On Exeter’s Queen Street, next to Caffe Nero and just five doors down from the Boston Tea Party, you’ll find the delightful Devon Coffee. I’m not quite sure why I took so long to find it, other than the obvious excuse that it’s in Exeter and I live in Guildford. Even the Exeter excuse wears a bit thin when you consider that I’d previously made it as far as the Exploding Bakery (just up the street at Exeter Central Station) and the aforementioned Boston Tea Party. In my defence, when I was last in Exeter, Devon Coffee had only been open in its current guise for a month, but it’s not much of an excuse.
However, find it I did and it was the starting point of a day-long tour of some lovely coffee shops in Exeter which I’ll publish over the next few weeks. I have to say that I’d heard a lot about Devon Coffee and it more than lived up to expectations: it’s a lovely place and although it’s small, it doesn’t feel cramped. There’s excellent coffee and very fine pastries/cakes, all served by excellent staff. The only I things I didn’t sample were toasted sandwiches.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Having found Devon Coffee, I can confirm that it’s definitely worth the trip from Guildford. It’s not a huge place, but that only adds to the charm. The front window is taken up with a display of coffee and cakes (which, frankly, is the best thing you can do with a window). The tiny counter is immediately to your right as you come in, with just enough room for the till at the front, the espresso machine to the left and access to the cake in the window on the right. Given its small size, it’s impressive that as well as the usual espresso range, there’s a second grinder (decaf) and filter coffee, on offer either through the V60, or, if you ask nicely, the Clever Dripper.
There’s space for about 20 people in the rest of the shop which stretches back from the window. On the right, beyond the counter, are a pair of long benches with two four-person tables and one two-person table. On the left, two high tables project from the wall, complete with high chairs/stools. Right at the back are two more tables, each with its own little bench and a couple of chairs, one on the left and one on the right. Between these two tables is a frosted glass door that leads to the kitchen.
The interior is all wood, which adds to the atmosphere. Wooden floorboards, wooden planks on one wall, wooden panelling on the other, plus wooden benches, tables and chairs (I spotted one metal chair, which felt somewhat out of place). The ceiling (which is very high, adding to the sense of space) is whitewashed, as is the back wall.
The décor is minimalist, with a small shelf of coffee making equipment (hand-grinders, pour-over filters and coffee jugs) on the left and a very fine French clock towards the back. There’s also a set of certificates on the wall from Cornwall’s Origin (who supply all the coffee) certifying that everyone’s barista skills are up-to-date.
I started with a piccolo which was quite strong, with a hint of bitterness. It was also very short, a double shot with a small amount of milk in a standard espresso cup. With hindsight, I probably should have gone with something slightly longer, such as a flat white or just stuck with a straight espresso (although it was a bit too early in the morning for me to be drinking straight espresso). Learning from my mistakes, I followed that up with a decaf flat white, which in contrast was slightly too big: I think I am getting unnecessarily picky in my old age!
This was smooth and creamy, the coffee blending well with the milk. If I had infinite time to experiment, I’d have liked to try the decaf as a piccolo and the house-blend as a flat white. And had a cup of the filter and an espresso. And eaten all the cake. As it was, I had to settle for a very fine pain au chocolate. It was very light and delicate, with rich chocolate chunks: a very good way to get my morning underway.
A final note: Devon Coffee doesn’t have Wifi, but you can pick up service with the Cloud, which appropriately enough, comes from the Caffé Nero next door.
|88 QUEEN STREET • EXETER • EX4 3RP?|
|www.facebook.com/DevonCoffeeShop||+44 (0) 7796 678559|
|Monday||08:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Tables Outside|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 18:00||Food||Cake, Toasted Sandwiches|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Thursday||08:00 – 18:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Friday||08:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (via the Cloud)|
|Saturday||08:00 – 18:00||Power||Limited|
|Sunday||10:00 – 16:00||Mobile||3G, Voice|
|Chain||No||Visits||23rd January 2014|
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