Welcome to the next Coffee Spot Awards Shortlist for 2013, the “Most Passionate About Coffee” Award, which was won in 2012 by Brew Lab. For me, this is one of the most important awards, 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.
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are eight Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
I confess, I was taken by surprise by Edinburgh‘s Razzo Coffee. Sat in a prime tourist spot on St Andrew Square at the east end of Princes Street, I half expected it to be a volume producer of average coffee, but instead found a coffee passion from owner Paul to match anything in Edinburgh and beyond. Lovely coffee, lovingly prepared, Razzo Coffee is up there with the best of them.
A chance find on my New York City trip back in March, my first thought on seeing “I Am Coffee” was either it was going to be great or the owner had a lot of nerve. You can’t call yourself “I Am Coffee” and produce anything but exceptional coffee. Fortunately, Giovanni, the man behind I Am Coffee, walks the walk as well as talking the talk. I Am Coffee is also shortlisted for “Smallest Coffee Spot”
A little bit out of the way on Bristol‘s Park Row, Didn’t You Do Well (which would be the front-runner for the “Best Name For A Coffee Spot” Award if there was one) lives and breathes coffee. Let’s face it, anyone with a Slayer espresso machine (Brew Lab, last year’s winner, has a Slayer) has got to be passionate about coffee and so it is with owners Will and Ally. Didn’t You Do Well also has pastries from the lovely Hart’s Bakery. What more could you want?
Another Bristol Coffee Spot, another front-runner for the non-existent “Best Name For A Coffee Spot” Award, Full Court Press also lives and breathes coffee. Owner Mat is forever experimenting, rotating pairs of beans on filter and espresso every week or so. And pastries. From Hart’s Bakery.
Workhouse Coffee on Reading’s King Street might well be the most complete Coffee Spot: lovely setting, great coffee, fantastic staff, wonderful food. Greg, the owner, is as passionate about coffee as they come. Workhouse is also shortlisted for the “Best Filter Coffee” Award.
Not far from Brighton Station, you’ll find Coffee@33, which looks like a pop-up but has been there for five years. Here it really is all about the coffee; according to the baristas the owners would just make coffee for people and forget about charging if they could get away with it.
Another Slayer. Enough said… What, you want more? Well, Islington’s Coffee Works Project, as well as having a Slayer, also does a pretty decent pour-over. What else? It’s in a lovely setting, with a strange layout, split into lots of little spaces over a couple of levels (reminds me of Brew Lab in that respect). It has a fantastic garden too (only open in the summer) and if that wasn’t enough, the food is great, the staff friendly and, did I mention, it’s got a Slayer?
The latest production from Rob Dunne and Victor Frankowski, this is a coffee bar in a branch of Sharps Barbers. It’s a lovely setting and there’s a very shiny Kees van den Western Spirit Triplette espresso machine (look, I don’t just give awards based on the shiniest espresso machine, okay? Hang on though, that’s an idea for an award next year… “Shiniest Espresso Machine” anyone?). The passion for the coffee shines through here with regularly rotating beans, pour-over and filter options.
Special mention should also be made of Manchester’s North Tea Power who, despite the name, really care about the coffee as well; Lincoln’s Coffee Aroma; Newcastle’s Flat Caps Coffee, which could have been shortlisted for half a dozen awards; the lovely 6/8 Kafé in Birmingham; Islington’s Vagabond N7; Talkhouse Coffee on London’s Portobello Road; and South Coast Roast, extending the Café Boscanova empire to Bournemouth.
You can find all 20 of the 2013 Coffee Spot Awards here.
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