Coffee Spot Awards 2017: Winners

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.Happy New Year to all my followers old and new! As we get 2018 underway, here are the winners of the sixth annual Brian’s Coffee Spot Awards. As before, there are 20 Awards, celebrating all the wonderful Coffee Spots I wrote about during 2017. The shortlists for all 20 Awards were announced between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve and now we have the winners!

Before we go on, I know I’ve said this before, but a big thank you to everyone who’s visited the Coffee Spot, followed me on Twitter, liked my Facebook page and looked at 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.

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2017 Awards – Most Popular Coffee Spot

A shot of speciality coffee from an Nespresso-compatible capsule served by Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood at a talk at Modern Society.So, here it is, the final Coffee Spot Awards Shortlist for 2017, the only one that you, my readers, decide. It’s the “Most Popular Coffee Spot” Award, which is based on the total number of views received by each Coffee Spot in 2017.

Last year this was won last year by Speciality Coffee in Capsules? with 1,217 views. This year we have quite a few Coffee Spots which have broken the 1,000 views mark, which I’m quite excited by. Of the 12 most viewed Coffee Spots, six are about coffee shops, while the other six are Saturday Supplements, a record high!

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2017 Awards – Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award

The word "Kaffeine" written in a cursive script at an angle of 30 degrees to the horizontalWelcome to the penultimate Coffee Spot Awards Shortlist for 2017, the Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award, which was won last year by Kaffeine Eastcastle. 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.

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2017 Awards – Most Passionate About Coffee

The Idle Hands logo, taken from the A-board outside the pop-up on Dale Street.Welcome to the next Coffee Spot Awards Shortlist for 2017, the “Most Passionate About Coffee” Award, which was won in 2016 by Idle Hands Pop-up. 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.

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2017 Awards – Best Breakfast

The Flat Caps Coffee logo, taken from a bag of coffee roasted to mark Flat Caps' successful Kickstarter.We enter the final day of the 2017 Coffee Spot Awards shortlists with the “Best Breakfast” Award, which in 2016 went to Flat Caps Carliol Square. Along with cake, breakfast has a special place in my heart. The only slight snag is that I rarely get up and out of the house early enough to get to places before they stop serving breakfast!

That said, I’ve been doing so much travelling this last year that I’m now able to generate a healthy shortlist, helped by those wonderful places that serve all-day breakfasts! In fact, given how often I have things from the breakfast menu for lunch, I wonder if I should rename this award “Best Brunch”…

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2017 Awards – Happiest Staff

Michelangelo, joint-owner of The Speciality Coffee Shop, in the mirror above one of the tables.I present the final shortlist of the day, which is for another of my favourite Coffee Spot Awards, that of “Coffee Spot with the Happiest Staff”. Last year it was won by The Speciality Coffee Shop. In my opinion, 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, with some infectiously happy staff. However, this award isn’t just for happy staff; it’s for any staff who go that extra mile to make their coffee shop a special place.

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2017 Awards – Best Physical Space

The writing on the window: Filter + Fox | Cafe - Bar - HideoutNext up today, the 2017 Coffee Spot Award shortlist for “Best Physical Space”, which was won last year by Filter + Fox. One of the most important things for me is how a Coffee Spot looks and feels. This, to me, is just as important as the coffee.

This award celebrates those Coffee Spots in which there’s a pure joy in just sitting there, soaking it all in. It’s not just about physical beauty and elegance. Instead, it’s as much about atmosphere, layout and overall feel. It’s another where I could have made two or three different shortlists, all of whom would be worthy winners. However, I have managed to whittle it down to just a single list for this year’s Award, although I broke my own rules and included 16 Coffee Spots this time around.

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2017 Awards – Best Overseas Coffee Spot

The square facade of The Cupping Room in Central, facing onto the steeply-sloping Cochrane Street.Next up in the 2017 Coffee Spot Awards with the shortlist for the “Best Overseas Coffee Spot”. This was won in 2016 by The Cupping Room Central and celebrates all those wonderful Coffee Spots that I’ve visited outside of the UK. I’d love to travel more, since I keep hearing about great coffee all over the world.

This year has been the best yet for overseas Coffee Spots, with first ever trips to Vietnam and Japan, plus a return trip to China. I also managed to make it all over the US from California to Miami. If you want to read more of my travel exploits, check out Brian’s Travel Spot.

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2017 Awards – Best Roaster/Retailer

The eponymous roaster at The Roasting Party in Winchester, cooling yet another load of freshly-roasted beans.First up today, the 2017 Coffee Spot Award shortlist for “Best Roaster/Retailer”, which was won last year by The Roasting Party. Initially, this award was only open to retailers, but in 2014, I expanded it to include roasters, who now dominate the award. Contenders have either appeared in the Meet the Roaster series or they are cafe/roasters who I have visited during the year.

Although the Coffee Spot is mostly about places to have coffee, I still drink the majority of my coffee at home, so those wonderful people who provide me with my coffee beans need a mention. The problem, with all these awards, is knowing where to draw the line for the shortlist and this Award is no exception. I’ve visited lots of coffee shops/roasters this year, but I’ve made a decision, by-and-large, to stick to either roasters I’ve written about as roasters or coffee shops where the beans are roasted on site.

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2017 Awards – Best Cake

A bike, hanging on the wall of the Espresso Library in Cambridge.Welcome to the final 2017 Coffee Spot Awards shortlist of the day, the “Best Cake” Award, won in 2016 by The Espresso Library. Despite what it says on the tag line, the Coffee Spot’s not all about the coffee. After all, 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.

This is another of my favourite Awards and while I didn’t visit that many dedicated cake spots, I was nonetheless treated to some absolutely fantastic cake along the way, proving that, like good coffee, the more you look, the more good cake you find.

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