Coffee Spot Awards 2019

An espresso, made by my Rancilio Silvia espresso machine, in a classic white cup and saucer from Acme & Co., New Zealand, distributed in the UK by Caravan Roastery.Merry Christmas to all my readers old and new! I hope you’re having a great Christmas. As 2019 winds towards its end, it’s once again time for the Coffee Spot Awards, now into their EIGHTH year! It seems only yesterday that my friend Andrew Rilstone suggested the first Coffee Spot Awards. If only I’d have known what I was unleashing back then…

2019 has been another busy year, with plenty of travel, including one almost-around-the-world trip, visiting Coffee Spots across the northern hemisphere (sadly I’ve yet to make it to Australia, but I’m working on it). The annual Coffee Spot Awards provides a chance for me to reflect on all the great places I’ve visited and to give them all some more well-deserved time in the limelight. As usual, there are 20 Awards, the shortlists for each being publishing between now and New Year’s Eve, with the winners being announced on New Year’s Day.

Thanks to everyone who’s visited the Coffee Spot, followed me on Twitter, liked my Facebook page, and looked at my pictures on Instagram. While I do this for the love of coffee, it means a lot to me that so many of you take the time to read and comment on my writing. Without you, it really would be pointless.

Before we go on, check out who won what in last year’s Awards in the gallery.

  • Craving Coffee, the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot.
  • CanDo Coffee, Merchant Square, serving up this year's Best Takeaway Coffee.
  • Verve Omotesando, winner of the Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.
  • Milk Teeth Cafe & Stores, the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot.
  • Exe Coffee Roasters, the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting.
  • Pax Treme, serving this year's Best Filter Coffee.
  • Canvas Coffee, the Best Coffee Spot Near a Railway Station.
  • Airline Coffee: British Airways & Union Hand-roasted, the Best Saturday Supplement.
  • Lemana Coffee & Kitchen, winner of the Best Outdoor Seating Award.
  • Verve Coffee Roasters, Pacific Avenue, servig up this year's Best Espresso.
  • Melbourne in Lichfield, Bolt Court, this year's Smallest Coffee Spot.
  • Siop Shop, where I had this year's Best Cake.
  • Koffee Mameya, winner of the Best Roaster/Retailer Award.
  • Black Gold, this year's Best Overseas Coffee Spot.
  • Cottontree Coffee Roasters, winner of the Best Physical Space Award.
  • Heart & Graft Coffee Shop, the Coffee Spot with the Happiest Staff.
  • Short + Stout, which provided me with this year's Best Breakfast.
  • Discourse Coffee,  the Most Passionate About Coffee.
  • Sarah's Caring Coffee/The Coffee Bean, recipient of the Brian's Coffee Spot Special Award.
  • Decent Espresso, this year's Most Popular Coffee Spot.
Craving Coffee, the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot.1 CanDo Coffee, Merchant Square, serving up this year's Best Takeaway Coffee.2 Verve Omotesando, winner of the Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.3 Milk Teeth Cafe & Stores, the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot.4 Exe Coffee Roasters, the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting.5 Pax Treme, serving this year's Best Filter Coffee.6 Canvas Coffee, the Best Coffee Spot Near a Railway Station.7 Airline Coffee: British Airways & Union Hand-roasted, the Best Saturday Supplement.8 Lemana Coffee & Kitchen, winner of the Best Outdoor Seating Award.9 Verve Coffee Roasters, Pacific Avenue, servig up this year's Best Espresso.10 Melbourne in Lichfield, Bolt Court, this year's Smallest Coffee Spot.11 Siop Shop, where I had this year's Best Cake.12 Koffee Mameya, winner of the Best Roaster/Retailer Award.13 Black Gold, this year's Best Overseas Coffee Spot.14 Cottontree Coffee Roasters, winner of the Best Physical Space Award.15 Heart & Graft Coffee Shop, the Coffee Spot with the Happiest Staff.16 Short + Stout, which provided me with this year's Best Breakfast.17 Discourse Coffee,  the Most Passionate About Coffee.18 Sarah's Caring Coffee/The Coffee Bean, recipient of the Brian's Coffee Spot Special Award.19 Decent Espresso, this year's Most Popular Coffee Spot.20
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An elite panel of judges (me) gathered in a secret location (my Dad’s house) to spend literally minutes considering the following awards. However, before I introduce the awards, a few statistics for 2019.

I published 210 articles (up from 207 last year) on the Coffee Spot (not including this one!). This included (last year’s numbers in brackets):

This year I published Coffee Spots from eight countries (down one from nine last year), adding Prague in Czechia to the list for the first time. Most of my travel was for work, which saw me returning to familiar places such as Phoenix and Chicago in the US, plus Shanghai in China and Tokyo in Japan. However, I did add some new cities to the list, including Kanazawa and Nagano during the first of two trips around Japan, while I was back in Ireland, venturing south to Cork and Waterford for the first time.

As I write, the Coffee Spot has over 100,000 views this year, down from 140,000 in 2018. This is an average of 285 per day and over 62,000 of you have visited the Coffee Spot (down from 80,000 last year) from 154 countries, with almost 70% of you coming from the UK and 10% from the USA.

Anyway, enough of the numbers. Without further ado, let’s see what the award categories are this year. Don’t forget that as the shortlists for each Award are published between now and New Year’s Eve, you will be able to click on the Award title to see who is in the running.

Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot (2018 Winner: Craving Coffee)

Let’s face it, go to big cities such as New York, Edinburgh or Manchester and you expect to find good Coffee Spots. However, good Coffee Spots are everywhere, and some of them are in very unexpected places… This can either be geographically or a result of the Coffee Spot’s setting. Either way, this award recognises them.

Best Takeaway Coffee (2018 Winner: CanDo Coffee, Merchant Square)

Takeaway coffee is tricky. Often the elements are against you and the surroundings might not be the nicest, so this award recognises those Coffee Spots who produce outstanding coffee against the odds.

Coffee Spot with the Best Basement (2018 Winner: Verve Omotesando)

Regular readers with know that I have a soft spot for Coffee Spots with great basements, and this award recognises them. A good basement can be a real boon, particularly in the winter months, where there’s nowhere better to wrap up warm and cosy!

Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot (2018 Winner: Milk Teeth Café & Stores)

A lot of the best Coffee Spots are those that are firmly rooted in their neighbourhoods, places that serve and reflect their local communities. This award is for them.

Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting (2018 Winner: Exe Coffee Roasters)

Regular readers will also be aware that I also have a soft spot for coffee shop lighting, so this award ensure that those Coffee Shops with wonderful lighting are properly recognised.

Best Filter Coffee (2018 Winner: Pax Treme)

Writing the Coffee Spot has revolutionised the way I think of (and drink) filter coffee, introducing me to an amazing, delicate drink and opening my eyes to a whole new world of coffee. This award celebrates those Coffee Spots which have helped me on my journey.

Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station (2018 Winner: Canvas Coffee)

When you’re desperate for good coffee, stuck in a railway station is rarely the best place to be. But what if there was a great Coffee Spot in the station, or just outside and you didn’t know about it? This award is for you…

Best Saturday Supplement (2018 Winner: Improving Airline Coffee: British Airways & Union Hand-roasted)

The Saturday Supplement is the place where I write about coffee, coffee kit and events without writing about specific places. This award recognises the best of them (note that Saturday Supplements where it’s just me writing about stuff aren’t included; this award is for the things I am writing about, not me!).

Best Outdoor Seating (2018 Winner: Lemana Coffee & Kitchen)

This award focuses on those Coffee Spots which provide the best environment for sitting outside. The Coffee Spot itself doesn’t have to be outside; anything with a decent outside seating area qualifies!

Best Espresso (2018 Winner: Verve Coffee Roasters, Pacific Avenue)

Espresso is tricky. While my Sage Barista Express means I can now pull a reliable shot at home, I still admire those who can knock out shot after shot of high-quality espresso. This award is for those Coffee Spots which served me the best and most memorable espressos of the year.

Smallest Coffee Spot (2018 Winner: Melbourne in Lichfield, Bolt Court)

I have a special place in my heart for small coffee spots and this year the Coffee Spot continued to be full of them. Note that this is all subjective – I did not get my tape measure out at any point!

Best Cake (2018 Winner: Siop Shop)

It’s not all about the coffee you know (despite what the tag line says). What would a cup of coffee be without a decent slice of cake to go with it? So, cake plays a major part in the Coffee Spot and this award celebrates the Coffee Spots which excel in the cake department.

Best Roaster/Retailer (2018 Winner: Koffee Mameya)

While the Coffee Spot is mostly about places to have coffee, I still drink a lot of coffee at home. This award recognises those wonderful who roast and sell me my coffee beans.

Best Flat White (New Award for 2019)

This is a new Award for 2019, replacing the old Best Overseas Coffee Spot Award, which felt a little dated given all the travelling I now do. In both 2018 and 2019, less than half the Coffee Spots I’ve posted have been from the UK!

Best Physical Space (2018 Winner: Cottontree Coffee Roasters)

For me, a Coffee Spot is as much about atmosphere, layout and overall feel as it is about the coffee. This award celebrates those Coffee Spots which there’s a pure joy in just sitting there, soaking it all in.

Happiest Staff (2018 Winner: Heart & Graft Coffee Shop)

I think that 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.

Best Breakfast (2018 Winner: Short + Stout)

Along with cake, breakfast has a special place in my heart, so-much-so that I started the Saturday Spot so that I could write about Coffee Spots where the coffee wasn’t up to much, but where the breakfasts were to die for! Of course, there are also plenty of places where both the coffee and the breakfasts are to die for!

Most Passionate About Coffee (2018 Winner: Discourse Coffee)

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

Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award (2018 Winner: Sarah’s Caring Coffee & The Coffee Bean)

This is a special award for those Coffee Spots which don’t quite fit into the other categories, but which nonetheless I absolutely love…

Most Popular Coffee Spot (2018 Winner: Decent Espresso)

Finally, this is the only award not decided by me. It’s given to the Coffee Spot which received the greatest number of views (according to JetPack) in this calendar year. Since the Awards are meant to recognise what’s happened on the Coffee Spot this year, I’ve decided to exclude Coffee Spots published in previous years.


And that’s it! All the shortlists have been published. Make sure you check back on New Year’s Day to see who has won!

Before you go, if you appreciate the Coffee Spot and what I do, then please consider voting for me in this year’s Sprudgie Awards. I’ve been nominated in the Best Coffee Writing category and while that in itself is a great honour, it would be fabulous if the Coffee Spot could win!


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5 thoughts on “Coffee Spot Awards 2019

  1. Ooh, definitely going to be following along this week. I love finding great coffee spots in unlikely places. Once I see your list, I’ll chime in with a couple that I found this year. Looking forward to it!

  2. Pingback: 2019 Awards – Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot | Brian's Coffee Spot

  3. Pingback: 2019 Awards – Best Takeaway Coffee | Brian's Coffee Spot

  4. Pingback: Coffee Spot Awards 2019: Winners | Brian's Coffee Spot

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