2013 Awards – Where It All Began

A latte with a fern-leaf motif in the milkThe first shortlist for the 2013 Coffee Spot Awards is the “Where It All Began” Award. This was won in 2012 by Boston Tea Party (Park Street). This award recognises those special places which played a big part in my personal coffee journey, Coffee Spots which inspired me or in some other way defined my coffee experiences.

This might be the last year I run this award since I’ve now visited/written about most of the formative places from my past. I might run it again for 2014 if I make it to Rome! However, this year it’s an interesting collection, with the majority of the shortlist coming from my trip to the USA in March this year.

You can see the shortlist after the gallery.

  • One of Caffe Vittoria's many old espresso machines
  • Caffe Roma in New York City's Little Italy
  • Cafe de Flore, a fixture of Paris' Left Bank cafe scene
  • Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe, the place for breakfast in Boston
  • Tinderbox, Islington, still one of my all-time favourites
One of Caffe Vittoria's many old espresso machines1 Caffe Roma in New York City's Little Italy2 Cafe de Flore, a fixture of Paris' Left Bank cafe scene3 Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe, the place for breakfast in Boston4 Tinderbox, Islington, still one of my all-time favourites5
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There are five Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

One of many such pieces in Caffe Vittoria on Hanover StreetCaffé Vittoria

I’ve been going to Caffé Vittoria for years as part of my regular trips to Boston. Located in Boston’s Italian North End, it’s a traditional Italian café that wouldn’t be out of place in Rome.

Caffé Vittoria also gets a mention in the “Coffee Spot Most Resembling a Coffee Shop” Award.

 

A mirror from the wall of Caffe Roma, New York City, with the slogan "Caffe Roma, Gelatic & Spumoni"Caffé Roma

Another classic Italian café, but of a different sort. Caffé Roma is in New York City’s Little Italy. It’s a lovely spot that I’ve been going to for several years. Could also have featured in Best Cake”, “Neighbourhood” and “Best Overseas Coffee Spot” Awards. Also in the Coffee Spot Calendar for 2014.

Classic Cafe de Flore cup, with green writing on white china, from 2009.Café de Flore

Whenever I go to Paris, I try to fit in a visit to Café de Flore, the quintessential French café that’s been in business for over 100 years. The coffee is good, but really I go there for the atmosphere.  Café de Flore also gets a mention in the “Coffee Spot Most Resembling a Coffee Shop” Award.

Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe sign hangs proudly over the sidewalk on Columbus AvenueCharlie’s Sandwich Shoppe

Another Boston entry, Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe is the reason I started the Saturday Spot. Don’t go for the coffee, but do go for the amazing breakfasts. It’s my go-to spot when in Boston and has been feeding the good folks of the South End from the same spot for 86 years! Also up for the “Best Breakfast” Award.

Tinderbox's entrance on the lower level of the N1 Centre, Islington.Tinderbox, Islington

The only UK entry, Tinderbox was one of the first places that confirmed my love of cafés. I first came across it at its old site in Islington and was heart-broken when I turned up one year and it was gone! Heart-break turned to delight when I discovered that it had just moved down the street to the N1 Centre. A lovely, quirky place, it’s still one of my all-time favourites.

And the winner is Tinderbox, Islington!
Runners-up: Café de FloreCharlie’s Sandwich Shoppe

You can find all 20 of the 2013 Coffee Spot Awards here.


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