Exe Coffee Roasters

A lovely light-fitting from Exe Coffee Roasters in Exeter, made from an upcycled espresso boiler.Exe Coffee Roasters, just outside Exeter city centre, has a modest exterior behind which hides a surprisingly large coffee shop with a roastery in the basement and a brick-fired pizza oven in the back yard. Although it’s only been open since June 2015, in one form or another, Exe Coffee Roasters has been around for a long time. The owner, Steve, was the man behind Devon Coffee, still a fixture on Queen Street in the heart of Exeter, where it’s been for many years.

After years of running coffee events and Devon Coffee, Steve began roasting at the start of 2015, first with a hand-built roaster and now with the 12kg Probat you’ll find in the basement. Although still running coffee events, Devon Coffee was sold over the summer to allow Steve to concentrate on roasting.

Exe Coffee Roasters produces a seasonal espresso blend and two or three single-origins which are available through the V60 or Aeropress, with the option of a Chemex for groups. If you don’t fancy coffee, there’s loose-leaf tea, hot chocolate and a small selection of local craft beers and cider. Finally, there’s a similarly small selection of cake, toast and a choice of two toasties.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On Heavitree Road, east of the centre of Exeter, is Exe Coffee Roasters.
  • A modest exterior hides a surprisingly large interior, accessed from the door on the right.
  • There's also a four-person window-bar to the left of the door.
  • The window bar in more detail.
  • There are also a pair of tables against the wall to left...
  • ... followed by the counter...
  • ... opposite which, on the right-hand wall, is another row of tables.
  • Finally, at the back, beyond the counter, is a little niche with a window at the back...
  • ... and a long, thin table with benches on either side.
  • The view out the back. Check out the green roof! The yard belongs to Exe, by the way.
  • However, that's not all. There are steps at the back which lead down...
  • ... doubling back on themselves...
  • ... on the way to a roastery in the basement!
  • Obligatory shot of a sack of green beans.
  • Exe Coffee Roasters has amazing light fittings. Any guesses what this one is made from?
  • It's actually an upcycled, old espresso boiler.
  • This one, meanwhile, is made from an old colander...
  • ... as is this one!
  • More interesting lighting.
  • It's not just lights. There's this painting hanging on the left-hand wall.
  • ... while these hang in the niche at the back.
  • Neat water station.
  • More upcycling in the shape of this cushion cover made from an old coffee sack.
  • You can buy all of Exe Coffee Roasters output from the retail shelves on the left wall.
  • Meanwhile, if you want to drink the coffee, the counter is on the left.
  • The espresso machine is on the left, facing forward...
  • ... so that when you stand at the till to order you can watch your espresso being made.
  • The rest of the counter faces the opposite wall, with the EK-43 grinder at the back.
  • There's a small selection of cake on the left...
  • ... while beans from the espresso blend and the two single-origin filters are on display.
  • There's also a small selection of local craft beer and cider.
  • The menu, meanwhile, is on the back wall.
  • Down to business. I'm having a pour-over. First step, weigh the beans.
  • Next, grind them and put into the filter, in this case, a V60.
  • The first pour is to allow the coffee to bloom. A small amount of water is added...
  • ... and then we wait while the coffee de-gasses.
  • Next, we top the V60 up in a series of short, controlled pours...
  • ... pausing between each pour to let the coffee filter through.
  • With the each pour, the V60 is topped up to about two thirds full.
  • A slight adjustment is made to the filter paper.
  • There's another top-up and then we wait.
  • One more top up...
  • ... and then we wait until the coffee filters through.
  • Unusually, the coffee is made directly into the cup it's served in.
  • Just to prove it's not all pour-overs, here's a flat white for another customer.
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The modest exterior of Exe Coffee Roasters, at the western end of Heavitree Road in Exeter, hides an impressive interior. There’s a simple, square window with a doorway on the right, giving access to the actual door which opens in the right-hand wall at the front.

At first there doesn’t seem much, just a four-person window-bar at the front, two tables against the left-hand wall and a long bench along the right-hand wall, lined with four tables. Opposite them, occupying the back half of the left-hand wall, is the large counter, espresso machine to the fore, while beyond the counter, a long, thin niche seems to project from the back wall. This is occupied by a similarly long, thin table with benches on either side. In all, you could probably fit 20 people in if everyone squeezes up. It’s a beautiful interior, by the way, with exposed brick and gorgeous wooden floorboards and furniture, most of which was made by Steve himself out of various upcycled materials.

The first clue that there’s more to Exe Coffee Roasters than meets the eye comes if you make your way to the niche at the back, where a small window overlooks a flat roof and a yard below/behind that. This can be a little disconcerting considering that you’re on the ground floor… Another clue can be found at the back on the right, where a flight of stairs leads down, running along the right-hand wall, depositing you towards the front of a large basement. This currently houses the roaster and is also used for training courses, although by the time you read this, it may well have been kitted out with seating to provide some extra capacity.

The basement also provides access, through the back door, to the back yard. This is long and thin, with a newly-built brick-fired pizza oven right at the back. This is used on Friday afternoons/evenings, when Exe Coffee Roasters stays open late, serving pizza from noon.

When it comes to the coffee, Exe Coffee Roasters serves its seasonal Neighbourhood blend, which changes five or six times a year. This is backed up with two or three single-origins on filter. In keeping with a philosophy of having a selection favouring quality over quantity, there’s the Speak Easy and Cut Loose craft beers from local brewers, Powderkeg, and Sandford Orchards’ Devon Red cider, all on tap. This continues with the cake and even the toasties, where there’s a choice of just two, one of which is vegetarian (the choices were ham and cheese or mozzarella and pesto during my visit).

Naturally, I was drawn to the coffee, having a choice between a naturally-processed Peruvian or a washed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. In a nice touch, a handful of each of the beans, along with tasting and origin notes, are displayed on the counter. Since I don’t often get to try Peruvian pour-overs, I had that, from the La Fe San Juan farm in Chanchamayo province.

Made via the V60, it was served in a cup rather than the usual carafe. However, this didn’t affect the quality at all. One of the best-smelling coffees I’ve had, it more than lived up to expectations, being sweet and full-bodied, while as it cooled, more delicate flavours came through. All-in-all, quite heavenly!

19 HEAVITREE ROAD • EXETER • EX1 2LD
http://execoffeeroasters.co.uk +44 (0) 7796 678559
Monday 08:00 – 16:00 Roaster Exe Coffee Roasters (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 16:00 Seating Tables, Window-Bar
Wednesday 08:00 – 16:00 Food Cake, Toast, Toasties
Thursday 08:00 – 16:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:00 – 22:30 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday CLOSED Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday CLOSED Power No
Chain No Visits 7th August 2017

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