We continue the second day with the next shortlist for the 2019 Coffee Spot Awards, the “Best Filter Coffee” Award, which was won last year by Pax Treme. One of the great journeys that I’ve taken with the Coffee Spot is realising the amazing range of flavours in a good pour-over or batch brew, which has opened my eyes to a whole new world of coffee.
To give you an idea of how far I have come since starting the Coffee Spot, I initially owned a cafetiere and an espresso machine and either drank my coffee at home with milk (cafetiere) or as espresso. Now I have two pour-over filters, a Clever Dripper, an Aeropress, dedicated grinder for filter coffee and a gooseneck kettle. I drink my filter coffee black and I have to put milk in my coffee to make it drinkable, then I’m drinking the wrong coffee!
This award celebrates those Coffee Spots which continue to help me on my journey of discovery. This year I’ve had some amazing filter coffees and, for the first time ever, the shortlist is dominated by coffee I’ve had on my travels, with just two UK entries.
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
Maverick Coffee, in an outdoor mall in Phoenix, was a short walk from my hotel, so I was a regular visitor, trying almost all the coffee. It gets a spot on the shortlist thanks to a wonderful natural Ethiopian Kidane from Olympia Coffee which I had this through the Aeropress, a rich, complex, fruity coffee. Maverick has also been shortlisted for the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot and Best Takeaway Coffee Awards.
From Phoenix to Philadelphia and Ultimo Coffee, with its Rittenhouse Square location. Ultimo roasts all its own coffee, with multiple single-origins available through the BeeHouse Dripper. I had a Kenyan Karatina, served in a carafe with a cup on the side, this was smooth and fruity, developing more subtle notes as it cooled.
Staying in Philadelphia, I had an outstanding washed Ethiopian coffee from Sidamo through the Clever Dripper, roasted by Passenger Coffee Roasting (since my visit, Rally has switched to Philadelphia-based roaster Blind Tiger Coffee). Initially a very smooth, well-balanced coffee, the flavour kept evolving as it cooled so by the time it was cold, it was awesome! Rally is also on the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award shortlist.
UNDEF/NE is the first of three entries from Shanghai, where I had a naturally-processed coffee from Yunnan, the coffee-growing region of China. Looking tea-like, it was a delicate, subtle coffee, really well-balanced, well-rounded coffee, easily the best Yunnan coffee I’ve had in China. UNDEF/NE has also been shortlisted for the Best Physical Space Award.
I’ve been a fan of Little Bean since I visited Little Bean Roastery in Pudong. It roasts and serves some of the best coffee I’ve had in China and the Coffee Museum is no exception, its Costa Rica Santa Teresa Geisha winning it a place on this year’s shortlist. My coffee was quite superb, a delicate, subtle and floral coffee. Little Bean has also been shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.
Our final entry from Shanghai is Seesaw IFC. Seesaw is another outstanding coffee shop/roaster chain. Here I continued my exploration of Chinese coffee with a honey-processed Yunnan single-origin, the coffee having the fruity notes of a natural, combined with the subtly and clean taste of a washed coffee. I liked it so much that I bought two bags to bring home! Seesaw also been shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.
From Shanghai across the Pacific to San Jose, and B2 Coffee in the San Pedro Square Market in downtown San Jose. B2, which uses its sister company, Kickback Coffee, served me a V60 of an Ethiopian single-origin. A smooth, fruity coffee, it evolved as it cooled, developing even more complexity as time went by. B2 also been shortlisted for this year’s Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting and Best Cake Awards.
Staying in California, but moving up the bay to San Francisco, it’s Flywheel Coffee Roasters, one of those rare places which offers the Syphon as a filter preparation method. I had an Ethiopia Deri Kochoja, roasted at the back of the store on a 15 kg Joper (a Portuguese roaster). I really enjoyed my coffee, surprised by how much body it had. Flywheel has also been shortlisted for the Best Roaster/Retailer and Best Physical Space Awards.
It’s not often I get my coffee made for me by a champion brewer, but in Scandinavian Embassy in Amsterdam, I was served by owner, Daniella, winner of the 2017 Dutch Brewer’s Cup. She made me a V60 of a natural Ethiopian, a very fruity and sweet coffee, roasted by Kafferäven Per Nordby. Scandinavian Embassy has also been shortlisted for the Best Cake and Best Breakfast Awards.
Amanda and I visited Kavárna Místo in Prague twice, once for dinner and again for coffee. Confusingly, I wrote about the filter tasting flight we had on that second visit as part of my piece about the dinner we’d had the night before. Either way, Kavárna Místo gets an entry on this shortlist since I love filter tasting flights and wish more places would offer them! Kavárna Místo has also been shortlisted for the Best Saturday Supplement Award.
Sentido Speciality Coffee is the first of three entries from Japan. Located not far from Nijō Castle in Kyoto, I had a cafetiere of the Nyeri from Kenya. Its fruity flavours came to the fore as it cooled and I was sufficiently impressed buy a bag for a Japanese coffee cupping that I helped organise at that year’s Glasgow Coffee Festival, where it was very highly thought of!
Staying in Japan, but returning to tasting flights, I made two visits to Glitch Coffee in Tokyo, both times trying the flight of three filter coffees. On both occasions, all the coffees were outstanding in their own right and, as a mark of how much I enjoyed them, I bought three bags to bring home, one from my first visit, two on my return! Glitch Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Saturday Supplement Award.
Returning to the subject of Syphon coffee, Kafi is one of a very few places that I know of in London offering the Syphon as a preparation method. Naturally, I had to try it, being rewarded with a lovely Costa Rican from Workshop, which developed into a lovely, smooth coffee as it cooled. Kafi has also been shortlisted for the Most Passionate About Coffee Award.
Returning to Tokyo, Stockholm Roast may only be a kiosk on the side of the road on the way to my office, but that doesn’t stop it from offering a range of pour-over coffee, all of which I tried during my two visits to Japan this year. The standout was a naturally-processed Colombian single-origin which had a really fruity first hit and just kept improving as it cooled. Stockholm Roast is also on the Best Takeaway Coffee & Smallest Coffee Spot shortlists.
The final entry this year is just the second from the UK, Whitstable’s Garage Coffee. Garage roasts all its own coffee and any of the (typically) six seasonal single-origins are available through V60, Chemex or Aeropress. I had a V60 of the Finca Santa Isabel from Guatemala, prepared through the V60, a full-bodied coffee,served in a carafe with a glass on the side.
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2019.
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