Coffee Spots come in all shapes and sizes, but for some reason I have a real soft spot for small Coffee Spots. Last year the Award was won, somewhat controversially, by Exeter’s Exploding Bakery (controversial since I went by the floor area dedicated to coffee rather than the size of the whole place, which included an open-plan kitchen).
This year I have once again been blessed by some very small Coffee Spots serving some very fine coffee. As in 2012, this Award is entirely subjective: no Coffee Spots were measured during the judging process!
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are eight Coffee Spots on the shortlist (or should that be small list?) this year, all listed in order of publication.
Wellington Coffee, in the heart of Edinburgh, got things off to a good start in the Smallest Coffee Spot stakes. Not really large enough to swing a cat, it still manages to serve up some excellent espresso-based coffee, along with some tasty-looking scones.
The appropriately-named Small Street Espresso is both small AND on Bristol’s Small Street. It’s also beautiful and serves some superb coffee and wonderful cake. It’s also one of my all-time favourite Coffee Spots. And a tiny bit too big… Then again, I did say the award was subjective…
Another contender from Edinburgh, this time on Castle Street. If anything, Castello is even smaller than Wellington and yet manages to pack even more in, adding soup to the mix (though thankfully not to the coffee!).
I was convinced that Manchester’s Caffeine Cube (as I like to refer to it) was a sure-fire winner of the Smallest Coffee Spot Award when I visited in January. I couldn’t conceive of anything smaller. Despite the size, it serves excellent coffee, cake and some lovely sandwiches, plus soup to warm the soul on cold and rainy Manchester days (in fairness, it wasn’t raining that day; it was snowing!).
My conviction that Caffeine & Co would win lasted until I stepped into I Am Coffee in New York City. Here was a place to challenge my preconceptions: taller than it is both wide and long, I Am Coffee is amazing and serves some equally amazing coffee.
I Am Coffee is also on the shortlist for the “Most Passionate About Coffee” Award.
Another tiny place in New York City, just above Little Italy, I loved Gimme! Coffee from the start. It might be tiny, but it was packed with customers while I was there, all wanting the lovely coffee which could be taken away or had in with proper cups (although “in” meant sitting outside on a bench on Mott Street). All the beans are roasted in Gimme! Coffee’s own roastery in upstate New York.
Brewsters N7 is a recent addition to the ever-expanding coffee scene in Islington. Another tiny place, it somewhat blows its chances by having just enough space to put in a little seating bar running the length of the wall opposite the counter. Despite the size, Brewsters has food, cake and plenty of coffee options.
Goodge St Espresso is really small. No, I mean it. So small that I can simultaneously put my hands against both walls. And that’s while standing against one of them! Long, but very thin, with the counter right at the back, it’s a bit like having a coffee shop in a corridor.
Goodge St Espresso is also in the running for the “Best Takeaway Coffee” Award.
You can find all 20 of the 2013 Coffee Spot Awards here.
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