Another year, another post wondering where all the time has gone! The Coffee Spot celebrated its sixth birthday on Friday, a milestone which took me even more by surprise than usual. I launched the Coffee Spot six years (and two days ago) on another Friday in September, 28th September 2012 (at 14.15 to be precise) with a vague idea that it might become a useful resource for coffee (shop) lovers and an entertaining way for me to spend (some of) my spare time. Little did I know just how much the Coffee Spot would come to define my life!
In the Coffee Spot’s sixth year, I published 219 times, covering 147 Coffee Spots of various sorts, with the remaining posts covering coffee events, roasters, my travels and the Coffee Spot Awards. I’ve been getting around even more than ever, with six major overseas trips, and a short jaunt to Amsterdam, leadings to a large increase in the number of Travel Spots I’ve published. Despite this travel, I only visited five countries outside the UK, including a first visit to Thailand, although I did visit the USA three times.
In turn, you’ve been visiting the Coffee Spot in ever greater numbers. In the last year, more than 91,000 people visited the Coffee Spot and between you, you’ve looked at almost 150,000 pages. So, thanks to everyone, whether you occasionally dip into the Coffee Spot, or read every single post/page. Without you, there really would be no point in my doing this.
You can read a review of the Coffee Spot’s sixth year after the gallery.
The Coffee Spot’s fifth year saw me travelling more than ever and my sixth year saw that trend continue. Sometimes I just long for a week at home!
I started the Coffee Spot’s sixth year with a long overdue first visit to the Lake District, where I popped in to see the wonderful Homeground Coffee + Kitchen, Carvetii Coffee Roasters and The Moon & Sixpence. Then I was off again on the last of three trips to Chicago, returning home just in time for the Manchester Coffee Festival in November. I also took the chance to see what was new in the Manchester coffee scene, which included some old friends under a new name at Forté Espresso Bar.
That wasn’t the end of my travels for 2017, because at the end of November, I was off again, this time for two weeks in China, split between Shanghai and Beijing, where I found lots of great coffee. I did squeeze in a little UK travel, including catching the likes of Coffee Lab, Salisbury and Providero, Llandudno Junction, but then it was the end of the year and time for the 2017 Coffee Spot Awards.
2018 got underway with my last trip as Caffeine Magazine’s café correspondent, which saw me heading down to Portsmouth. There were also a couple of important events. The first was that the campaign to ditch the disposable cup, which is something I’ve been going on about since 2017, received a major boost following media coverage of the proposed latte levy. The second important event was a much more personal one: the publication of my book, The Philosophy of Coffee.
Before long, I was off on another major US trip, this one taking in Florida and Northern Arizona, with stops in Miami and Phoenix along the way. I was briefly back in the UK in February, with just enough time to call in on Foundry Coffee and the Grasshopper Café before I was back in the US. This was another mammoth trip, starting in New England, and ending up back in Phoenix, with stops along the way in New York City, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Tucson.
I was back in the UK for the London Coffee Festival, then I off again in April, this time for a first ever visit to Thailand. I split my time between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, where I found thriving, home-grown speciality coffee scenes. Back in the UK, I had almost three months without having to fly anywhere. In May I caught the Caledonian Sleeper to Glasgow for the Glasgow Coffee Festival, with a quick tour of Glasgow’s southside coffee shops. In June, I was on the trains again, first to Birmingham for the Birmingham Coffee Festival and then catching the Eurostar to Amsterdam for the World of Coffee.
In July I had unexpected trip to Tokyo, which at least gave me a chance to check out the recent partnership between Union Hand-roasted and British Airways. On my return, I made a long-overdue visit to West London. Then September came around again and I was off to Chicago, followed by my mammoth Midwest road trip. And tomorrow it will be October and time to do it all again!
Here’s to another successful year!
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