one was in a travel agents further down Queen Street at No 130.
Taylor Street Baristas is visually appealing. The pavement is about a metre above the level of the road, giving it some protection from the traffic, while the shop itself is set back from the pavement, again improving its looks and giving space for two (small) outside tables and an A-board, none of which impedes the pedestrian flow to and from the station.
Stepping inside, floor-to-ceiling windows fill the interior with light and provide some ideal people watching spaces either side of the door. To the left, a little bar runs the length of the window with a table behind it, while to the right is the first of a series of tables running the length of the shop.
Taylor Street Baristas is essentially rectangular in shape, but with the back left-hand corner cut out. The counter is built around this in an inverse L-shape, the cakes facing to the front and espresso machine and brew bar on the right. Right at the back, another pair of tables by a window look out onto Taylor Street Baristas’ best feature…
Coffee shops with great outdoor seating, preferably away from the traffic, are a rarity. Before I even got there, Taylor Street Baristas had been recommended by the staff at Nest, partly because “it’s lovely” and partly for the small garden at the back which I instantly fell in love with. It’s a delightful, shaded haven, away from the noise of the Queen Street traffic and with just the gentle hum of conversation emanating from the coffee shop to merge with the distant cries of the seagulls.
One nice touch is that it’s non-smoking (although that’s not such good news for smokers, who are relegated to seats out front on Queen Street). Another bonus is that the Wi-Fi signal reaches all the way to the garden. In many ways, it’s like a small, single-level version of the garden at the Boston Tea Party on Bristol’s Park Street which, for me, still sets the (very high) standard for coffee shop gardens.
I was well looked after by the staff, including manager, Gaby, and her predecessor, Chloe. I tried both the house and guest espressos, before heading out to the garden to enjoy the guest filter, a Kenya Kirimahiga AA, from James Gourmet Coffee. Both the espressos were beautifully made and very short. The house-blend (Rogue) was too bright for me, while the guest (Kicker) was more to my tastes, although still a little too bright. The filter was a different story though.
The head barista, Tarek, was only offering it as an Aeropress, saying that he felt it didn’t have enough body through the V60. Served in a large carafe, it looked a bit like tea on pouring, which set the alarm bells ringing. Once in the cup, it looked more coffee-like, but I needn’t have worried. It was a very fine, full-bodied coffee, smooth, and not too complex. It also developed as it cooled, becoming more bitter, but in a good way.
You can also see what I made of Taylor Street Barista’s Mayfair Branch.
|28 QUEEN STREET • BRIGHTON • BN1 3XA|
|www.taylor-st.com/locations/brighton||+44 (0) 1273 735 466|
|Monday||07:30 – 17:30||Seating||Tables, Bar, Benches (in garden)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 17:30||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 17:30||Service||Order at Counter|
|Thursday||07:30 – 20:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Friday||07:30 – 17:30||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Saturday||08:30 – 18:00||Power||No|
|Sunday||10:00 – 17:00||Mobile||3G, Voice|
|Chain||Regional||Visits||6th September 2013|
If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, check out the rest of Brighton and Hove’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Brighton & Hove.
You can also check out the other branches of Taylor Street Baristas that I’ve visited:
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