Exe Coffee Roasters, just outside Exeter city centre, has a modest exterior behind which hides a surprisingly large coffee shop with a roastery in the basement and a brick-fired pizza oven in the back yard. Although it’s only been open since June 2015, in one form or another, Exe Coffee Roasters has been around for a long time. The owner, Steve, was the man behind Devon Coffee, still a fixture on Queen Street in the heart of Exeter, where it’s been for many years.
After years of running coffee events and Devon Coffee, Steve began roasting at the start of 2015, first with a hand-built roaster and now with the 12kg Probat you’ll find in the basement. Although still running coffee events, Devon Coffee was sold over the summer to allow Steve to concentrate on roasting.
Exe Coffee Roasters produces a seasonal espresso blend and two or three single-origins which are available through the V60 or Aeropress, with the option of a Chemex for groups. If you don’t fancy coffee, there’s loose-leaf tea, hot chocolate and a small selection of local craft beers and cider. Finally, there’s a similarly small selection of cake, toast and a choice of two toasties.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The modest exterior of Exe Coffee Roasters, at the western end of Heavitree Road in Exeter, hides an impressive interior. There’s a simple, square window with a doorway on the right, giving access to the actual door which opens in the right-hand wall at the front.
At first there doesn’t seem much, just a four-person window-bar at the front, two tables against the left-hand wall and a long bench along the right-hand wall, lined with four tables. Opposite them, occupying the back half of the left-hand wall, is the large counter, espresso machine to the fore, while beyond the counter, a long, thin niche seems to project from the back wall. This is occupied by a similarly long, thin table with benches on either side. In all, you could probably fit 20 people in if everyone squeezes up. It’s a beautiful interior, by the way, with exposed brick and gorgeous wooden floorboards and furniture, most of which was made by Steve himself out of various upcycled materials.
The first clue that there’s more to Exe Coffee Roasters than meets the eye comes if you make your way to the niche at the back, where a small window overlooks a flat roof and a yard below/behind that. This can be a little disconcerting considering that you’re on the ground floor… Another clue can be found at the back on the right, where a flight of stairs leads down, running along the right-hand wall, depositing you towards the front of a large basement. This currently houses the roaster and is also used for training courses, although by the time you read this, it may well have been kitted out with seating to provide some extra capacity.
The basement also provides access, through the back door, to the back yard. This is long and thin, with a newly-built brick-fired pizza oven right at the back. This is used on Friday afternoons/evenings, when Exe Coffee Roasters stays open late, serving pizza from noon.
When it comes to the coffee, Exe Coffee Roasters serves its seasonal Neighbourhood blend, which changes five or six times a year. This is backed up with two or three single-origins on filter. In keeping with a philosophy of having a selection favouring quality over quantity, there’s the Speak Easy and Cut Loose craft beers from local brewers, Powderkeg, and Sandford Orchards’ Devon Red cider, all on tap. This continues with the cake and even the toasties, where there’s a choice of just two, one of which is vegetarian (the choices were ham and cheese or mozzarella and pesto during my visit).
Naturally, I was drawn to the coffee, having a choice between a naturally-processed Peruvian or a washed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. In a nice touch, a handful of each of the beans, along with tasting and origin notes, are displayed on the counter. Since I don’t often get to try Peruvian pour-overs, I had that, from the La Fe San Juan farm in Chanchamayo province.
Made via the V60, it was served in a cup rather than the usual carafe. However, this didn’t affect the quality at all. One of the best-smelling coffees I’ve had, it more than lived up to expectations, being sweet and full-bodied, while as it cooled, more delicate flavours came through. All-in-all, quite heavenly!
December 2018: Exe Coffee Roasters has won the 2018 Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.
|19 HEAVITREE ROAD • EXETER • EX1 2LD|
|http://execoffeeroasters.co.uk||+44 (0) 7796 678559|
|Monday||08:00 – 16:00||Roaster||Exe Coffee Roasters (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 16:00||Seating||Tables, Window-Bar|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 16:00||Food||Cake, Toast, Toasties|
|Thursday||08:00 – 16:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 22:30||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||CLOSED||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Chain||No||Visits||7th August 2017|
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