2013 Awards – Best Takeaway Coffee

The Bean About Town Citroen Van at the Real Food Market on the South BankAnother new award this year, the 2013 Coffee Spot Award for “Best Takeaway Coffee” recognises those places which, braving the elements, still produce an excellent cup of coffee. This includes coffee carts, coffee stalls and those Coffee Spots which are so small that they only serve takeaway coffee. It doesn’t include those Coffee Spots which offer takeaway coffee along with the regular sit-in option.

In fairness, I don’t feature a lot of takeaway places on the Coffee Spot, partly because, for me, a lot of what makes a good Coffee Spot is the atmosphere. This can be hard to achieve at a stall when you’re serving your coffee in a paper cup (another bugbear of mine; if I know I’m going to be visiting a takeaway place, I try to take my own cup with me!). However, there are plenty of great places out there, serving excellent coffee, so one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try to cover more takeaway Coffee Spots in 2014.

You can see the shortlist after the gallery.

  • Guerra Coffee, Guildford's first (and so far only) pop-up cafe
  • Another pop-up, Look Mum No Hands on the South Bank
  • Bean About Town's outpost at Kentish Town
  • Rave Coffee Cafe serving great takeaway coffee from the roastery in Cirencester
  • Goodge St Espresso serving great takeaway coffee on Goodge Street (where else?)
Guerra Coffee, Guildford's first (and so far only) pop-up cafe1 Another pop-up, Look Mum No Hands on the South Bank2 Bean About Town's outpost at Kentish Town3 Rave Coffee Cafe serving great takeaway coffee from the roastery in Cirencester4 Goodge St Espresso serving great takeaway coffee on Goodge Street (where else?)5
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There are five Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

Guerra Coffee's first pop-up is in Guildford, on Friary Street, just at the bottom of the High StreetGuerra Coffee, Guildford

Guildford’s first, and so far only, pop-up coffee shop, Guerra turned up in March this year. It didn’t last too long, but created something of a stir, serving some fine Has Bean coffee from an espresso machine in a photography studio.

Sadly the studio closed in April and Guerra went with it. However, owner James Evans is hopeful that he will be able to open a new pop-up sometime soon, putting into practice the lessons learnt from Guerra.

An espresso in one of the lovely Look Mum No Hands mugs. Sadly if you want one of these for real, you'll need to go to the Old Street store, not the pop-up on the South Bank.Look Mum No Hands South Bank Pop-up

Another pop-up, the outpost of Shoreditch favourites Look Mum No Hands turned up for the summer on the South Bank under Hungerford Bridge in London. Serving excellent coffee to all comers, it proved to be an instant hit. Hopefully it will be back in 2014!

A latte, complete with latte art by Rory, in a Bean About Town takeaway cup from the Kentish Town cart.Bean About Town, Kentish Town

It wouldn’t be the Coffee Spot without an appearance from Bean About Town. I first came across them in 2012 at the South Bank Centre where the delightful Claire nagged me to come to see her at Kentish Town, where she worked during the week. So I did, but managed to arrive after she’d finished her shift, getting served by the equally wonderful Rory, who made me this lovely flat white.

Rave Coffee, Speciality Coffee RoastersRave Coffee Café

Serving excellent takeaway coffee from a smart cafe at the front of the roastery in Cirencester, we have Rave Coffee. It’s strictly takeaway, unless you are visiting the roastery, in which case you get a proper cup! Rave is also in the running for the Most Unlikely Place to find a Coffee Spot Award.

Goodge Street Espresso's Famous Manual TypewriterGoodge St Espresso

Goodge St Espresso, pleasingly on Goodge Street in London, opened its doors for the first time this summer. Technically a coffee shop, it’s so small and narrow that it serves takeaway only, using beans from Nude Espresso.

Goodge St Espresso is also in the running for the “Smallest Coffee Spot” Award.

A special mention needs to go to one of 2012’s Coffee Spots, the Bean About Town Coffee Cart on the South Bank. If it was in 2013, it would probably win since this is the place I’m most likely to go (and I’ve been known to make detours to visit) when I want takeaway coffee in and around Waterloo station.

And the winner is Bean About Town, Kentish Town
Runners-up: Rave Coffee CaféGoodge St Espresso

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


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