Welcome to the next Coffee Spot Awards Shortlist for 2015, the “Most Passionate About Coffee” Award, which was won in 2014 by Colonna & Small’s. For me, this is one of the most important awards, and also one of the hardest to judge, which is why I’ve left it to the last day.
It’s not just about the coffee, it’s also about people who love and care about coffee. Everyone who I’ve covered in the Coffee Spot is passionate about coffee and one of the great things is how much love there is out there, both for the coffee and for those who make it. However, those shortlisted for this award stand out from the crowd.
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are 12 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
Serving excellent coffee in all weathers from its stall at the back of King’s Cross Station, Noble Espresso regularly rotates its roasters, achieving the sort of quality that many a bricks-and-mortar coffee shops can only aspire to. Now that takes true dedication. Noble Espresso has also been shortlisted for the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station and Best Takeaway Coffee Awards.
Philadelphia is an understated and often overlooked coffee city, but it’s also one of my favourites. Rival Bros roasts its own coffee and now has a permanent home from which to serve it. A lovely spot in South Philadelphia, the focus is clearly on the (excellent) coffee, served with real passion. Rival Bros has also been shortlisted for the Best Overseas Coffee Spot Award.
Bond Street Coffee is a stand-out in Brighton, another overlooked (by me, at least) coffee city. In partnership with Horsham Coffee Roaster, Bond Street is firmly focused on its coffee. Also in the running for the Most Popular Coffee Spot Award.
Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to be invited to a barista training course at the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs. I’ve been making coffee for years, but I learned so much on this course and my two trainers, Chris and John, were amazing. So knowledgeable about coffee, what really struck me was how enthusiastically they wanted to share what they knew.
Another coffee shop/roaster in Philadelphia, Greenstreet Coffee has been roasting some of the city’s best coffee for a long time now. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in its downtown coffee shop, where I was well looked after by the magnificent staff. I also got to drink some lovely coffee, sitting in the window, soaking up the spring sunshine. Definitely a highlight of my east coast trip back in March.
If there’s a man who is more passionate and enthusiastic about roasting and serving great coffee than Asado’s Jeff Liberman, I’d like to meet him! I had some amazing coffee at Asado, which was also shortlisted for the Best Espresso and Happiest Staff Awards.
Seattle‘s Slate Coffee Roasters is, for me, redefining the coffee experience. I had an amazing, curated coffee tasting flight. Slate was also shortlisted for the Best Overseas Coffee Spot and Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Awards.
Staying in the Pacific Northwest, Either/Or in Portland was another with a coffee tasting flight. It’s also a multi-roaster coffee shop, a rare concept in the land of the coffee shop/roaster. It’s very highly thought of in Portland: practically all the baristas I spoke to recommended it.
Back in Seattle, Milstead & Co. is another multi-roaster coffee shop, which also got shortlisted for the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award. Like Slate, Milstead & Co. is out in the suburbs, serving the sort of speciality coffee you normally associate with city centre locations.
Sheffield‘s Foundry Coffee Roaster have been turning out some consistently high quality coffee for some time, with a focus (unusually) on the home, rather than wholesale, market. It was a real pleasure to catch up with Lee and Callum earlier this year (as well as running into them at the Glasgow Coffee Festival). Foundry was also shortlisted for the Best Roaster/Retailer Award and is in the running for the Most Popular Coffee Spot Award.
When Alison, the owner of BLK, asked me if she should open her own coffee shop, I advised her against it (this is my standard advice, by the way, nothing to do with Alison). Fortunately, she ignored me and opened BLK earlier this year in her home town of Newcastle. BLK was also shortlisted for the Best Filter Coffee Award and is in the running for the Most Popular Coffee Spot Award.
This nomination is more for The Little Red Roaster as a whole than for the lovely new branch on Norwich‘s St Andrews Hill. Owner, Darren, already had two outlets, the original market stall (2002) and the first bricks and mortar store on Grove Road (2007). There was never meant to be a third store, but walking up St Andrews Hill one day, he say the perfect location, and that was that…
A special mention also needs to go to the following:
Repack Espresso in Bath: it’s hard operating in the shadow of Colonna & Small’s
Curators Coffee Gallery, one of my favourite spots in London’s Fitzrovia
Upshot Espresso in Sheffield, which is already on too many shortlists this year!
Greenhood Coffee House, where owner Rory shows a real passion for coffee
Flat Caps Coffee in Newcastle, where Joe still makes some of my favourite coffee
Amid Giants & Idols in Lyme Regis, where Xanne is a real coffee enthusiast.
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2015.
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