2018 Awards – Most Passionate About Coffee

The reflection of the skylight in the ceiling above, captured in my coffee at the back of Coffee + Beer in Bristol.Welcome to the next Coffee Spot Awards Shortlist for 2018, the “Most Passionate About Coffee” Award, which was won in 2017 by Coffee + Beer. For me, this is one of the most important awards, and also one of the hardest to judge, which is why I’ve left it to the last day.

It’s not just about the coffee, it’s also about people who love and care about coffee. Everyone who I’ve covered in the Coffee Spot is passionate about coffee and one of the great things is how much love there is out there, both for the coffee and for those who make it. However, those shortlisted for this award stand out from the crowd.

You can see the shortlist after the gallery.

  • 111 Roasting Works and its inspirational Tasting Room in Flagstaff, Arizona.
  • Milk Teeth Cafe & Stores, doing things differently in St Paul's, Bristol.
  • Foundry Coffee Coffee Shop, roasters turned baristas in Sheffield.
  • Ox Coffee, a long time favourite in Philadelphia, now roasting its own coffee.
  • Camper Coffee Co. and its speciality coffee wing in McCoys Arcade in Exeter.
  • The Good Coffee Cartel, coffee shop, roaster, and a whole lot more in Glasgow.
  • Melbourne in Lichfield, Bird Street, fueled by the passion of owner, Debs.
  • Rosslyn Coffee, more Aussie-influenced passion for great coffee.
  • The Black Chapel, which is on the shortlist as much for the owner, Ant, as anything.
  • Lazy Coffee Cart, with qudos for Matt and all those who make coffee in all weathers.
  • Buzz Coffee Roaster & Baker, a new coffee shop, but the same old passion.
  • Discourse Coffee and owner Ryan's passion for great coffee.
  • Faro, Luminari Del Caffe, bringing speciality coffee to Rome...
  • ... and staying in Rome, I was blown away by the passion at Roscioli Caffè Pasticceria.
  • And finally, Lowdown Coffee in Edinburgh, daring to do things differently.
111 Roasting Works and its inspirational Tasting Room in Flagstaff, Arizona.1 Milk Teeth Cafe & Stores, doing things differently in St Paul's, Bristol.2 Foundry Coffee Coffee Shop, roasters turned baristas in Sheffield.3 Ox Coffee, a long time favourite in Philadelphia, now roasting its own coffee.4 Camper Coffee Co. and its speciality coffee wing in McCoys Arcade in Exeter.5 The Good Coffee Cartel, coffee shop, roaster, and a whole lot more in Glasgow.6 Melbourne in Lichfield, Bird Street, fueled by the passion of owner, Debs.7 Rosslyn Coffee, more Aussie-influenced passion for great coffee.8 The Black Chapel, which is on the shortlist as much for the owner, Ant, as anything.9 Lazy Coffee Cart, with qudos for Matt and all those who make coffee in all weathers.10 Buzz Coffee Roaster & Baker, a new coffee shop, but the same old passion.11 Discourse Coffee and owner Ryan's passion for great coffee.12 Faro, Luminari Del Caffe, bringing speciality coffee to Rome...13 ... and staying in Rome, I was blown away by the passion at Roscioli Caffè Pasticceria.14 And finally, Lowdown Coffee in Edinburgh, daring to do things differently.15
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There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

My Colombian Los Naranjos through the V60, served in a carafe, mug on the side, at 111 Roasting Works.111 Roasting Works – Tasting Room

I never expected to find anything as wonderful as the Tasting Room at 111 Roasting Works in Flagstaff, which is what won it a spot on the shortlisted for the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award. However, I was also struck by the passion for great coffee, particularly from my barista, Jacob, and his three kettle technique for making pour-over at an altitude of 2,000m!

The Milk Teeth logo from the chalkboard just inside the door at Portland Square.Milk Teeth Café & Stores

Milk Teeth Café & Stores in Bristol is pretty much the epitome of the neighbourhood coffee shop, which is why it was shortlisted for the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award. What struck me was the passion of the owner, Josh. For him, making excellent coffee is a given, but he wants Milk Teeth to be much more than that, believing that all business can (and should) be carried out in a socially-conscious way.

My lovely flat white made with the "Comfort" beans at Foundry Coffee Roasters in Sheffield.Foundry Coffee

The first coffee shop of old friends, Sheffield’s  Foundry Coffee Roasters, this is an amazing coffee shop, with the passion of the owners, Lee and Callum, shining through everything that they do. This extends to the wonderful staff as well. Foundry Coffee also shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.

 

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, which is excellent news for owners, Max and Will. I love what they have done with Ox and have watched the coffee shop evolve and grow over the years as Max and Will pour themselves and their love for coffee into Ox. Ox has also been shortlisted for the Best Roaster/Retailer Award.

The front of Camper Coffee Co. in McCoys Arcade, Exeter, with both door (right) and window (left) open to the courtyard.Camper Coffee Co.

Camper Coffee Co. started life as a small fleet of mobile coffee vans, but the bricks-and-mortar store, in McCoys Arcade, was described to me by one of the baristas as the speciality coffee wing of Camper. Showcasing the output local roaster Roastworks on espresso, this is joined by a guest, plus two more on filter. Camper Coffee Co. has also been shortlisted for the Best Outdoor Seating Award.

My espresso and batch-brew, both served in ceramic cups, handmade on-site at The Good Coffee Cartel, with a tin of the Costa Rican single-origin beans behind .The Good Coffee Cartel

I’ve known Todd and Courtney, the pair behind The Good Coffee Cartel since their days working together at the now defunct Avenue Coffee Roasting Co. The Good Coffee Cartel is many things: a roaster of some excellent coffee, a fantastic coffee shop and a ceramics workshop. The Good Coffee Cartel is also shortlisted for the Best Espresso and Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Awards.

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

Melbourne in Lichfield was set-up by Australian owner, Debs, because she couldn’t find decent coffee in her adopted home town of Lichfield. Her enthusiasm is infectious, spreading through everything at both the original branch on Bolt Court and this, the second branch on Bird Street. Melbourne in Lichfield (both branches) have also been shortlisted for the Happiest Staff and Most Popular Coffee Spot Awards.

The clock at Rosslyn Coffee where it's always coffee time.Rosslyn Coffee

Another coffee shop with Australian links, Rosslyn Coffee is a little different. Aussie owned/inspired cafes are often known for their brunches as much, if not more than, their coffee. At Rosslyn, the focus is almost exclusively on the coffee, combined with Aussie hospitality. There’s a bespoke house-blend espresso, roasted by Modern Standard, with guest options from some of the country’s best roasters. Also on the Most Popular Coffee Spot shortlist.

An espresso at The Black Chapel in Wandsworth, pulled on a 1958 Faema Lambro.The Black Chapel

This award is as much for The Black Chapel’s erstwhile owner, Kiwi barista, Ant, as it is for The Black Chapel itself. Ant has an uncompromising passion for great coffee and I wish him well in his future ventures. The Black Chapel has also been shortlisted for the Smallest Coffee Spot and Best Outdoor Seating Awards.

 

A lovely flat white in my Global WAKEcup coffee mug, made with a Colombian single-origin from Curve Coffee Roasters by Matt at The Lazy Coffee Cart.Lazy Coffee Cart

I have immense respect for anyone who works in speciality coffee, and in particular for anyone who works outside, pulling excellent espresso shots, all year round in all weathers. One such person is Matt, who I first met in 2016 when he was in charge of the CanDo Coffee kiosk in Paddington. Now he’s running his own cart, The Lazy Coffee Cart, also shortlisted for the Best Takeaway Coffee Award.

A lovely shot of espresso in an old Buzz Killer Espresso cup, made with the NCK blend at Buzz Coffee & Baker.Buzz Coffee Roaster & Baker

I first came across Buzz Killer Espresso, the forerunner of Buzz Coffee Roaster & Baker in Chicago in 2016. Even then, the passion of the owners (I met the roaster, Tim, at the old branch, while I met Agnes, another of the owners, at the new branch) shone through everything they did. The new branch replaced the old one in 2017 when it turned out to be uneconomical to repair.

The sign hanging outside Discourse Coffee in Sister Bay, Door County.Discourse Coffee

I have a soft spot for top-notch coffee shop in out of the way places, which is what got Discourse Coffee a spot on the shortlist for the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award. However, Discourse, and its owner, Ryan, is much more than that. Rarely have I met anyone with more passion for great coffee, constantly playing with extractions and flavours, which won it a spot on the Best Espresso  Award shortlist.

Detail of the wall art in the back room of Faro in Rome, showing part of coffee's journey from plant to cup. Here the coffee is being shipped from origin.Faro, Luminari Del Caffè

Italy may be known as the country that invented espresso (as told in my book, The Philosophy of Coffee), it’s not known as a hotbed of speciality coffee. So it takes someone pretty special to open a speciality coffee shop in Rome, particularly if you’re then going to stock 16 different coffees drawn from seven of the best roasters across Europe. So here’s to Faro, Luminari Del Caffè.

A single espresso in a classic cup at Roscioli Caffè Pasticceria in Rome.Roscioli Caffè Pasticceria

Staying in Rome, I was blown away by the passion of the staff at Roscioli Caffè Pasticceria, particularly when it came to pour-over, where my friend Amanda and I were treated to a real show. If only everyone did coffee like this! Roscioli Caffè Pasticceria was also shortlisted for the Best Cake Award.

 

My pour-over of a Washed Kenyan from Morgon Coffee Roasters served at Lowdown Coffee in Edinburgh.Lowdown Coffee

I’ve known Paul, the owner of Edinburgh‘s Lowdown Coffee, for almost as long as I’ve been doing the Coffee Spot. Throughout that time, I’ve been struck by his dedication to great coffee, and his new coffee shop, Lowdown Coffee, is no different, daring to do things differently. Lowdown Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Filter Coffee and Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Awards.


And the winner is Discourse Coffee
Runners-up: Lowdown Coffee and The Good Coffee Cartel

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


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