Bond Street Coffee

The coffee menu at Bond Street Coffee, complete with origin, processing method and tasting notes for each of the four coffees on offer (two espresso, two filter).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.

  • Bond Street Coffee, pleasingly enough on Brighton's Bond Street.
  • The front on view during a rare moment when the window seats were unoccupied.
  • I liked the simple construction of the two benches out front, one for each window.
  • Talking of simple, the A-board is straightforward and direct.
  • Stepping inside, the window seats either side of the door grab your attention.
  • I can't help feeling that this one should be a rocking chair though.
  • On the other hand, this is my favourite. Reminds me of Philadelphia's Menagerie.
  • The view from the front door looking towards the back...
  • ... and the view from the counter looking towards the window.
  • I call this the laptop bar. Guess who was there earlier, making his notes...
  • Well, that's pretty clear.
  • The rest of the seating is up there, beyond the counter.
  • A view of the back room from the top of the counter.
  • There are a couple of tables up here...
  • ... but pride of place goes to the very comfortable sofa.
  • Light-fitting fans will not be disappointed with Bond Street...
  • There are all sorts of lights...
  • ... such as these hanging by the map of the world at the back.
  • Did I mention that there were plenty of lights?
  • And a bike. Mounted vertically on the wall. Next to a lampstand. Well, it is Brighton.
  • There are also works of art adorning the walls, such as these opposite the counter...
  • ... and a life-size carboard cut-out of Nicolas Cage next to the coffee-tasting wheel.
  • In keeping with its coffee credentials, Bond Street has coffee-kit for sale...
  • ... and a slightly more esoteric collection of knick-knacks.
  • There's also a tea shelf.
  • The producers of the savouries, cakes and pastries all get full billing.
  • The cakes have to be kept locked away under their plastic covers to the right...
  • ... while the savouries and pastries are allowed to roam free. It's just not fair.
  • The coffee and hot-drinks menu is stright-forward...
  • ... while the chalk-board with the choice of coffee is reminiscent of Colonna & Small's.
  • Pride of place on the counter goes to the lovely Synesso Hydra espresso machine.
  • Nice cups.
  • Beyond the espresso machine is the filter station, complete with built-in boiler/tap.
  • And then, for those who just want water, there's the water station too.
  • All the coffee, espresso and filter, is ground to demand in the EK-43.
  • I got the chance to watch a V60 being made. First, rinse the filter paper...
  • Then, fill the kettle. Interesting that Bond St chooses to use a kettle...
  • ... many places would pour straight from the tap in the V60 (the boiler's designed for that).
  • Next the coffee is ground...
  • ... and put into the filter.
  • It's all very precise. Here a little bit of the ground coffee is removed to get the exact weight.
  • Next comes the first pour.
  • Everything, of course, is weighed, including the water in.
  • Now we leave it to bloom...
  • ... before the second pour, which fills it up.
  • Now we just leave it to filter. No stirring here.
  • The ultimate in geekery: the TDS (total disolved solids) meter (little white thing).
  • It's calibrated with some water and then the coffee goes in. This time it's spot on.
  • While I was there, I got the chance to witness some latte art. I particularly liked this one.
  • However, the barista wasn't happy with it, so I was given this one to photograph too :-)
  • However, this is what I had, the same coffee through Aeropress and as an espresso.
  • And here with the espresso on its own.
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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
www.bondstcoffee.co.uk
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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