Hunter Gatherer Coffee

Some lovely latte art in my flat white at Hunter Gatherer in Southsea.For a long time, speciality coffee in Portsmouth and Southsea was left to the pioneering few, including Canvas Coffee (Portsmouth) and Southsea Coffee Co (Southsea). Recently, however, this has changed, with several number, including Hunter Gatherer Coffee on Southsea’s Albert Road, entering the fray.

The labour of love of a fellow Brian, Hunter Gatherer was many years in the making. In an example of the supportive nature of the local coffee community, when Brian first had the idea for Hunter Gatherer, he knew he didn’t have the coffee know-how, so Canvas Coffee gave him a job, allowing him to gain the necessary skills. After two years at Canvas, Brian found the right location, Hunter Gatherer opening in September 2016.

Serving a house-blend from West Sussex’s Craft House Coffee, Hunter Gatherer also does pour-over, with one option from Craft House and another from a guest roaster, served through either V60 or Aeropress. There is also a brunch menu, now totally vegetarian/vegan, which is available until 3 pm each day. This seems surprising, given Hunter Gatherer’s small size, but appearances can be deceptive. It goes a long way back, with a large, basement-like rear section housing additional seating and the kitchen.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On a winter's evening on Albert Road in Southsea, Hunter Gatherer is a welcome sight.
  • When it's a bit warmer, you can sit outside on one of the two benches.
  • Don't forget to mind the step!
  • Inside, you'll find the counter on the left-hand side...
  • ... with the seating, in the form of a row of four tables, on the right.
  • The seating, seen from the back of Hunter Gatherer. There are plenty of power sockets.
  • There's one more seating area in the front, and that's off to your right as you come in...
  • ... where you'll find this little window bar.
  • And that's it for the front of Hunter Gatherer.
  • However, there's more! At the back, there's an opening in the wall.
  • Let's see what's back here, shall we?
  • Down three broad steps, a long, low, basement-like space stretches out ahead of you.
  • There are two spaces at the rear of Hunter Gatherer. This is the first, seen from the back.
  • There's a large, communal table with benches on the right-hand side...
  • ... while on the left, there's a row of tables...
  • ... with bookshelves above.
  • Another view of the first of the two rear spaces, right first...
  • ... and then left.
  • Down a second step, there's the final space.
  • This just has the one large, communal table with benches on the left...
  • ... while right at the back is the Hunter Gatherer kitchen.
  • Time to head on back to the counter...
  • ... all the way up at the front of Hunter Gatherer.
  • There's a few neat features to observe along the way, including this games station...
  • ... which is between the two spaces at the rear.
  • There's also the books above the tables on the left...
  • ... while rugs and cushions are provided for enhanced comfort.
  • Meanwhile, old coffee sacks are used to decorate the walls.
  • Hunter Gatherer is a very green space, with plenty of plants...
  • ... and an interesting ceiling at the back!
  • In the front, there are hanging baskets above the tables on the right...
  • ... along with some interesting coffee-related pictures.
  • There's not a huge amount of natural light, so here's the obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • Down to business. The generous counter dominates the front part of Hunter Gatherer.
  • There's a set of retail shelves between the window and the counter...
  • ... while the front of the counter houses a wide rage of cakes.
  • Or at least it would have, had I not come late on the first day after a holiday.
  • There are some more snacks around the other side of the counter...
  • ... while there are fresh juiices and smoothies should the fancy take you.
  • The till's at the front end of the counter, while the espresso machine and twin grinders...
  • ... are at the far end. One is for the house espresso, while the EK-43 is for filter .
  • The interesting mural on the espresso machine is all part of the Hunter Gatherer branding.
  • There are menus, by the way, in a basket on the front of the counter...
  • ... with details of the brunch offering. The coffee menu is chalked up above the counter.
  • Meanwhile there's a clipboard with the coffee choices on the counter.
  • The house coffee is from Crafthouse Coffee...
  • ... with its Industrial Blend.
  • While I was there, the guests were from Exeter's Crankhouse Coffee.
  • I had an excellent flat white with the house blend...
  • I'll leave you with the lovely latte art in my flat white.
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On the north side of Albert Road in Southsea, Hunter Gatherer has a modest storefront, with a central door recessed between two windows which slope in at about 30⁰. This creates a narrow, sheltered spot with enough space for two benches, one in front of each window. With its south-facing aspect, these can be quite the sun-trap, although not at four o’clock on a January afternoon, which is when I visited!

The space itself is an old second-hand bike shop, which had stood empty for some time, Brian cycling past it on his way to work in Canvas Coffee each day. When he got his hands on the keys, it was very dirty and oily, requiring a lot of work to get it up to scratch, although looking at the simple, uncluttered layout, with wooden floor boards and whitewashed walls/ceiling, you would never have guessed its original stage.

The front part of Hunter Gatherer is dominated by a large counter, set back from the window on the left-hand side, while the seating is on the right. There’s a two-person window bar, then, running the length of the right-hand wall, is a long, high-backed chipboard bench with four two-person tables. That’s it for the front part of Hunter Gatherer, creating a quiet, but friendly space, filled with the hum of conversation when I was there. According to Brian, it’s a favoured haunt of the laptop brigade and those looking to hold informal business meetings.

An open doorway in the middle of the back wall leads, via a short corridor and down three broad steps down to a basement-like rear. This consists of two spacious areas, with the semi-open kitchen right at the back and is very much a work in progress, with Brian doing most of the fitting out himself. Like the front part of Hunter Gatherer, the layout is simple and uncluttered, with the space having a very homely feel. The first of the two spaces has another row of tables against a wooden bench, only this one is against the left-hand wall. Meanwhile, on the right, there’s a large, communal table with a pair of benches for seating.

There’s no wall separating the two spaces at the back, just a single, low step marking the boundary, beyond which, things are even more open, with just a single large, communal table with a pair of benches on the left, perpendicular to the wall. This, Brian tells me, is favoured by those with young families and has deliberately been left open to allow space for prams/pushchairs.

Hunter Gatherer’s house espresso comes from Craft House Coffee, using its Industrial blend, a mix of 60% Brazil (Natural) and 40% Colombian (Washed). There’s also a couple of options on pour-over, a relatively new feature. Normally there is one option from Craft House, with another from a guest roaster. While I was there, stocks were rather depleted due to the Christmas break, so there was only the guest option, a washed Ethiopian from Crankhouse Coffee in Exeter.

I tried the Industrial, which Brian recommended either in milk or as a long black, so I went for my usual fall back, a flat white. This was excellent, a rich, full-bodied coffee, full of chocolate notes, that was in perfect harmony with the milk.

December 2018: Hunter Gatherer Coffee was a runner-up for the 2018 Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award.

249 ALBERT ROAD • SOUTHSEA • PO4 0JR +44 (0) 23 9261 0791
Monday 09:00 – 17:00 Roaster Craft House (espresso) + Craft House & Guests (filter)
Tuesday 09:00 – 17:00 Seating Window Bar, Tables
Wednesday 09:00 – 17:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 09:00 – 17:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 09:00 – 17:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 09:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 16:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits 3rd January 2018

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