2015 Awards – Best Filter Coffee

The Bean & Bud logo: a coffee bean flanked by two tea buds, with the motto "Bean & Bud Real Coffee & Fine Tea since 2010"We continue the second day with the next shortlist for the 2015 Coffee Spot Awards, the “Best Filter Coffee” Award, which was won last year by Bean & Bud. A major revelation since starting the Coffee Spot is that filter coffee isn’t that over-brewed, stewed muck that bad coffee chains serve out of urns. It’s actually an amazing, delicate drink that has opened my eyes to a whole new world of coffee.

This award celebrates those Coffee Spots which continue to help me on my journey of discovery. To give you an idea of how far I have come since starting the Coffee Spot, I initially owned a cafetiere and an espresso machine and either drank my coffee at home with milk (cafetiere) or as espresso. Now I make the bulk of my coffee with my Aeropress and have a grinder dedicated to filter coffee. I always drink my filter coffee black and increasingly think that if I have to put milk in my coffee to make it drinkable, I’m drinking the wrong coffee!

You can see the shortlist after the gallery.

  • Society Cafe Corridor in Bath, where I had an Aeropress of  Round Hill’s Ethiopian Kebado.
  • Curators Coffee Gallery, where I had a Chemex of Square Mile's Columbian Los Monjes Huila.
  • Extracto Coffee, where I had a Nicaraguan Jinotega Paraiso using a Cilio filter cone.
  • BLK Coffee in Heaton, where I had a V60 of Workshop’s Ethiopian Kayamo
  • Baila Coffee & Vinyl, where I had a Tanzanian from Extract using a Clever Dripper.
  • Saint Espresso, where I had a V60 of an Ethiopian Negosho from James Gourmet Coffee.
  • Full Court Press, where I had a V60 of a Sumatran Blue Batak from Italian Roaster Gardelli.
  • Kofra, where I had a Costa Rican and Kenyan from Caffènation, both bulk-brewed.
  • Avenue Coffee, Great Western Road, where I had a V60 of an Ethiopian Rocko Mountain.
  • Giro, where I had a V60 of Beanberry's Costa Rican special reserve.
  • Peregrine Espresso, where I had an Ethiopian Idido from Counter Culture through the V60.
  • Slipstream, where I had a Las Serranias single-origin from Colombia roasted by Madcap.
Society Cafe Corridor in Bath, where I had an Aeropress of  Round Hill’s Ethiopian Kebado.1 Curators Coffee Gallery, where I had a Chemex of Square Mile's Columbian Los Monjes Huila.2 Extracto Coffee, where I had a Nicaraguan Jinotega Paraiso using a Cilio filter cone.3 BLK Coffee in Heaton, where I had a V60 of Workshop’s Ethiopian Kayamo4 Baila Coffee & Vinyl, where I had a Tanzanian from Extract using a Clever Dripper.5 Saint Espresso, where I had a V60 of an Ethiopian Negosho from James Gourmet Coffee.6 Full Court Press, where I had a V60 of a Sumatran Blue Batak from Italian Roaster Gardelli.7 Kofra, where I had a Costa Rican and Kenyan from Caffènation, both bulk-brewed.8 Avenue Coffee, Great Western Road, where I had a V60 of an Ethiopian Rocko Mountain.9 Giro, where I had a V60 of Beanberry's Costa Rican special reserve.10 Peregrine Espresso, where I had an Ethiopian Idido from Counter Culture through the V60.11 Slipstream, where I had a Las Serranias single-origin from Colombia roasted by Madcap.12
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There are 12 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

A black circle surrounding a woman in silhouette blowing on a cup of coffee. The words "Society Cafe with love from Bath" are written around the circle.Society Café, The Corridor

As well as having an amazing setting at the far end of Bath‘s Georgian arcade, The Corridor Society Café serves some cracking filter coffee, with various single-origin beans to choose from. I had Round Hill’s Ethiopian Kebado Coffee through the Aeropress. Society Café has also been shortlisted for the 2015 Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.

The Curators Coffee sign.Curators Coffee Gallery

One of my favourite spots in Fitzrovia, Curators Coffee Gallery is one of a select number of places which serve filter coffee through the Chemex, using a regularly rotating cast of guest roasters. I had a Columbian Los Monjes Huila by Square Mile which was nothing short of superb, very gentle and clean. Curators was also shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.

The Extracto Coffee Roaster logo: a coffee bean held in a metal clamp.Extracto Coffee Roasters, Prescott

Extracto roasts all its own beans and offers a range of single-origins using the Cilio filter cone (similar to a V60). I had a Nicaraguan Jinotega Paraiso, a strong coffee with plenty of body. It improved as it cooled when its fruity nature came through. Also on the Best Overseas Coffee Spot Award shortlist.

A carafe of Ethiopian Kayamo coffee roasted by Workshop, served by BLK Coffee, Heaton.BLK Coffee

A newcomer to the growing Newcastle coffee scene, BLK, as the name suggests, specialises in black coffee, with mainstays coming from Workshop, plus a regularly-rotating cast of guest roasters from around Europe. I enjoyed a V60  of Workshop’s Ethiopian Kayamo, which was so new it wasn’t even on the menu. BLK has also been shortlisted for the Most Passionate About Coffee and the Most Popular Coffee Spot Awards.

Detail of some of the drawing on the wall behind the bench in Baila Coffee & Vinyl, proclaiming Baila's fresh, brewed coffee and light roast espresso.Baila Coffee & Vinyl

Swindon‘s Baila Coffee & Vinyl really scores when it comes to filter coffee with a choice of three single-origins all from Extract. Baila uses the Clever Dripper and, rather than make the coffee behind the counter, once the dripper’s been filled up, it’s brought to your table on a slate, with a glass and a timer. When the timer expires (after three minutes), you put the dripper on your glass and the coffee filters through. Talk about bringing the theatre of filter coffee to the customer!

From a black board behind the counter at Saint Espresso: "Crafting Coffee with Religious Care".Saint Espresso

I’ve had several outstanding filter coffees on my visits to Saint Espresso, all through the V60. During my first visit, I had an Ethiopian Negosho from James Gourmet Coffee through the V60. Saint Espresso was also shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting and Best Cake Awards.

A cup of filter coffee from in a classic white cup, seen from above at Full Court Press.Full Court Press

Bristol‘s Full Court Press is one of my favourite places and I’ve had many filter coffees there since my first visit in 2013. Full Court Press matches the bean (from a regularly-rotating cast of guest roasters) to a particular brewing method. On my latest visit, I had a V60 of a Sumatran Blue Batak from Italian speciality roaster, Gardelli, the first time I’ve had this particular roaster. Also shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.

The Kofra logo, an ape's head, mouth wide open, drawn in black on a yellow background, the words Kofra underneath.Kofra Speciality Coffee Brewers

Unusually, Norwich‘s Kofra specialises in bulk-brew coffee which it does exceedingly well. The coffee’s all from Antwerp’s Caffènation and there’s a choice of two single-origins on bulk-brew. During my visit these were a Costa Rican (which was also the guest espresso) which impressed as a rich, sweet, juicy brew, and a Kenyan (there is always a Kenyan on the second filter.

 

Avenue Coffee on the corner of Glasgow's Great Western Avenue and Barrington Drive.Avenue Coffee, Great Western Road

Glasgow‘s Avenue Coffee roasts all its own beans on the mezzanine level of the coffee shop. You can have your filter coffee using any one of six preparation methods, although the staff will pair each bean with two contrasting methods. Three beans are on offer, one from a guest roaster. I tried an Ethiopian Rocko Mountain as a V60, which was bright, fruity and very smooth. Also shortlisted for the Best Roaster/Retailer and Best Physical Space Awards.

Giro Cycles won the 2015 "Best Coffee Shop for Cyclists" at this year's 2015 UK Coffee Stop Awards.G!RO Cycles

Giro has four single-origin coffees on filter, all from local roaster, Beanberry, one of which is decaf. Each has its own chalkboard, complete with origin, roast-profile and tasting notes. I selected the Costa Rican special reserve, which turned out to be a very deep coffee, with surprising amounts of body. Giro has also been shortlisted for the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award.

A large, mirror-image, lower-case e in green over the word "(perergrine)", with the brackets and middle 'e' (which is also a mirror-image) in blue. Finally, the word "espresso" is in blue in the bottom-right corner.Peregrine Espresso, 14th Street

The second of three Peregrine Espresso branches in Washington DC, Peregrine uses Counter Culture  coffee, offering a variety options, including trying the same coffee as espresso and filter. I had an Ethiopian Idido through the V60, which was easily the best filter coffee of my extended trip to the east coast back in March. Peregrine was also shortlisted for the Happiest Staff Award and is the only Coffee Spot shortlisted for both Best Filter & Best Espresso.

The A-board outside Slipstream in Washington DC, which poses the question: "How do we take our Coffee?". The answer, of course: "seriously, very seriously".Slipstream

Staying in Washington DC, Slipstream serves coffee from Michigan’s Madcap, distinguishing between  “Quick Coffee” (espresso and bulk brew) and “Worth the Wait”, hand-filtered single-origins. There’s a choice of four of these, plus decaf, and they change on a weekly basis. I had the decaf, a Las Serranias single-origin from Colombia, which arrived in a carafe with a cup on the side, which is how it should be. Incidentally, this was the only place on the trip that did this. Also on the Best Overseas Coffee Spot Award shortlist.


A special mention also needs to go to the following:

Peña in Glasgow serving some excellent Workshop Coffee
Télescope in Paris where I had a Kenyan from local roasters, Belleville
Stoked Roasters + Coffeehouse in Hood River, Oregon, roasting all its own coffee
Marmadukes Café Deli in Sheffield for coffee whose tastes matches its presentation
Amid Giants & Idols in Lyme Regis, for coffee served with an infra-red thermometer

And the winner is Saint Espresso
Runners-up: Avenue Coffee, Great Western Road and Baila Coffee & Vinyl

Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2015.


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