Brighton‘s Bond Street Coffee is the latest venture for old friend of the Coffee Spot, Horsham Coffee Roaster. It was set up towards the end of 2014 with co-owner and manager, Chris, who I first met a couple of years ago when he worked at Coffee@33. I’ve also known Bradley, the man behind Horsham Coffee Roaster, for a similar length of time, so I confess to being slightly biased. However, several people, including the barista at my first stop of the day, Café Coho, and Mike, the manager of The Flying Coffee Bean in Guildford, told me good things about Bond Street Coffee, so I suspect it’s more than just bias on my part.
Bond Street, unsurprisingly, exclusively serves Horsham Coffee Roaster coffee, highlighting and showcasing Bradley’s output. There are two espresso and two filter options, all single-origins, which rotate on a regular basis. While I was there, there was an Ethiopian on both espresso and filter, with a Peruvian as the other espresso option, and a Rwandan on filter, all of which were washed (for the uninitiated, washing is the processing method, whereby the coffee bean is extracted from the coffee cherry). There’s also decaf, although it’s less well advertised.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
In Brighton, a city full of excellent coffee shops, Bond Street Coffee cuts a striking figure. Pleasingly, it’s also on Bond Street (which you can’t take for granted; see, for example, Taylor Street Baristas on Queens Road). The first thing that catches the eye are the window seats on either side of the recessed door. There are also two benches outside, one for each window.
The window seats are a clever use of space. To the left, a wooden chair utilises a packing case as a coffee table, while to the right, there’s a small, two-person bench seat with a low table. In the store proper there’s a three-person bar to the left, with a four-person table opposite. Next comes the counter, with the cakes and till facing the window on a slight angle. The counter runs along the right-hand wall, a corridor to its left leading to the back of the store, wide enough space that people waiting for coffee or ordering aren’t in the way.
The remaining seating is at the back, up two steps. There are two tables on left, and opposite them, against the wall, a lovely sofa and a pair of armchairs. A bench seat runs the width of the back wall.
Floor-to-ceiling windows, coupled with the glass door, make the front of Bond Street very bright, but that’s where the natural light ends. However, an abundance of lighting throughout the store (especially at the back) stops it being gloomy. This is helped by the décor, with plain wooden floorboards and white-painted planking on the walls. The low ceiling is also painted white, transforming what could be a dull and cramped space into something bright and clean.
Bond Street’s coffee credentials are clearly on display from the three-group Synesso Hydra through the uber-boiler to the EK-43, which grinds all the coffee, espresso and filter alike. The coffee choices are written up on a chalk-board behind the counter, complete with origin, processing method and tasting notes, similar to Bath’s Colonna & Small’s or Bristol’s Full Court Press. The only downside is that the coffee-making largely takes place out of sight, which is a shame, plus it’s hard to read the coffee menu from the ordering point. This is all down to the counter’s location, although I’m not sure how else it could have been done.
Despite this emphasis on coffee-geekery, during my visit there was an interesting mix of coffee folk and normal people just in “for a coffee”. It was also very popular with the laptop crowd (guilty as charged).
Bond Street had an Ethiopian Qorema on offer as both espresso and Aeropress, so I decided to try that. As espresso, it was really bright and fruity, the sort that makes me pull funny faces (and I did). It was very well made, but far too bright for me. Tasting notes suggested bright clementine acidity with rich toffee sweetness. The problem with such acidic coffees is that I only get the acidity, which blows my taste-buds, so I never get anything else. As an experiment, I let it cool, but this only concentrated the acidity!
As an Aeropress, however, it was much more to my liking. The sweetness was much more apparent, with the acidity dialled down to acceptable levels, leading to a much better-balanced coffee.
December 2015: Bond Street Coffee was a runner-up for the Coffee Spot’s Most Passionate About Coffee Award for 2015.
|15 BOND STREET • BRIGHTON • BN1 1RD|
|Monday||08:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Horsham Coffee Roaster (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Bars, Sofas|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 18:00||Food||Cake, Sandwiches|
|Thursday||08:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 18:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||08:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 17:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||30th March 2015|
If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, check out the rest of Brighton and Hove’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Brighton & Hove.
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