Coffee Spot Awards 2016

An espresso, made by my Rancilio Silvia espresso machine, in a classic white cup and saucer from Acme & Co., New Zealand, distributed in the UK by Caravan Roastery.Merry Christmas to all my readers old and new! I hope you’re having a great Christmas. As the year comes to an end, so it’s time for the Coffee Spot Awards, now into their FIFTH year! It seems only yesterday that my friend Andrew Rilstone suggested the first Coffee Spot Awards. If only I’d have known what I was unleashing back then…

2016’s been an amazing year, with more Coffee Spots visited and written about than ever. The annual Coffee Spot Awards provides a chance for me to reflect on all the great places I’ve visited and to give them all some more well-deserved time in the limelight. As usual, there are 20 Awards, the shortlists for each being publishing between now and New Year’s Eve, the winners being announced on New Year’s Day.

Thanks to everyone who’s visited the Coffee Spot, followed me on Twitter, liked my Facebook page, +1ed me on Google+ (a dwindling number!) and liked my pictures on Instagram. While I do this for the love of coffee, it means a lot to me that so many of you take the time to read and comment on my writing. Without you, it really would be pointless.

Before we go on, check out who won what in last year’s Awards in the gallery.

  • Amid Giants & Idols, the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot.
  • Notes, Canary Wharf, winner of this year's Best Takeaway Coffee Award.
  • Daisy Green, 2015's Coffee Spot with the Best Basement.
  • G!RO Cycles, the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot.
  • Society Cafe, The Corridor, winner of the Best Lighting Award.
  • Saint Espresso, the Best Filter Coffee in 2015.
  • Electric Coffee Company, the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station.
  • Cup North 2015, the Best Saturday Supplement.
  • Farm Girl Cafe, the Coffee Spot with the Best Outdoor Seating.
  • Flat Caps Coffee, who served my Best Espresso of 2015.
  • Pave Coffee, the winner of this year's Smallest Coffee Spot Award.
  • Mr Wolfe, recipient of this year's Best Cake Award.
  • Ancoats Coffee Co, Royal Mills, the Best Roaster/Retailer for 2015.
  • Slate Coffee Roasters, the Best Overseas Coffee Spot.
  • Marmadukes Cafe Deli, winner of the Best Physical Space Award.
  • Beany Green, Euston, the Coffee Spot with the Happiest Staff.
  • Lemana Coffee & Kitchen, winner of this year's Best Breakfast Award.
  • Coffee Tasting Flight at Slate, this year's Most Passionate About Coffee.
  • Greenhood Coffee House, winners of the 2015 Brian's Coffee Spot Special Award.
  • Made by Knock: Hausgrind and Feldgrind, 2015's Most Popular Coffee Spot.
Amid Giants & Idols, the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot.1 Notes, Canary Wharf, winner of this year's Best Takeaway Coffee Award.2 Daisy Green, 2015's Coffee Spot with the Best Basement.3 G!RO Cycles, the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot.4 Society Cafe, The Corridor, winner of the Best Lighting Award.5 Saint Espresso, the Best Filter Coffee in 2015.6 Electric Coffee Company, the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station.7 Cup North 2015, the Best Saturday Supplement.8 Farm Girl Cafe, the Coffee Spot with the Best Outdoor Seating.9 Flat Caps Coffee, who served my Best Espresso of 2015.10 Pave Coffee, the winner of this year's Smallest Coffee Spot Award.11 Mr Wolfe, recipient of this year's Best Cake Award.12 Ancoats Coffee Co, Royal Mills, the Best Roaster/Retailer for 2015.13 Slate Coffee Roasters, the Best Overseas Coffee Spot.14 Marmadukes Cafe Deli, winner of the Best Physical Space Award.15 Beany Green, Euston, the Coffee Spot with the Happiest Staff.16 Lemana Coffee & Kitchen, winner of this year's Best Breakfast Award.17 Coffee Tasting Flight at Slate, this year's Most Passionate About Coffee.18 Greenhood Coffee House, winners of the 2015 Brian's Coffee Spot Special Award.19 Made by Knock: Hausgrind and Feldgrind, 2015's Most Popular Coffee Spot.20
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An elite panel of judges (me) gathered in a secret location (usually my house, but actually my Dad’s house this year) and spent literally minutes considering the following awards. However, before I introduce the awards, a few statistics for 2016:

I published 228 articles (up from 172 last year) on the Coffee Spot (not including this one!). This included (last year’s numbers in brackets):

This year I published Coffee Spots from various countries, adding China, Denmark and Portugal to the list for the first time, as well as venturing to new cities such as Phoenix.

As I write, the Coffee Spot has over 130,000 views this year, up from 125,000 in 2015. This is an average of 360 per day (up from 340 per day in 2015). Over 70,000 of you have visited the Coffee Spot (up from 62,000 last year) from 144 countries (three up from 2015!!), with 74% of you coming from the UK (down from 77% in the previous years). And, for the first time ever, more than 10% of my visitors are from the US.

Anyway, enough of the numbers. Without further ado, let’s see what the award categories are this year. You can click on the Award title to see the shortlist.

Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot (2015 Winner: Amid Giants & Idols)

Let’s face it, go to big cities such as New York, Edinburgh or Manchester and you expect to find good Coffee Spots. However, good Coffee Spots are everywhere, and some of them are in very unexpected places… This can either be geographically or a result of the Coffee Spot’s setting. Either way, this award recognises them.

Best Takeaway Coffee (2015 Winner: Notes, Canary Wharf)

Takeaway coffee is tricky. Often the elements are against you and the surroundings might not be the nicest, so this award recognises those Coffee Spots who produce outstanding coffee against the odds.

Coffee Spot with the Best Basement (2015 Winner: Daisy Green)

Regular readers with know that I have a soft spot for Coffee Spots with great basements, and this award recognises them. A good basement can be a real boon, particularly in the winter months, where there’s nowhere better to wrap up warm and cosy!

Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot (2015 Winner: G!RO Cycles)

A lot of the best Coffee Spots are those that are firmly rooted in their neighbourhoods, places that serve and reflect their local communities. This award is for them.

Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting (2015 Winner: Society Café, The Corridor)

Following the success of the Coffee Spot Lighting Calendar, it seems only fair that those Coffee Shops with wonderful lighting are properly recognised, hence this award.

Best Filter Coffee (2015 Winner: Saint Espresso)

Writing the Coffee Spot has revolutionised the way I think of (and drink) filter coffee, introducing me to an amazing, delicate drink and opening my eyes to a whole new world of coffee. This award celebrates those Coffee Spots which have helped me on my journey.

Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station (2015 Winner: Electric Coffee Company)

When you’re desperate for good coffee, stuck in a railway station is rarely the best place to be. But what if there was a great Coffee Spot in the station, or just outside and you didn’t know about it? This award is for you…

Best Saturday Supplement (2015 Winner: Cup North)

The Saturday Supplement is the place where I write about coffee and events without writing about specific places. This award recognises the best of them (note that Saturday Supplements where it’s just me writing about stuff aren’t included; this award is for the things I am writing about, not me!).

Best Outdoor Seating (2015 Winner: Farm Girl Café)

This award focuses on those Coffee Spots which provide the best environment for sitting outside. The Coffee Spot itself doesn’t have to be outside; anything with a decent outside seating area qualifies!

Best Espresso (2015 Winner: Flat Caps Coffee)

Espresso is tricky. I still can’t pull a reliable shot at home and admire those who can knock out shot after shot of high-quality espresso. Although my appreciation of filter coffee has come on leaps and bounds, I still see espresso as the pinnacle of coffee and it’s the drink that’s most likely to make me go “WOW!”. This award is for those Coffee Spots which served me the best and most memorable espressos of the year.

Smallest Coffee Spot (2015 Winner: Pavé Coffee)

I have a special place in my heart for small coffee spots and this year the Coffee Spot continued to be full of them. Note that this is all subjective – I did not get my tape measure out at any point!

Best Cake (2015 Winner: Mr Wolfe)

It’s not all about the coffee you know (despite what the tag line says). What would a cup of coffee be without a decent slice of cake to go with it? So, cake plays a major part in the Coffee Spot and this award celebrates the Coffee Spots which excel in the cake department.

Best Roaster/Retailer (2015 Winner: Ancoats Coffee Co, Royal Mills)

While the Coffee Spot is mostly about places to have coffee, I drink the majority of my coffee at home. This award recognises those wonderful who roast and sell me my coffee beans.

Best Overseas Coffee Spot (2015 Winner: Coffee Tasting Flight at Slate)

So far the Coffee Spot has made it to North America, France and Dublin, with 2016 seeing first ever visits to Copenhagen, Portugal and China. I know it’s not quite the rest of the world, but I’m getting there. This award celebrates the best Coffee Spots from outside of the UK.

Best Physical Space (2015 Winner: Marmadukes Café Deli)

For me, a Coffee Spot is as much about atmosphere, layout and overall feel as it is about the coffee. This award celebrates those Coffee Spots which there’s a pure joy in just sitting there, soaking it all in.

Happiest Staff (2015 Winner: Beany Green, Regent’s Place)

I think that staff are probably the most over-looked part of any Coffee Spot. Good staff can make a place and bad staff, no matter how great the coffee and wonderful the location, can kill a place. Everywhere that features in the Coffee Spot has great staff, but these were exceptional.

Best Breakfast (2015 Winner: Lemana Coffee & Kitchen)

Along with cake, breakfast has a special place in my heart, so-much-so that I started the Saturday Spot so that I could write about Coffee Spots where the coffee wasn’t up to much, but where the breakfasts were to die for! Of course, there are also plenty of places where both the coffee and the breakfasts are to die for!

Most Passionate About Coffee (2015 Winner: Coffee Tasting Flight at Slate)

It’s not just about the coffee, it’s also about people who love and care about coffee. In fact, everyone who has been covered in the Coffee Spot is passionate about coffee and one of the great things is how much love there is out there. However, those shortlisted for this award stand out from the crowd.

Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award (2015 Winner: Greenhood Coffee House)

This is a special award for those Coffee Spots which don’t quite fit into the other categories, but which nonetheless I absolutely love…

Most Popular Coffee Spot (2015 Winner: Made by Knock: Hausgrind and Feldgrind)

Finally, this is the only award not decided by me. It’s given to the Coffee Spot which received the greatest number of views (according to JetPack) in this calendar year. Since the Awards are meant to recognise what’s happened on the Coffee Spot this year, I’ve decided to exclude Coffee Spots published in previous years.


Make sure you check back on New Year’s Day to see who has won!


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