2018 Awards – Happiest Staff

The front door of Westmoreland Coffee on the corner of Westmoreland Road in Harrogate.I present the final shortlist of the day, which is for another of my favourite Coffee Spot Awards, that of “Coffee Spot with the Happiest Staff”. Last year it was won by Westmoreland Speciality Coffee. In my opinion, staff are probably the most over-looked part of any Coffee Spot. Good staff can make a place and bad staff, no matter how great the coffee and wonderful the location, can kill a place.

Everywhere that features in the Coffee Spot has great staff, but these were exceptional, with some infectiously happy staff. However, this award isn’t just for happy staff; it’s for any staff who go that extra mile to make their coffee shop a special place.

You can see the shortlist after the gallery.

  • Providero, Llandudno Junction, with a warm, Welsh welcome.
  • Peixoto, providing outstanding service in Chandler, Arizona.
  • Party on Pavilion, putting the P into Party.
  • Cafe Integral, Elizabeth Street, more exemplary service, this time in New York City.
  • Melbourne in Lichfield, Bird Street, taking the lead from owner Debs.
  • Melbourne in Lichfield, Bolt Court, the original and still the friendliest :-)
  • Surrey Hills Coffee, Jeffries Passage, keeping smiling despite this summer's move.
  • About Life Coffee Brewers, taking the service up a notch in Tokyo...
  • ... while Sarutahiko Coffee Ebisu took it up another notch as well.
  • More exemplary service from Big Shoulders's Gold Coast branch in Chicago.
  • Little Yellow Pig, a warm, family-friendly welcome to Hoole, Chester.
  • Just Between Friends Coffee. With a name like that, you can't go wrong!
  • Heart & Graft Coffee Shop, infected by the madness that is James & Sean.
  • Lemana Coffee & Kitchen, where the new owner has kept up the friendly welcome.
  • We end in Glasgow with Toro Coffee, and wonderful owners, Ross and Gill.
Providero, Llandudno Junction, with a warm, Welsh welcome.1 Peixoto, providing outstanding service in Chandler, Arizona.2 Party on Pavilion, putting the P into Party.3 Cafe Integral, Elizabeth Street, more exemplary service, this time in New York City.4 Melbourne in Lichfield, Bird Street, taking the lead from owner Debs.5 Melbourne in Lichfield, Bolt Court, the original and still the friendliest :-)6 Surrey Hills Coffee, Jeffries Passage, keeping smiling despite this summer's move.7 About Life Coffee Brewers, taking the service up a notch in Tokyo...8 ... while Sarutahiko Coffee Ebisu took it up another notch as well.9 More exemplary service from Big Shoulders's Gold Coast branch in Chicago.10 Little Yellow Pig, a warm, family-friendly welcome to Hoole, Chester.11 Just Between Friends Coffee. With a name like that, you can't go wrong!12 Heart & Graft Coffee Shop, infected by the madness that is James & Sean.13 Lemana Coffee & Kitchen, where the new owner has kept up the friendly welcome.14 We end in Glasgow with Toro Coffee, and wonderful owners, Ross and Gill.15
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There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

A hand-drawn picture of Providero's old Citroen van from the wall of the store in Llandudno Junction.Providero, Llandudno Junction

Providero started life as an old Citroën van and Llandudno Junction is its first bricks-and-mortar store. As lovely as the coffee shop itself is, the staff are even lovelier. You can sit downstairs and chat with them, or head upstairs where you’ll find lots more tables. Providero, Llandudno Junction, has also been shortlisted for the both the Best Cake and Best Espresso Awards.

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

There are many wonderful things about Peixoto. For example, it was shortlisted for both the Best Roaster/Retailer Award and the Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award. However, it gets the nod here for its incredible friendly and helpful staff (and thanks for looking after my jumper!).

Some lovely latte art in an equally lovely piccolo made with the Party Blend at Party on Pavilion, London and served in a glass on a black saucer.Party on Pavilion

The first coffee shop of Winchester-based The Roasting Party, Party on Pavilion has inherited the infectious friendliness of Kirby and Wes, the Aussie duo behind The Roasting Party. As a result, you’ll be sure of a warm welcome!

Party on Pavilion has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Physical Space and Best Filter Coffee Awards.

Part of the menu board from Cafe Integral on Elizabeth Street in NYC, showing the filter options.Café Integral, Elizabeth Street

New York City has (in my opinion) for being unfriendly, but nothing could be further from the truth at Café Integral. A family-owned company, I’ve always been warmly welcomed by the staff, both here and in its other branches. Café Integral has also been shortlisted for both the Best Overseas Coffee Spot and Best Espresso Awards.

 

The painting of a chimp from Melbourne in Llichfield, Bird Street, who lives over the fireplace.Melbourne in Lichfield, Bird Street

The second Melbourne in Lichfield, this is the big sibling to the original on Bolt Court. However, despite being much, much larger and spread over multiple rooms, the same friendliness that defined the original remains, led by owner, Debs. Melbourne in Lichfield, Bird Street, has also been shortlisted for this year’s Most Passionate About Coffee and Most Popular Coffee Spot Awards.

My espresso from Melbourne in Lichfield, Bolt Court: Genesis, a single-origin Costa Rican, roasted by Union.Melbourne in Lichfield, Bolt Court

Unsurprisingly, the original Melbourne in Lichfield, a tiny kiosk on Bolt Court has also made it onto this shortlist. I was expertly served, and given a warm welcome, by Sophie (who is now in Lund, Sweden, studying for a Masters degree). Melbourne in Lichfield, Bolt Court, has also been shortlisted for both the Smallest Coffee Spot and Best Espresso Awards.

Details from the A-board outside the new home of Surrey Hills Coffee on Jeffries Passage in Guildford.Surrey Hills Coffee, Jeffries Passage

Surrey Hills Coffee started life on Chapel Street in Guildford, but over the summer moved to a new, bigger space on Jeffries Passage. The staff at Surrey Hills have always been excellent and that was exemplified by how many of the staff pitched in to fit out the new space in record time. While I don’t spend a lot of time in Guildford these days due to all my travelling, I always get a warm welcome whenever I go in and it’s always great to see familiar faces behind the counter. Surrey Hills Coffee is also on the  Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award shortlist.

Detail taken from the menu board outside About Life Coffee Brewers in ShibuyaAbout Life Coffee Brewers

I’ve always been impressed by the levels of service in Tokyo‘s coffee shops, but About Life Coffee Brewers took it up a notch, helped by the fact I went there every day for a week in July. About Life Coffee Brewers has also been shortlisted for both the Smallest Coffee Spot and Best Takeaway Coffee Awards.

 

One of the lovely espresso cups at Sarutahiko Coffee EbisuSarutahiko Coffee Ebisu

Another Tokyo coffee shop taking service to another level is Sarutahiko Coffee. At the Ebisu branch, you’re welcomed when you enter and thanked when you leave. The coffee is excellent, but it was the staff that kept me coming back. Sarutahiko Coffee, Ebisu has also made it onto the shortlist for this year’s Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Award.

A gorgeous espresso, made with the Big Shoulders house-blend, at the Gold Coast branch.Big Shoulders, Gold Coast

Chicago’s Big Shoulders was a new name to me this year, but it’s been going (as a roaster) for nine years ago. I briefly met the owner, Tim Coonan, at the Big Shoulders branch, but I was equally taken by the rest of staff who provided me with exemplary service, despite not knowing who I was.

 

A shot of Dark Arts Coffee's Lost Highway single-origin espresso in a gorgeous cup at Little Yellow Pig in Hoole, Chester.Little Yellow Pig

I’m somewhat embarrassed that it took me about four years to make it out to Hoole in Chester to visit Little Yellow Pig. A wonderfully friendly brunch spot with excellent coffee, the tone is set by the owners, who you’ll find there every day. Little Yellow Pig has also been shortlisted for the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award.

 

A lovely Assembly espresso (a washed El Salvador) in a Kaffeeform cup, made from recylced coffee grounds, at Just Between Friends Coffee in Manchester.Just Between Friends Coffee

A relative newcomer to Manchester‘s growing speciality coffee scene, the clue is in the name. Just Between Friends is sufficiently small that you really have to be friendly with the staff (and they with you) since there’s no escape! Ever better is that you’re pretty much guaranteed a warm welcome, whether its from the owner, or, as it was when I visited, by one of her staff.

Part of the upstairs seating at the Heart & Graft Coffee Shop in Salford.Heart & Graft Coffee Shop

I’ve long been a fan of Manchester-based roaster,  Heart & Graft, partly because of the infectious personalities of owners James and Sean. This has been passed onto the Heart & Graft Coffee Shop where I was well looked after by Ashleigh and Josh, both of whom recognised me even though we’d never met. Heart & Graft Coffee shop has also been shortlisted for the Best Physical Space and Best Breakfast Awards.

The Lemana Coffee & Kitchen logo from the sign on the wall at the end of Madeira Mews in Lymington.Lemana Coffee & Kitchen

I had a similar experience at Lemana Coffee & Kitchen in Lymington, where barista Jass recognised me. I’d been a little worried about Lemana, an old favourite that had changed ownership this year, but I needn’t have. The new team is just as friendly! Lemana Coffee & Kitchen has also been shortlisted for the Best Outdoor Seating Award.

The Toro Coffee logo, taken from the sign outside the shop on Pollockshaws Road.Toro Coffee

Our final entry comes from Glasgow and newcomer, Toro Coffee, where you’ll be assured of a warm welcome from owners Ross and Gill, who’ll you’ll find behind the counter. Toro Coffee has also been shortlisted for both the Best Filter Coffee and Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Awards.

 


A special mention needs to go to the following:

111 Roasting Works – Tasting Room, particularly for the warm welcome from Jacob.
Vice City Bean, a friendly welcome in Miami
Spitfire Coffee, extending the hand of hospitality in New Orleans
Cartel Coffee Lab, Phoenix Sky Harbor, where, despite being busy, the staff had so much time for me
Cottontree Coffee Roasters and the lovely owners, Fai (Cotton) and Ton (Tree)
Monks Coffee Roasters and the ultra-friendly and unflappable staff
Flat White Café who treated me like a local
Lattest another awesome example of Japanese service in Tokyo
Verve Omotesando where I was instantly recognised between visits (3 months apart)
Stockholm Roast / The Tobacco Stand, another friendly Tokyo welcome
The Scandinavian Coffee Pod, warm and welcoming in Cheltenham
Metal Hands Coffee Co, providing some excellent service in Beijing


And the winner is Heart & Graft Coffee Shop
Runners-up: Sarutahiko Coffee Ebisu and Toro Coffee

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


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2 thoughts on “2018 Awards – Happiest Staff

  1. Pingback: 2018 Awards – Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award | Brian's Coffee Spot

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