2014 Awards – Special Award

The Southsea Coffee Co logo.Welcome to the penultimate Coffee Spot Awards Shortlist for 2014, the Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award, which was won last year by Southsea Coffee Co. This is a special award for those Coffee Spots which don’t quite fit into the other categories, but which nonetheless I absolutely love… It’s also a chance for me to recognise and reward those wonderful Coffee Spots that I come across during the year and which mean something special to me.

You can see the shortlist after the gallery.

  • Prufrock Coffee, legend of the London Coffee Scene.
  • Edinburgh's Fortitude, coffee shop, bean retailer and all-round lovely spot
  • Bean & Bud, coffee, tea and general excellence in Harrogate.
  • Workshop Coffee's new branch in Fitzrovia, very convenient for the BBC!
  • Machina Espresso, a truly wonderful spot in Edinburgh.
  • Where would we be without Four Corners Cafe and the lego table?
  • Strangers Coffee House, leading the way for Norwich's excellent coffee scene.
  • Fig + Sparrow, more than just a coffee shop in Manchester.
  • Huddersfield's lovely Coffee Kabin, great space, even better coffee.
  • No 35 Coffee House & Kitchen, a real gem tucked away in Dorchester.
Prufrock Coffee, legend of the London Coffee Scene.1 Edinburgh's Fortitude, coffee shop, bean retailer and all-round lovely spot2 Bean & Bud, coffee, tea and general excellence in Harrogate.3 Workshop Coffee's new branch in Fitzrovia, very convenient for the BBC!4 Machina Espresso, a truly wonderful spot in Edinburgh.5 Where would we be without Four Corners Cafe and the lego table?6 Strangers Coffee House, leading the way for Norwich's excellent coffee scene.7 Fig + Sparrow, more than just a coffee shop in Manchester.8 Huddersfield's lovely Coffee Kabin, great space, even better coffee.9 No 35 Coffee House & Kitchen, a real gem tucked away in Dorchester.10
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There are ten Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

Seen outside Prufrock Coffee. I'm not quite sure what it is, but I like it!

Prufrock Coffee

Prufrock Coffee on Clerkenwell’s Leather Lane is one of those legendary names in London coffee, with an equally legendary director in Gwilym Davies, along with Jeremy Challender and Klaus Kuhnke. Of course, if you don’t move in London coffee circles (I don’t really; I’m not convinced I’d recognise Gwilym if I fell over him!) then all this means nothing, leaving Prufrock to stand or fall by its success as a coffee shop, where the clear focus is on the coffee, from London’s Square Mile.

The Fortitude Logo proudly proclaiming its status as Espresso & Brew Bar combined with Coffee Merchant.

Fortitude

A self-titled espresso & brew bar as well as coffee merchant, Fortitude lives up to the billing and then some. It’s a lovely little spot, bringing a variety of local roasters and an equal number from further afield to the coffee-drinkers of Edinburgh.

The Bean & Bud logo: a coffee bean flanked by two tea buds, with the motto "Bean & Bud Real Coffee & Fine Tea since 2010"

Bean & Bud

The draw of Bean & Bud is the outstanding tea and coffee. While I can’t speak to the tea,the coffee rotates on a regular basis, changing both beans and roasters with frightening speed. Don’t come back expecting the same cup of coffee you had last week! Bean & Bud is also up for Best Filter Coffee.

The Workshop logo, a diamond inside a circle.

Workshop Coffee, Fitzrovia

The latest addition to the suddenly-expanding Workshop Coffee chain (now four and counting) is in fashionable Fitzrovia on Mortimer Street. Just around the corner from Broadcasting House, it stays open to the civilised hour of seven o’clock, meaning you’ll often find me in here before recordings at the BBC Radio Theatre. It helps that the food is excellent and the coffee lovely. And the counter-top is gorgeous!

The window Edinburgh's Machina Espresso, showing off some of the wares, including cups, grinders and espresso machines.

Machina Espresso

Machina Espresso might just be the perfect coffee shop. Set a little back on a wide pavement on Brougham Place in Edinburgh’s west end, it’s not a huge place, with just enough room for a few tables, a counter and multiple displays for coffee equipment. However, there’s an atmosphere about the place that just feels right. There’s multiple roasters on offer, with retail bags to take home, plus loads of kit on sale. Every time I come in here, I promise myself not to spend a fortune. And fail. Also nominated for the Best Espresso Award.

Four Corners Award Plaque from the 2014 London Coffee Stop Awards. Four Corners won the award for London's Coolest Coffee Shop on Social Media.

Four Corners Update/1st Birthday

Four Corners already has an award this year, a proper one at that. What, you mean I still have to nominate it? Go on then. Owner of the legendary lego table (winner of the non-existent Coffee Spot Best Table Award), Four Corners is as lovely as ever, the staff are as friendly, and Gary, the owner, is even more active on social media than I am, and that really is saying something!

Some superb latte-art by Alex of Strangers Coffee House in a classic-black cup with the Strangers five-sided logo.

Strangers Coffee House

It’s places like Stangers that the this Award was set up to recognise. Not only is it a lovely place (hence the nomination for the Coffee Spot Most Resembling a Coffee Shop Award), with excellent coffee (witness the Best Espresso shortlisting), it also has that special something that doesn’t really fit into any category (although it could easily have ended up on the Most Passionate About Coffee shortlist too!).

The Fig + Sparrow logo painted in white on the window, rain lashing down on the street outside.

Fig + Sparrow

Manchester’s Fig + Sparrow is half life-style shop, half café, but 100% excellent. Serving an espresso-based menu using beans from London’s Climpson and Sons, with guest filters on Aeropress and Chemex, it also does food. There’s a small but excellent range of cakes, an all-day breakfast menu, lunch, with various specials, sandwiches and a separate toast menu. You have to admire a place that has a separate toast menu.

The counter at the Coffee Kabin, cakes to the left, coffee straight ahead.

Coffee Kabin

Bringing speciality coffee to Huddersfield in a lovely setting, the Coffee Kabin is another, like Strangers Coffee House, that was made for this Award. Also nominated for the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award.

Thumbnail - No 35 Coffee House & Kitchen (DSC_6237h)

Number 35 Coffee House & Kitchen

Finally, we have the awesome No 35 in Dorchester, not somewhere where one would necessarily expect to find speciality coffee, but here it is and what coffee too! A gem amongst coffee shops, run by the very wonderful Toby, it is one of that rare breed where the focus is firmly on the bean. It could easily have made it onto the Most Passionate About Coffee shortlist, but instead made it onto the Best Espresso shortlist.


A special mention also needs to go to London’s Continental Stores and Leeds‘ Mrs Atha’s, both of which could have easily made it onto the shortlist this year.

And the winner is Machina Espresso
Runners-up: Number 35 Coffee House & Kitchen and Strangers Coffee House

Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2014.


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