Welcome to the penultimate Coffee Spot Awards Shortlist for 2015, the Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award, which was won last year by Machina Espresso.
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.
Some of the Coffee Spots here haven’t made it to any of the other shortlists, so this Award gives me a chance to recognise some special places. Others have made it onto many other shortlists, so this is another chance for me to let you know just how much I like them! Either way, enjoy.
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are 12 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
Laynes Espresso looks like a pop-up on the ground floor of Leeds‘ Belgrave Music Hall, where it shares the space with a number of other food outlets. However, it’s a permanent location and, once a month, Laynes takes over the whole place to serve its legendary brunches. I got a taste of this when I visited Laynes at the Street Food Market at this year’s Cup North.
Finca, in Dorchester, has made it onto the shortlist for the Best Roaster/Retailer Award and the article my visit inspired, about Roasting Green Beans at Home, has been shortlisted for the Best Saturday Supplement Award. However, I also wanted to recognise it here, since I found Finca’s story really inspiring, starting with roasting green beans at home in a wok. There’s hope for us all!
The original Artisan in Putney can consider itself unlucky not to have made it onto a number of shortlists, hence its inclusion here. It’s a lovely, sun drenched spot, with great food and coffee. Artisan has a unique loyalty card scheme: once you have got the requisite number of stamps on your loyalty card, you get to spin the wheel (see picture), where you can get anything from a glass of water to five free coffees!
Repack Espresso in Bath is another that can consider itself unlucky not to have made it onto any number of shortlists. A little off the beaten track, it’s well worth tracking down for some excellent coffee in pleasant and friendly surroundings. There’s filter, plus espresso pulled on a Kees van der Western.
Climpson and Sons is a well-established third-wave roaster in London and its lovely coffee shop on Broadway Market is something of a fixture on the London scene. It’s another one that could have made it onto any number of shortlists this year.
In contrast, Ealing’s Electric Coffee Company has been shortlisted for the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station, Happiest Staff and Best Breakfast Awards. So I feel a bit bad about putting it on a fourth shortlist, but at the same time, I really like what the Electric Coffee Company is doing (and has been doing for almost 10 years) out in Ealing which now includes roasting its own coffee down in Sussex.
Bard Coffee sits on a lovely square in the heart of downtown Portland (Maine). It roasts all its own coffee and, for once, I turned up a couple of weeks after it had been refurbished (usually I arrive a couple of weeks before refurbishment). The coffee was great and the staff were even cooler, happily putting up with my endless faffing around. A really special place.
Seattle‘s Street Bean Coffee is a pioneer in the sphere of social coffee, a movement which is rapidly gaining traction. However, Street Bean has been at it for five years now, providing training and jobs for some of the disadvantaged in Seattle. As a coffee shop, it holds its own in a city full of excellent coffee. It’s now expanding into coffee roaster, with an on-site roaster in the store next door.
Greenhood turned into a must visit when I was in Nottingham over the summer and I’m glad that I did. Although it was only a few weeks old at the time, owner Rory has created something really special in Beeston, on the outskirts of Nottingham. Greenhood has also earned a spot on the Most Popular Coffee Spot shortlist.
Stag Espresso has been running the in-house café of the Dovecot Contemporary Art Gallery and Tapestry Studio in Edinburgh since 2011, although its moving on in the New Year. However, this is a shout-out to Richard and his team for their achievement of bringing speciality coffee to a mainstream setting. Also shortlisted for the Most Unlikely Space to Find a Coffee Spot Award.
Glasgow‘s McCune Smith is a lot more than just a coffee shop (although as a coffee shop, it’s a very good one). Taking its inspiration from the Scottish Enlightenment, McCune Smith is named after Dr James McCune Smith, the black intellectual and abolitionist who became the first African American in the world to hold a medical degree when he graduated from Glasgow’s Old College in 1837.
Filament started life as a very well-regarded pop-up in Edinburgh in 2014. Now it’s a well-regarded permanent coffee shop on Clerk Street on the southern side of Edinburgh. Long and thin, it’s a funny space, which would have been really awkward, but which actually works well. The coffee’s pretty good too and there are bagels! Count me converted.
A special mention also needs to go to the following:
Curators Coffee Gallery, doing lots of things very well indeed, including the Chemex
Upshot Espresso, another one that’s been on far too many shortlists already!
Flat Caps Coffee, still one of my favourite coffee shops in the country
Amid Giants & Idols, like having coffee in the sitting room of owner, Xanne
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2015.
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