2017 Awards – Best Takeaway Coffee

The word "Hatch", written in cursive script in white on black, over the word "COFFEE", separated by a horiztonal white line.Our second shortlist in the 2017 Coffee Spot Awards is the “Best Takeaway Coffee” Award, which was won last year by Hatch Coffee. It recognises those places which, braving the elements, still produce an excellent cup of coffee. This includes coffee carts, coffee stalls, those Coffee Spots which are so small that they only serve takeaway coffee and those Coffee Spots where I regularly get my takeaway coffee (even if they offer a regular sit-in option).

In fairness, I don’t feature a lot of takeaway places on the Coffee Spot, partly because, for me, a lot of what makes a good Coffee Spot is the atmosphere. This can be hard to achieve at a stall when you’re serving your coffee in a paper cup (another bugbear of mine; so these days I always take my own cup with me!). However, there are plenty of great takeaway places out there, serving excellent coffee, so don’t be afraid to give them a try.

You can see the shortlist after the gallery.

  • Cafe X, San Francisco: is this the future of coffee? Takeaway coffee from a robot barista.
  • Allpress Dalston did me a very fine coffee to go.
  • Flat Cap Victoria, a stalwart of London's speciality coffee scene in Strutton Ground Market.
  • Flat Cap Borough, another London stalwart, this time down at Borough Market.
  • % Arabica, Fujii Daimaru, serving fine coffee from a supermarket in Kyoto.
  • Luckie Beans, direct from the roaster on Glasgow's Queen Street station concourse.
  • Lever & Bloom, serving excellent Climpson & Sons coffee in all weathers in Bloomsbury.
  • For the Good of the People Coffee, the successor to Bean About Town on the South Bank.
  • Lost Sheep Coffee, roasting and serving excellent coffee from a pod in Canterbury.
  • Crosstown Doughnuts, Victoria, part of the growing London doughnut chain.
  • Ezra To Go, the little sibling of Manchester's Ezra & Gil. You can stay in too if you like.
  • Craft Coffee, King's Cross, another serving excellent coffee in all weathers.
Cafe X, San Francisco: is this the future of coffee? Takeaway coffee from a robot barista.1 Allpress Dalston did me a very fine coffee to go.2 Flat Cap Victoria, a stalwart of London's speciality coffee scene in Strutton Ground Market.3 Flat Cap Borough, another London stalwart, this time down at Borough Market.4 % Arabica, Fujii Daimaru, serving fine coffee from a supermarket in Kyoto.5 Luckie Beans, direct from the roaster on Glasgow's Queen Street station concourse. 6 Lever & Bloom, serving excellent Climpson & Sons coffee in all weathers in Bloomsbury.7 For the Good of the People Coffee, the successor to Bean About Town on the South Bank.8 Lost Sheep Coffee, roasting and serving excellent coffee from a pod in Canterbury.9 Crosstown Doughnuts, Victoria, part of the growing London doughnut chain.10 Ezra To Go, the little sibling of Manchester's Ezra & Gil. You can stay in too if you like.11 Craft Coffee, King's Cross, another serving excellent coffee in all weathers.12
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There are 13 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

The robot arm at the heart of the Cafe X operation.Cafe X, San Francisco

Could our first entry be the future of coffee? Cafe X in San Francisco, is an entirely automated coffee shop, where you order by app on your phone or at one of the tablets at the kiosk. Your coffee is then made by a robot barista. The only downside: you can’t use your own cup. Cafe X has also been shortlist for the Best Saturday Supplement Award.

A Kalita Wave filter of Allpress La Esperanza from Guatemala, served at Allpress Dalston.Allpress Dalston

The Allpress Dalston coffee shop, part of the excellent roastery, serves great espresso-based drinks as well as great pour-over and wonderful breakfasts. However, it’s on this shortlist for the takeaway coffee I had at the start of the year, a lovely decaf flat white which I enjoyed in my Ecoffee Cup. Allpress has also been shortlisted for the Best Outside Seating and Most Popular Coffee Spot Awards.

A lovely flat white at Flat Cap Victoria in my Therma Cup, made with a single-origin Brazilian coffee, roasted by Notes.Flat Cap Victoria

Strutton Ground Market, near Victoria Station, is home to Flat Cap Victoria, a veteran of London’s speciality coffee scene. For the last eight years, it has been turning out top quality espresso-based drinks in all weathers from a lovely barrow, its only protection from the elements, a black, open-sided gazebo. Flat Cap uses Notes Coffee with a single-origin espresso which changes every few weeks. It’s also shortlisted for the Happiest Staff Award.

A bag of Cachoeirinha Espresso, roasted by Notes and in the hopper at Flat Cap Borough during my visit in January 2017.Flat Cap Borough

Another veteran of London’s speciality coffee scene, Flat Cap Borough is down at Borough Market and shares a common ancestry with Flat Cap Victoria. However, the two are independent operations, although like the other Flat Cap, this one also uses Notes Coffee with an ever-changing single-origin espresso.

The % Arabica logo for the wall of the store in the Fujii Daimaru Department Store, Kyoto.% Arabica, Fujii Daimaru

Located on the ground floor of the Fujii Daimaru department store in Kyoto, % Arabica serves a house-blend and a single-origin on espresso from a very limited menu, all roasted in-house. It’s a surprisingly pleasant environment in which to sit down and rest your weary legs between sight-seeing stops. You can also buy beans and merchandising. % Arabica has also been shortlisted for this year’s Smallest Coffee Spot Award.

Detail from the front of the Luckie Beans coffee cart on the concourse of Glasgow's Queen Street Station.Luckie Beans, Glasgow Queen Street

Berwick-based roaster, Luckie Beans, now has a coffee cart on Glasgow‘s Queen Street station, serving a blend and single-origin on espresso. There are also various sweet treats and savoury offerings. Luckie Beans was also shortlisted for this year’s Best Coffee Spot Near a Railway Station and Best Espresso Awards.

My flat white in my Ecoffee Cup on a lovely patterned tile at Lever & Bloom.Lever & Bloom

Flying under the radar, Lever & Bloom has been serving coffee from a red miniature four-wheeled box van on the corner of Byng Place in Bloomsbury, London for several years now. With the magnificent Church of Christ the King as its backdrop, Lever & Bloom serves Climpson and Sons’ Baron espresso blend. Lever & Bloom was also shortlisted for this year’s Best Coffee Spot Near a Railway Station and Most Passionate About Coffee Awards.

A shot of espresso from For the Good of the People at the Southbank Centre Food Market in my Kaffeeform cupFor the Good of the People Coffee

Successor to the Bean About Town coffee van on London’s South Bank, the lovely, old Citroen van is run by the equally lovely, but not so old, Claire. Good People uses The Grand Howl, a small coffee shop/roaster in Hackney. Bean About Town made multiple appearances on this shortlist over the years, and standards haven’t slipped. Good People was also shortlisted for this year’s Best Coffee Spot Near a Railway Station and Happiest Staff Awards.

The Idle Hands logo, taken from the A-board outside the second pop-up on Dale Street.Idle Hands @ Grub

Idle Hands has had a chequered history, which is unfortunate, since Dave and Lucy make some of the best coffee I’ve had. The latest incarnation was a pop-up at Manchester-based Grub at Mayfield Road, although both Grub and Idle Hands have moved on since then. I caught Dave over the summer for an Aeropress of a rich, juicy Ethiopian Rocko Mountain from Norwich’s Strangers Coffee. Idle Hands also made 2017’s Best Filter Coffee  & Best Coffee Spot Near a Railway Station shortlists.

Detail from the back of the Lost Sheep Coffee Pod in Saint George's Lane, Canterbury.Lost Sheep Coffee

Down in Canterbury, by the bus station, stands the statue of a sheep, and, opposite it, the Lost Sheep Coffee pod turns out excellent coffee come rain or shine. With a house-blend roasted in-house in the newly-opened roastery, and a rotating guest on the second grinder, the quality is second to none, while the friendly staff make a visit worthwhile just to say hello. Lost Sheep is shortlisted for the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot and Special Awards.

The Crosstown Doughnut logo from outside the coffee shop in Soho.Crosstown Doughnuts, Victoria

Like my waistline whenever I visit Crosstown Doughnuts, the London chain keeps on expanding. Serving two options from Caravan on espresso, the coffee’s just as good as the doughnuts. Crosstown is on the Best CakeBest Coffee Spot Near a Railway Station & Smallest Coffee Spot shortlists.

The Ezra & Gill logo etched in wood from the wall of Ezra To Go on Tib Street.Ezra To Go

Manchester’s Ezra & Gil is a large spot, serving excellent coffee and all-day breakfasts. In contrast, the latest addition to the family (of two), Ezra To Go, is a smaller affair, half coffee shop, half life-style store. Serving espresso-based drinks with a house-blend from the local ManCoCo, the coffee is just as good while the food offering is also impressive, particularly given the size. Ezra To Go is also shortlisted for the Coffee Spot Special Award.

Some beautiful latte art by Craft Coffee at King's Cross in my Therma Cup.Craft Coffee, King’s Cross

Craft Coffee is another stalwart of the London scene, albeit in a relatively new setting (for Craft) behind King’s Cross Station, where it carries on in the footsteps of names such as Weanie Beans and Noble Espresso. It’s also another London coffee stall serving single-origin espresso from Notes Coffee, with the coffee in question changing on a regular basis. Craft was also shortlisted for the Best Coffee Spot Near a Railway Station Award.


And the winner is Lever & Bloom
Runners-up: Flat Cap Victoria and Idle Hands @ Grub

Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2017.


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5 thoughts on “2017 Awards – Best Takeaway Coffee

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