2018 Awards – Best Roaster/Retailer

The Carvetii Coffee Roasters' logo, with the slogan "Cumbria's Coffee Roasters".Next up is the 2018 Coffee Spot Award shortlist for “Best Roaster/Retailer”, which was won last year by Carvetii Coffee Roasters. Initially, this award was only open to retailers, but in 2014, I expanded it to include roasters, who now dominate the award. Contenders have either appeared in the Meet the Roaster series or they are cafe/roasters who I have visited during the year.

Although the Coffee Spot is mostly about places to have coffee, I still drink the majority of my coffee at home (actually, with the amount of travelling I now do, I’m not so sure this is true…), so those wonderful people who provide me with my coffee beans need a mention. The problem, as with all these awards, is knowing where to draw the line for the shortlist. I’ve visited lots of coffee shops/roasters this year, but I’ve made a decision, by-and-large, to stick to either roasters I’ve written about as roasters or coffee shops where the beans are roasted on site.

You can see the shortlist after the gallery.

  • Peixoto, from farm-to-cup in Chandler, Arizona, roasted in the back of the shop.
  • Parlor Coffee, a lovely roaster in Brooklyn with its own Tasting Room.
  • Ox Coffee, a long time favourite in Philadelphia, now roasting its own coffee.
  • VCR Bar & Showroom, roasting Vietnamese-grown coffee in Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Shin Coffee, another coffee shop / roastery in Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Sarah's Caring Coffee & The Coffee Bean, the first retailer on this year's shortlist.
  • White Label Coffee, roasting some awesome single-origin coffee in Amsterdam.
  • Koffee Mameya, a second retailer, this time from Tokyo.
  • Velodrome Coffee Co, a tiny roaster inside a tiny roastery in a coffee shop in Marquette.
  • Dispatch Coffee, Le Plateau, coffee shop, retailer and showroom all in one in Montreal.
  • Fuglen Coffee Roasters, roasting single-origins in Tokyo with a Norweigan twist.
  • Staying in Tokyo, the original Switch Coffee Tokyo in Meguro doubles as a coffee shop.
  • The Japanese offshoot of Sydney's Single O, the Tasting Bar is open at weekends.
  • Size S Coffee + Bakery, doing what it says in the name, plus roasting coffee, in Bangkok.
  • Coffee Monger's Roasting Company, just the second UK entry on this year's shortlist.
Peixoto, from farm-to-cup in Chandler, Arizona, roasted in the back of the shop.1 Parlor Coffee, a lovely roaster in Brooklyn with its own Tasting Room.2 Ox Coffee, a long time favourite in Philadelphia, now roasting its own coffee.3 VCR Bar & Showroom, roasting Vietnamese-grown coffee in Ho Chi Minh City.4 Shin Coffee, another coffee shop / roastery in Ho Chi Minh City.5 Sarah's Caring Coffee & The Coffee Bean, the first retailer on this year's shortlist.6 White Label Coffee, roasting some awesome single-origin coffee in Amsterdam.7 Koffee Mameya, a second retailer, this time from Tokyo.8 Velodrome Coffee Co, a tiny roaster inside a tiny roastery in a coffee shop in Marquette.9 Dispatch Coffee, Le Plateau, coffee shop, retailer and showroom all in one in Montreal.10 Fuglen Coffee Roasters, roasting single-origins in Tokyo with a Norweigan twist.11 Staying in Tokyo, the original Switch Coffee Tokyo in Meguro doubles as a coffee shop.12 The Japanese offshoot of Sydney's Single O, the Tasting Bar is open at weekends.13 Size S Coffee + Bakery, doing what it says in the name, plus roasting coffee, in Bangkok.14 Coffee Monger's Roasting Company, just the second UK entry on this year's shortlist.15
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There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

The Peixoto logo from the wall outside, both esposing the crop to cup philosophy and explaining how to pronouce the name: "Pay - Sho - Tow".Peixoto

Our first entry is from Peixoto, which roasts only roasts single-origins on a large, shiny roaster in the back of the store in Chandler in Arizona. A family-owned business, the family also has a coffee farm in Brazil! Also shortlisted for the Happiest Staff Award and the Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award.

A single-origin Guatemalan coffee extracting through a bottomless portafilter on the Kees van den Westen espresso machine at Parlor Coffee in Brooklyn.Parlor Coffee – Tasting Room

Parlor Coffee has a roastery in Brooklyn which it opens every Sunday for four hours. You can come along and try the coffee, chat with the barista (who was owner, Dillon, and watch the 22kg Probat roaster in action. The only shame is that it’s only open one day a week since it’s actually a lovely coffee shop in its own right!

 

Bags of coffee, roasted in-house for the first time at Ox Coffee, Philadelphia.

Ox Coffee is Roasting!

A long-time favourite of mine, Ox Coffee in  Philadelphia, starting roasting its own coffee, so I had to pop in on my return to the city earlier this year to sample the new coffee. Technically the roaster isn’t on site, thus breaking my own guidelines, but then again, I did say “by-and-large”. Ox Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Most Passionate About Coffee Award.

The Vietnam Coffee Republic logo: five coffee beans in a circle, taken from the front wall of the VCR Bar and Showroom.VCR Bar & Showroom

Vietnam Coffee Republic is small chain of two speciality coffee shops in Ho Chi Minh City which specialises in Vietnamese-grown coffee (both Arabica and Robusta), producing a variety of blends and single-origins. All the coffee is roasted on a (very) small roaster behind the counter of the Bar & Showroom. VCR Bar & Showroom has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Espresso Award.

A drawing of a Syphon, taken from the wall of Shin Coffee Roastery in Ho Chi Minh City.Shin Coffee, Hồ Huấn Nghiệp

Staying in Ho Chi Minh City, Shin Coffee is another coffee shop/roaster chain, albeit on a larger scale than the VCR Bar & Showroom.  What’s more, it roasts coffee from origins from around the world focusing on Arabica beans. All the coffee is roasted on a pair of roasters in the back room of the store on Hồ Huấn Nghiệp in the heart of the city. Shin Coffee is also on the shortlist for the Best Overseas Coffee Spot Award.

The Sarah's Caring Coffee logo.Sarah’s Caring Coffee & The Coffee Bean

Moving on, the first retailer on the shortlist is Sarah’s Caring Coffee and Sarah’s shop, The Coffee Bean in my home town of Holywell. Sarah sells coffee from a variety of origins to support her charity, The Cariad Project, while forging links with coffee farmers in Africa. Sarah’s Caring Coffee has also been shortlisted for this year’s Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award and the Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award.

My espresso, a single-origin Rwanda, roasted and served at White Label Coffee.White Label Coffee

Back to roasters and White Label Coffee in Amsterdam exclusively roasts single-origins, although only the filter roasts are carried out using the 6kg Giesen roaster at the back of the store on Jan Evertsenstraat (the rest of the coffee is roasted in a dedicated facilty a few doors away). White Label Coffee has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Overseas Coffee Spot Award.

Four of the potential 25 coffees on offer at Koffee Mameya in Tokyo.Koffee Mameya

The second retailer on our shortlist is Tokyo‘s Koffee Mameya, the successor to the legendary Omotesando Koffee. While it’s also a tasting bar, its main function is to sell coffee beans, with up to 25 different beans available from seven different roasters. Koffee Mameya has also been shortlisted for the Smallest Coffee Spot, Coffee Spot with the Best Basement and Best Takeaway Coffee Awards.

The front of Velodrome Coffee Co in Marquette, Michigan.Velodrome Coffee Co

Veldrome Coffee Co was a find on my recent  Midwest road trip, a lovely coffee shop and roastery in Marquette on the southern shores of Lake Superior. All the coffee is roasted on a tiny 1 kg gas-fired roaster located in an equally tiny roastery space off to the right of the main area, visible through a hatch in the wall. Veldrome Coffee Co has also been shortlisted for this year’s Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.

A lovely cortado is a ceramic bowl at Dispatch Coffee on Boulevard Saint Laurent in Montréal.Dispatch Coffee, Le Plateau

Dispatch Coffee started life in Montreal as a coffee van, before moving into bricks-and-mortar coffee shops and starting to roast its own coffee. The actual roastery/café is in Mile End, while the Le Plateau branch makes it onto this shortlist as a retailer, selling Dispatch’s excellent range of single-origin coffees. It’s also a lovely coffee shop in its own right.

The Fuglen logo, from the outside wall of Fuglen Coffee Roasters, Tokyo.Fuglen Coffee Roasters

Back in Tokyo and Norwegian/Japanese hybrid, Fuglen, has two coffee shops plus the roastery where all the coffee (exclusively single-origins) is roasted. When I visited in July, the roastery was open from Thursday to Sunday, but since the opening of Fuglen’s second store in Asasuka, it now acts purely as a roaster. Fuglen Coffee Roasters has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Espresso Award.

Lovely (and long-lasting) latte art in my cappuccino, made with the house-blend, at the Switch Coffee Tokyo roastery in Meguro.Switch Coffee Tokyo, Meguro

Staying in Tokyo, Switch Coffee has two branches, including the original in Meguro, which doubles as the roastery. Or more accurately, it’s a roastery which doubles as a coffee shop, with a small coffee counter at the front which got Switch Coffee a place on the shortlist for the Smallest Coffee Spot Award.

 

Beans & Dreams decoration, taken from the wall in the Single O roastery in Tokyo.Single O Tasting Bar

Single O is another Tokyo roaster with foreign links. In this case it’s an offshoot of Sydney’s Single O. Like Fuglen Coffee Roasters and Parlor Coffee, it’s primarily a roastery which opens its doors as a coffee shop, in this case over the weekend and on Monday’s. It’s a great chance to try some fabulous coffee and meet the person who roasted it! Single O is also shortlisted for the Best Outdoor Seating Award and the Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award.

A lovely cappuccino with some long-lasting latte art at Size S Coffee + Bakery in Bangkok.Size S Coffee + Bakery

Bangkok’s Size S is exactly what it says in the name: a coffee shop and bakery. And it also happens to be a roastery, roasting some fantastic coffee on a small roaster at the back of the store, producing house-blend and multiple single-origins from a range of origins, including Thailand.

 

The Coffee Monger's Roasting Company's logo from the wall of the roastery in Lymington, Hampshire.Coffee Monger’s Roasting Company

Finally, one of just two UK entries on this shortlist (a sign of how much I’ve been travelling rather than any lack of quality in the UK), there’s the Coffee Monger’s Roasting Company, a lovely roastery, retailer and coffee shop all in one. Also shortlisted for this year’s Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award.


And the winner is Koffee Mameya
Runners-up: Single O Tasting Bar and Parlor Coffee – Tasting Room

Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2018.


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