Coffee Lab, Salisbury

The new Coffee Lab logo, taken from the counter in the Salisbury branch.Coffee Lab is the rapidly-growing mini-chain, spreading out from its home in Winchester across Hampshire and into Salisbury, led by head-barista and six-time UK Latte Art Champion, Dhan Tamang. When I visited in November, this was the westernmost outpost of the Coffee Lab empire, although since then the Gloucester branch has opened its doors. Meanwhile, its march southwards has only been stopped by the sea. The status of its eastern and northern borders remain unclear, but I expect news in the near future…

Meanwhile, back to Salisbury, where the Coffee Lab is tucked away on a busy corner on the evocatively-named Blue Boar Row, just to the north of Salisbury’s medieval centre. There’s seating outside on the broad pavement or inside in a modest ground floor space. The coffee, as ever, is from The Roasting Party, with two blends on espresso, the house-blend (Create) and Thrive (Heisenberg). You can also have filter through V60 or Aeropress, with a choice of two single-origins, each of the stores having their own selection.

There’s also a wide selection of tea and soft drinks, while if you’re hungry, there’s a modest selection of sandwiches (which can be toasted) and an excellent range of cakes.

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Boston Tea Party, Salisbury

The letters BTP (with the B in white, TP in blue) over the words Boston Tea Party (Boston in white, Tea Party in blue)Regular readers will know that I have a love affair with the Boston Tea Party, the West Country chain that started in Bristol in the late 1990s. Indeed, my first ever Coffee Spot was the original on Park Street. So, I thought it was about time I visited what is, quite possibly, the closest Boston Tea Party to my home town of Guildford. It also happens to be, I believe, the biggest and occupies the oldest building, the Grade 1 listed Old George Inn, which dates back to the early 1300s.

As with all the other Boston Tea Parties, it has taken an iconic building and made it its own, unique place. Simultaneously, however, it’s instantly recognisable as a Boston Tea Party, a trick that’s very hard to manage and looks effortless when it’s pulled off.

Sprawling over three floors of a magnificent, historic building, the Salisbury Boston Tea Party boasts over 200 seats upstairs alone, plus an attractive outdoor seating area on the pedestrianised High Street. There’s the usual coffee offering from Bristol-based Extract Coffee Roasters, tea from Bristol-based Canton Tea Co, oodles of cake and an excellent food menu based around several all-day breakfast options.

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