The last of today’s 2016 Coffee Spot Awards shortlists is the “Best Saturday Supplement” Award, won in 2015 by Cup North. The Saturday Supplement is a place where I can write about coffee, coffee-related events, places which I liked but which didn’t really fit into the category of a Coffee Spot and frankly, anything else that takes my fancy! This Award recognises the best of this year’s Saturday Supplements.
Just so we’re clear on this, the Award is not about my writing (that would be far too self-serving). It’s about the actual subjects that I’m writing about, which this year included coffee festivals, magazines, books, and going for dinner, all of which makes the comparison a little tricky, but that’s my problem!
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are 12 Saturday Supplements on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
Let’s get things underway with Coffee with Luke, a Brewing Masterclass I attended with my friend Luke. Sadly, due to the pressures of his day job, Luke no longer has time to run his masterclasses, which is a shame, since I learn a lot from my two hours. Even if you are an experienced coffee brewer, I find that courses like these always teach you something new or give you something to think about.
A perennial favourite, Caffeine Magazine was back again this year, in as good form as ever. Of course, I do have an interest to declare: Ever since Issue 4, I’ve written the “Neighbourhood Watch” feature found at the back of each issue. Strangely, I missed one this year, when, instead of being sent to Dublin, Caffeine Magazine got me to write an article on decaf instead. Do you think someone was trying to tell me to calm down?
My friend Cherie Jerrard is a talented artist and illustrator who sketches every day life in coffee shops. Earlier this year she held an exhibition at the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse which I went along to cover. Cherie’s artwork would grace the walls of any coffee shop (she has a huge mural up at Grindsmith Deansgate) and she will also do pieces on commission.
2016 saw the awarding of the first ever Beyond the Bean Barista Bursary, a support package designed to help one talented barista compete in the UK Barista Championships (and beyond). I was part of the judging panel which met in January to determine who would receive the first ever bursary. That honour went to Diana from Taylor Street Baristas and Diana has now joined the judging panel for the 2017 Beyond the Bean Barista Bursary.
Perhaps the single most influential event I went to in 2017 was the talk given by Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood at to Modern Society about speciality coffee in capsules. This talk completely changed my mind about the subject and made me realise that there’s a large, untapped market out there for speciality coffee. The Speciality Coffee in Capsules article is also shortlisted for the Most Popular Coffee Spot Award.
Another perennial favourite, the London Coffee Festival was back again this year, bigger and better than ever before. Naturally, I was there to cover it, once again producing a series of articles from the cups through to the coffee, taking in subjects as diverse as automated pour-over machines along the way.
Another perennial favourite, I was back at the Caffè Culture show where I was judging the Caffè Culture Awards “Best New Drink Product” for the second year running, which this year went to the Himalayan Coffee & Tea from Himalayan Treasures, helping the coffee farmers of Nepal.
It’s great to be on the start of something, a case in point being when Joe, of Flat Caps Coffee in Newcastle, invited me along before the launch of his Kickstarter. The Flat Caps Kickstarter article is also shortlisted for the Most Popular Coffee Spot Award.
This was my first World of Coffee Event and provided me with a good excuse to head back to Dublin. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and you can be sure that I’ll be back this year when the World of Coffee returns, this time heading to Budapest. As is the case with these events, I produced a number of articles covering aspects such as the equipment and a run-down of all the roasters I met.
I don’t usually write about coffee equipment, but I was very taken with my new gooseneck kettle (a gift, it must be admitted, from Bonavita). This has revolutionised my pour-over technique, so much so that it has seen me dusting off several pour-over filter cones that had lain unused for more than a year. Now I don’t know where I’d be without my trusty gooseneck kettle!
As well as writing for Caffeine Magazine, I also write a column for the online publication, Caffè Culture Connect. These are more trade-orientated and allow me to give my views (as a customer) on various issues surrounding the coffee industry.
Finally, another perennial favourite is Cup North, which was back this year, rebranded as the Manchester Coffee Festival. Another that was bigger and better than before, I thoroughly enjoy my annual visits to Manchester. The Manchester Coffee Festival is also shortlisted for the Best Espresso Award (although that has a lot to do with Ancoats Coffee).
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2016.
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