Blueprint Coffee & Books

The Blueprint Coffee & Books logo taken from a tote bag in the shop in Whitstable.Blueprint Coffee & Books, in Whitstable, is at the northern end of Oxford Street, a stone’s throw from Oxford Street’s other speciality coffee shop, Garage Coffee. When it comes to bragging rights, however, Blueprint wins hands down, having started in 2013, with the shop opening in 2016. Not that I can claim anything in the way of moral superiority, having only heard of it a couple of years ago when Luke, who I knew from Water Lane Coffee in Canterbury, took over as manager. The loss, naturally, is all mine.

Blueprint Coffee & Books does exactly what the name suggests. Spread across two rooms, it’s a small bookshop with a select range of titles, while the coffee all comes from London’s Alchemy. There’s a concise espresso-based menu, the coffee served in three sizes: 4, 6 and 8oz, either with or without milk. You can choose from the house coffee, a guest or decaf, while for filter coffee, the options are V60 or Aeropress, each with its own single-origin, Blueprint also offering a Chemex for two.

If coffee’s not your thing, then there’s Blendsmiths hot chocolate, Jing Tea and soft drinks, while if you’re hungry, Blueprint has a small selection of cakes.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Heading into Whitstable, this lovely, old building is on the left-hand side of Oxford Street...
  • ... while this is the view if you are heading out of town.
  • And here's the view head-on, the view you'll get coming from the station.
  • It is, of course, home to Blueprint Coffee & Books, which spans both ground floor rooms.
  • The A-board, keeping it simple.
  • The sign has a similar ethos, although check out the down pipe behind it, dated 1805.
  • The door leads into the left-hand of the two rooms, with a three-person window-bar...
  • ... at the front, and bookshelves along the left-hand wall.
  • Finally, the counter occupies the back of the room.
  • A large, rectangular opening to the right leads into the second room.
  • There's a low coffee table with a wooden bench and two stools against the back wall...
  • ... which you can see more clearly in this picture.
  • Next to this, in front of the fireplace in the right-hand wall, is this four-person table...
  • ... while there's another three-person window-bar at the front.
  • I didn't get to try out those stools, but they look really comfortable!
  • There are more bookshelves in here, including these against the party wall...
  • ... and these between the fireplace and the window.
  • Finally, it's not just books that are for sale: there's also coffee and coffee-making kit.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • Check out this awesome old stove in the fireplace. Sadly I don't think it's in use.
  • The flowers in the window are another nice touch.
  • Tote bag, anyone?
  • Blueprint's philosophy.
  • Down to business. The espresso machine and its two grinders are on the left...
  • ... with details of the guest espresso on the second grinder.
  • There's an EK43 grinder (decaf and filter) on the work surface behind the counter.
  • The espresso options: the house espresso (Opus blend) and guest (Blanca Rosa Melgar).
  • There's more detail about the coffees (including the filter options) on the wall to the right.
  • There's also a selection of cake in a large display case at the right-hand end of the counter.
  • I selected this lovely raspberry and almond friand...
  • ... which I paired with a shot of the guest espresso, served on a tray...
  • ... with a glass of water on the side, which is where I'll leave you.
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Blueprint Coffee & Books is at the northern end of Oxford Street, on the left-hand side heading into Whitstable. About a 10-minute walk from the seafront, it’s a similar distance from the station, where you’ll find Blueprint’s coffee van. Open until 10am on weekday mornings, this is where it all started in 2013, Blueprint taking on the business from the previous owners.

Back on Oxford Street, Blueprint, which opened in October 2016, is on the ground floor of a lovely, three-storey building on the corner with Middle Wall. It looks to me like it was originally a house and, judging by the date on the down pipe next to the sign, it’s at least 200 years old.

Blueprint occupies the two ground floor rooms, both facing onto Oxford Street, each with its own large, projecting window, with a bench under the one on the right. The door is between the windows, leading into the room on the left, next to the dividing wall. The layout here is simple, with the counter, a lovely, tiled affair, at the back, running the full width of the room. There’s a three-person window-bar to the left, while the left-hand wall is given over to bookshelves, which also house a small selection of stationery and coffee-making equipment.

There’s more (but not much more) seating in the second room to the right, accessed through a large opening towards the back of the party wall. There’s another three-person window-bar at the front, a four-person table in the middle of the room, and a low, four-person coffee table with a bench and two stools against the back wall. There are more bookshelves here, starting on the dividing wall, while the right-hand wall has an exposed brick fireplace, with a final set of bookshelves between it and the window. Despite the relative lack of shelf space, Blueprint stocks an eclectic range of books, which are mostly non-fiction. Unsurprisingly, there are quite a few coffee-related titles on display.

The décor, like the layout, is simple, with whitewashed walls and ceilings, plus bare, wooden floorboards. A nice touch is the vintage stove in the fireplace in the second room, although I don’t believe it’s in use.

The counter, in keeping with the simple layout, has the La Marzocco Linea espresso machine on the left, along with a Victoria Arduino Mythos 1 grinder for the house espresso and a Mazzer Robur for the guest espresso. There’s also a ubiquitous Mahlkönig EK43 on a work surface at the back for the decaf and filter coffee. The menu, meanwhile, is on the back wall, to the right of the EK43, with the choice of beans written up on a large paper roll on the wall to the right. In front of this, in a large, glass display case, are the cakes, from which I selected a lovely raspberry and almond friand, the moist cake packed with raspberries and almonds.

During my visit, Alchemy’s standard Opus blend was on espresso, although I was drawn to the guest, the Blanca Rosa Melgar, a macerated natural IH-90 varietal from Honduras (don’t worry, I had to Google it too). I had this as a straight espresso, served in a glass, with a glass of water on the side. It was, without exaggeration, one of the fruitiest espressos I’ve smelled in the cup, although it was more subdued on first sip, presenting a subtle, complex flavour. There was more acidity on the second sip, with a further, rich complexity on the final two sips. Simply outstanding.


December 2019: Blueprint Coffee & Books has won the 2019 Best Espresso Award.

4 OXFORD STREET • WHITSTABLE • CT5 1DD
http://blueprintcoffee.co.uk
Monday 09:00 – 16:00 Roaster Alchemy (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 09:00 – 13:00 Seating Window-bars, Table, Bench; Bench (outside)
Wednesday 09:00 – 16:00 Food Cakes
Thursday 09:00 – 16:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 09:00 – 16:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 09:00 – 16:30 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 16:00 Power Yes
Chain Local Visits 1st December 2019

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2 thoughts on “Blueprint Coffee & Books

  1. Pingback: Garage Coffee, Whitstable | Brian's Coffee Spot

  2. Pingback: Making Coffee at Home: Coffee, Part III | Brian's Coffee Spot

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