The last of today’s 2018 Coffee Spot Awards shortlists is the “Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot”. In 2017 this went to The Moon & Sixpence and it celebrates those Coffee Spots which are firmly rooted in, and which serve, their local communities. Unsurprisingly, the shortlist contains some of my favourite Coffee Spots of the year, which are often slightly off the beaten track.
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
Part of the pioneering Panther Coffee coffee shop/roastery chain in Miami, the Coconut Grove is off the beaten (tourist) track and is much more orientated to the local community than, say, the original in Wynwood, which gets plenty of tourists through its doors. The result is a more relaxed vibe, but still with the excellent coffee, of course! Panther Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.
Milk Teeth Café & Stores in Bristol is pretty much the epitome of the neighbourhood coffee shop. Located in the unfashionable (for trendy coffee shops) area of Saint Paul’s, the owner lives a couple of streets away, while the coffee shop itself does its best to use local suppliers and support local business, including using Milk Teeth to provide micro-finance to local start-ups. Milk Teeth is also on the Most Passionate About Coffee shortlist.
Back in Miami and the wonderful Vice City Bean, another element of Miami’s small but growing speciality coffee community. Although it’s just a 15-minute walk from the art district of Wynwoood, it’s a very different part of the city, much quieter and more residential, leading to a much more relaxed atmosphere. Vice City Bean has also made it onto the shortlist for this year’s Best Overseas Coffee Spot Award.
Once again we return to Bristol, this time to the Elemental Collective, which is many things to many people. As well as a coffee shop, it’s a greengrocers, selling fresh fruit and vegetables, a bakers, loaded with freshly-baked bread and pastries, plus a store, stocked with local produce, including milk and eggs.Finally, it’s a roastery, home to Triple Co Roast. Elemental Collective is also on the shortlist for the Best Physical Space Award.
Staying in the UK, Southsea’s Hunter Gatherer Coffee is firmly routed in its community, drawing customers from across the local area who use it for anything from business meetings (which tend to happen in the front) and play groups (which happen in the large, basement-like back room which saw Hunter Gathering appearing on this year’s shortlist for Coffee Spot with the Best Basement).
If I said Cherry Espresso Bar in New Orleans looked like a “typical American coffee shop”, that’s a testament to its relaxed, welcoming feel. While I was there, it was full of people enjoying a Sunday afternoon, from students working on their laptops to families taking afternoon coffee. Away from the city’s main tourist areas, it’s very much a neighbourhood joint.
Back in the UK, It All Started Here is, appropriately enough, one of the first (if not the first) speciality coffee shops on Glasgow‘s southside. Located on a quiet residential street, it was, for a long time, only open on Fridays and at the weekend, although earlier this year, it took to opening during the week. A true multi-roaster, there’s a different roaster every week! It All Started Here has also been shortlisted for the Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award.
Durham’s Flat White Café has been around for about as long as the Coffee Spot, plying its trade from a small but delightful shop tucked away off a courtyard down a steeply-curving side street. In a town with a high percentage of tourists and students, Flat White Café had the feel of somewhere beloved by the locals who filled its many tables, inside and out, while I was there. Also shortlisted for the Best Physical Space Award.
I discovered Kaido Books & Coffee, in a lovely, quiet residential area just south of Tokyo‘s Shinagawa Station, on my first trip to Japan in 2017, returning again this year. It’s a lovely spot, coffee shop downstairs, and bookshop/library upstairs.
Back in the UK, Tottenham’s Craving Coffee is not just a coffee shop. It’s a bar and community hub, while three nights a week, it transforms itself into an evening social, hosting a different pop-up each week. Just for good measure, it’s also an art gallery. Craving Coffee was also shortlisted for this year’s Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot and Best Cake Awards.
Teddington, in the London Borough of Richmond, is home to Woof Coffee. Located on the busy High Street, it’s a friendly, welcoming spot, serving the ubiquitous Redchurch blend from Allpress, along with a different guest roaster every month. Woof also works with a local tea merchant who sources a wide range of loose-leaf tea exclusive to Woof.
Fade to Black, in Hanwell, in West London, is a lovely spot on a bright, sunny corner. Sadly the wonderful basement is open to the coffee-drinking public, but it is used for community events such as yoga classes, getting Fade to Black the nod for this shortlist instead.
Little Yellow Pig has been a fixture in Hoole, east of Chester, since 2014, slowly expanding as the years have gone by to swallow up the business next door. These days, Little Yellow Pig has three front doors (only two of which are in use). As well as serving excellent coffee, it’s also a popular brunch spot, particularly at the weekend when it’s crammed with local families. Little Yellow Pig has also been shortlisted for this year’s Happiest Staff Award.
I first knew Paquebot Mont-Royal as Café Plume, in Montréal’s in Mont Royal district when I visited in March 2013. Although it has changed hands, it was still going strong, when I visited in October this year, the new owner, Paquebot, remaining faithful to the original’s neighbourhood ethos. Paquebot Mont-Royal has also been shortlisted for the Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award.
Our final entry is Siop Shop, a small slice of Wales in Manchester, fostering a sense of community amongst the city’s Welsh inhabitants (plus the occasional visitor like me). It’s very much an unpretentious coffee shop, serving some excellent coffee and (which is what made its name) so awesome doughnuts, all fried fresh on-site every morning. Siop Shop has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Cake Award.
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2018.
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