Our second shortlist in the 2014 Coffee Spot Awards is the “Best Takeaway Coffee” Award, which was won last year by Bean About Town, Kentish Town. It 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 (normally) 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 takeaway places out there, serving excellent coffee, so don’t be afraid to give them a try.
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are eight Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
Daily Goods London was originally just a counter operating inside Kinoko Cycles on London’s Golden Square. I’m pleased to say that Daily Goods now has its own shop which I’ve yet to visit, but nevertheless I still have a soft spot for the original, with Carter tucked away behind the counter. Serving some excellent Workshop coffee, he also dished out some wonderful Glazed & Confused doughnuts!
The Look Mum No Hands! pop-up under Hungerford Bridge on London’s South Bank seems to have become a summer fixture, pitching up this summer for a second year. Although it has a substantial seating area, the coffee is predominately takeaway (and served in takeaway cups), with the Red Brick blend from London’s Square Mile served on a cut-down coffee menu. Also nominated for the Best Outdoor Seating Award.
Technically I’m cheating by including Beany Green’s Paddington branch in the shortlist, since it’s a fully-fledged coffee shop and hence doesn’t qualify. However, they are my awards and I can cheat if I want to! The reason it’s here is because it’s my regular Coffee Spot when I’m in my office near Paddington. As such, I’m always in there, ordering a flat white to take back to the office. Also nominated for the Happiest Staff and Most Popular Awards.
This branch of Beany Green really does qualify since it’s set in a container! On the South Bank, at the foot of Hungerford Bridge, it’s a permanent, all-year-round operation serving the same excellent coffee from The Roasting Party as Beany Green, Paddington. Also nominated for the Best Outdoor Seating Award.
Another Coffee Spot which has moved onto bigger and better premises, I came across Walthamstow’s Wood Street Coffee in its second incarnation. Back then it was sharing space with a couple of other businesses on Orford Road, serving Climpson and Sons coffee from an espresso machine by the door. Since then its gone on to its own shop elsewhere in Walthamstow. Also nominated for the Smallest Coffee Spot Award.
What is it with the takeaway spots I visited in 2014 shutting up shop? In fairness, Piccadilly Grind, part of the ever-expanding Grind chain, always was a pop-up, but even so, it will be missed. Also nominated for the Best Coffee Spot Near a Railway Station and Smallest Coffee Spot Awards.
Fortunately for those who want excellent coffee at tube stations, Bica is still going strong. Tucked away in Westbourne Park tube station on the Circle and Hammersmith & City Lines, it’s a small spot, occupying what could have been an old booking office or kiosk.The coffee is from east London roasters Nude Espresso, while the milk is properly steamed, resulting in a great texture. Also nominated for the Best Coffee Spot Near a Railway Station and Smallest Coffee Spot Awards.
The latest addition to Reading’s speciality coffee scene is a coffee cart with big ambitions. Tamp Culture is also a roaster, roasting all its beans and offering a regularly-rotating selection of single-origin beans from a Piaggio Ape at the entrance to the Oracle centre. As well as the usual espresso-based options, Tamp also offers Aeropress and pour-over filter options. Also nominated for Best Roaster/Retailer Award.
A special mention also needs to go to one of 2012’s Coffee Spots, the Bean About Town Coffee Cart on the South Bank, which despite the arrival of Beany Green is still one of my go to places around Waterloo station. Also worthy of a mention are Kaffeine, providing excellent takeaway coffee at Lord’s and New York’s I Am Coffee, still serving superb coffee to either stand in or take away!
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2014.
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