Today’s Saturday Supplement is the first in an occasional series called “Meet the Roaster”. I did cover a roaster, Leighton Buzzard’s House of Coffee last year, back when the Coffee Spot was young and the Saturday Supplement wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye. However, since the Coffee Spot’s focus is on places to drink coffee, rather than on how it’s produced, I’ve tended not to cover roasters.
That said, there are many wonderful small roasters out there and every now and then I find myself visiting one. So, I present the first “Meet the Roaster”, none other than Rave Coffee, who we met last month, when the Coffee Spot featured the café attached to Rave’s roastery in Cirencester.
That I went to Rave at all is down to Sharon, head box-packer and promoter-in-chief on twitter. Sharon arranged everything, handing me over to the owner, Rob, on arrival. I had a tour of the roastery, although “tour” might be overstating things: Rave fits nicely into a single industrial unit, going from green beans to bagged, roasted coffee via a series of stations around the room. It’s a little confusing to the untutored eye, but is actually a very smooth operation.
Tucked away on an industrial estate south of Cirencester is Rave Coffee, arguably serving the best coffee in Cirencester, if not the Cotswolds (I say arguably; before the arrival of Cotswold Artisan Coffee, it was hands-down, no-questions-asked the best. Rave is best known as a roaster, but less well-known is its small café. This serves the denizens of the industrial estate, and anyone else who can find it, with excellent takeaway coffee, Teapigs tea, hot chocolate and a limited range of cake.
Don’t come here expecting the full café experience: Rave’s licence is strictly takeaway service only. However, if you’re passing by and want a decent alternative to the nearby services on the A417) or don’t have the time/inclination to head into Cirencester proper to catch Cotswold Artisan Coffee, then Rave makes an excellent stopping off point on any road trip!
Cotswold Artisan Coffee in Cirencester hasn’t been around long, but it’s already created a bit of a stir. Not long after it opened at the end of August, the local paper ran a story reporting that the locals were up in arms about it. “Not another new coffee shop!” they were reportedly heard to say (well, tweet).
People of Cirencester! What are you talking about? This is not just “another new coffee shop”. It’s not something that can be lumped together with another branch of the ubiquitous chains (and heaven knows I walked past enough of those on my (short) journey from the car park). In Cotswold Artisan Coffee you have somewhere that would grace any town in the land, serving some of the best coffee there is, along with fabulous home-made cakes, all served in lovely surroundings.
With regular coffee from local roasters, Rave Coffee, and guests from London’s Union Hand-roasted and Shropshire’s Has Bean, the focus is clearly on the coffee. There’s bulk filter for those in a hurry, plus Aeropress to compliment the standard espresso-based coffee menu. For non-coffee drinkers, there’s award-winning hot chocolate and tea. And cakes. And toast!