Coffee Spot Awards 2013

An espresso, in a classic white cup on a white saucer on a tableMerry Christmas/Happy New Year to all my followers old and new! I hope you had a time and weren’t flooded out of house and home or had to spend the holidays without power (sadly a common occurrence where I live this year).

So, as 2013 comes to an end and we get 2014 underway, I release that it’s been the first complete year of Brian’s Coffee Spot. It’s time to look back on 2013 with the second Annual Brian’s Coffee Spot Awards. Last year I had 11 Awards, but this year, with so many Coffee Spots out there, I’ve increased it to 20. The shortlists for all 20 Awards were announced between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve, with the winners announced on New Year’s Day.

Anyway, thank you to everyone who has visited the Coffee Spot, followed me on Twitter, liked my Facebook page or +1ed me on Google+. While I do this for the love of it, it means a lot to me that so many of you take the time to read and comment on my writing. And help spread the love for good coffee.

You can see who won last year’s Awards in the gallery.

  • The Boston Tea Party, Park Street, Bristol: Where It All Began
  • The Abriachan  Cafe and Campsite: Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot
  • Coffee Bean Central: Coffee Shop Most Resembling a Coffee Shop
  • Bar Italia: Best Espresso
  • The Exploding Bakery: Smallest Coffee Spot
  • Brew Lab Coffee: Most Passionate About Coffee
  • Cafe Boscanova: Happiest Staff
  • Coffee Charisma: Best Coffee Bean Retailer
  • Bea's of Bloomsbury: Best Cake
  • Bar des Arts: winner of Brian's Coffee Spot Special Award
  • And finally... Cafe Boscanova: Most Popular Coffee Spot
The Boston Tea Party, Park Street, Bristol: Where It All Began1 The Abriachan  Cafe and Campsite: Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot2 Coffee Bean Central: Coffee Shop Most Resembling a Coffee Shop3 Bar Italia: Best Espresso4 The Exploding Bakery: Smallest Coffee Spot5 Brew Lab Coffee: Most Passionate About Coffee6 Cafe Boscanova: Happiest Staff7 Coffee Charisma: Best Coffee Bean Retailer8 Bea's of Bloomsbury: Best Cake9 Bar des Arts: winner of Brian's Coffee Spot Special Award10 And finally... Cafe Boscanova: Most Popular Coffee Spot11
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An elite panel of judges (me) gathered in a secret location (my house) and spent literally minutes considering the following awards. The shortlists were published between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve, with the winners announced on New Year’s Day.

However, before I introduce the awards, a few statistics about 2013. I published 122 articles on the Coffee Spot (not including this one!). This included:

  • 97 Coffee Spots
  • 5 Saturday Spots
  • 3 Saturday Shorts
  • 2 Coffee Spot Updates
  • 15 Saturday Supplements

As I write, the Coffee Spot had over 45,000 views this year, or an average of 127 per day (up from 34 per day in 2012). Just under 25,000 of you have visited the Coffee Spot from 110 countries, with 81% of you coming from the UK.

So, without further ado, let’s see what the award categories are this year. You can click on the name of the Award to see the shortlist and, now it’s New Year’s Day, the winners and runners-up are also given for each Award.

Where It All Began (2012 Winner: Boston Tea Party (Park Street))

The first ever Coffee Spot Award, this recognises those special places which played a big part in my personal coffee journey. These are Coffee Spots which inspired me or in some other way defined my coffee experiences.

Winner: Tinderbox, Islington
Runners-up: Café de FloreCharlie’s Sandwich Shoppe

Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot (2012 Winner: Abriachan Campsite and Café)

Let’s face it, go to big cities such as London, Edinburgh and Bristol and you expect to find good Coffee Spots. However, good Coffee Spots are everywhere, and some of them are in very unexpected places… This can either be geographically or in the Coffee Spot’s setting.

Winner: Attendant
Runners-up: Flat Caps Coffee, Rave Coffee Café

Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot (New for 2013)

A lot of the best Coffee Spots are those that are firmly rooted in their neighbourhoods, places that serve and reflect their local communities. This award is for them.

Winner: Café Mila
Runners-up: Coffee Fix, The Dry Goods Store

Coffee Spot Most Resembling a Coffee Shop (2012 Winner: Coffee Bean Central)

I know. What a silly title for an award. But think about it. We all have that ideal of what a coffee shop should be, even if part of the joy is that great Coffee Spots come in all shapes and sizes. However, this award is for those Coffee Spots which look, well, just how you imagine they should look!

Winner: Kahawa Cafe
Runners-up: Taylor Street Baristas, Brighton, Taylor Street Baristas, Mayfair

Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station (New for 2013)

When you’re desperate for good coffee, stuck in a railway station is rarely the best place to be. But what if there was a great Coffee Spot just outside the station or a few minutes’ walk away and you didn’t know about it? Then this award is for you…

Winner: Pink Lane Coffee
Runners-up: Yorks Bakery Cafe, 6/8 Kafé

Best Overseas Coffee Spot (New for 2013)

2013 saw the Coffee Spot head outside of mainland Great Britain for the first time. Although the Coffee Spot is still dominated by England, Scotland and Wales, this award celebrates the best from the rest of the world (well, France, USA and Canada at the moment!).

Winner: Pikolo Espresso Bar
Runners-up: Black Market, Résonance!

Best Espresso (2012 Winner: Bar Italia)

When it comes down to it, I tend to judge a coffee spot by the quality of its espresso. Of course, this is entirely subjective and down to taste. I would never knock a place that made a good espresso just because it wasn’t to my taste. This award is for those Coffee Spots which served me the best and most memorable espressos of 2013.

Winner: Vagabond N7
Runners-up: The Borough Barista, South Coast Roast

Best Filter Coffee (New for 2013)

One of the revelations of 2013 for me was that filter coffee wasn’t that over-brewed, stewed muck that bad coffee chains serve out of urns. It’s actually an amazing, delicate drink that has opened my eyes to a whole new world of coffee. So, this award is to celebrate those Coffee Spots which helped me on my journey of discovery.

Winner: Flat Caps Coffee
Runners-up: Store Street Espresso, Workhouse Coffee, King Street

Best Takeaway Coffee (New for 2013)

Takeaway coffee is tricky. Often the elements are against you and the surroundings might not be the nicest, so this award recognises those Coffee Spots who produce outstanding coffee against the odds.

Winner: Bean About Town, Kentish Town
Runners-up: Rave Coffee Café, Goodge St Espresso

Best Coffee Bean Retailer (2012 Winner: Coffee Charisma)

While the Coffee Spot is mostly about places to have coffee, I drink the majority of my coffee at home, so those wonderful people who provide me with my coffee beans need a mention.

Winner: Coffee Charisma (again!)
Runners-up: About Coffee, Rave Coffee Roasters

Happiest Staff (2012 Winner: Café Boscanova)

I think that staff are probably the most over-looked part of any Coffee Spot. Good staff can make a place and bad staff, no matter how great the coffee and wonderful the location, can kill a place. Everywhere that features in the Coffee Spot has great staff, but these were exceptional.

Winner: White Mulberries
Runners-up: North Tea PowerCafé Olimpico

Best Saturday Supplement (New for 2013)

2013 was the year I launched the Saturday Supplement, a place where I could write about coffee and events without writing about specific places. This award recognises the best of them (note that Saturday Supplements where it’s just me writing about stuff aren’t included; this award is for the things I am writing about, not me!).

Winner: Caffeine Magazine
Runners-up: London Coffee Festival 2013, Caffé Culture Show 2013

Smallest Coffee Spot (2012 Winner: Exploding Bakery)

I have a special place in my heart for small coffee spots and 2013 was full of them. Note that this is all subjective – I did not get my tape measure out at any point!

Winner: I Am Coffee
Runners-up: Caffeine & Co, Goodge St Espresso

Nicest Physical Space (New for 2013)

For me, a Coffee Spot is as much about atmosphere, layout and overall feel as it is about the coffee. This award celebrates those Coffee Spots which there’s a pure joy in just sitting there, soaking it all in.

Winner: The Plan
Runners-up: Boston Tea Party, WorcesterCoffee & Co

Best Cake (2012 Winner: Bea’s of Bloomsbury)

It’s not all about the coffee you know (despite what the tag line says). What would a cup of coffee be without a decent slice of cake to go with it? So, cake plays a major part in the Coffee Spot and this award celebrates the Coffee Spots which excel in the cake department.

Winner: Hart’s Bakery
Runners-up: Foxcroft & Ginger, M1lk

Best Breakfast (New for 2013)

Along with cake, breakfast has a special place in my heart, so-much-so that I started the Saturday Spot so that I could write about Coffee Spots where the coffee wasn’t up to much, but where the breakfasts were to die for!

Winner: The Bristolian
Runners-up: Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe, Quay Ingredient

Best Cheese Toastie (New for 2013)

This award might only be for 2013, but since I visited somewhere claiming to have the world’s best cheese toastie, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass…

Winner: 9Bar Coffee
Runners-up: Le Lapin Pressé, Hart’s Bakery

Most Passionate About Coffee (2012 Winner: Brew Lab)

It’s not just about the coffee, it’s also about people who love and care about coffee. In fact, everyone who has been covered in the Coffee Spot is passionate about coffee and one of the great things is how much love there is out there. However, those shortlisted for this award stand out from the crowd.

Winner: Workhouse Coffee, King Street
Runners-up: Didn’t You Do Well, Full Court Press

Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award (2012 Winner: Bar des Arts)

This is a special award for those Coffee Spots which don’t quite fit into the other categories, but which nonetheless I absolutely love…

Winner: Southsea Coffee Co
Runners-up: Cotswold Artisan Coffee, Everbean

Most Popular (2012 Winner: Café Boscanova)

And finally, this is the only award not decided by me. It’s the award that will be given to the Coffee Spot which received the greatest number of views (according to JetPack) in the calendar year 2013.

Winner: Look Mum No Hands South Bank Pop-up
Runners-up: Small St Espresso, Didn’t You Do Well


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13 thoughts on “Coffee Spot Awards 2013

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