The last of today’s 2019 Coffee Spot Awards shortlists is the “Best Saturday Supplement” Award, won in 2018 by Improving Airline Coffee: British Airways & Union Hand-roasted. The Saturday Supplement is a place where I can write about coffee, coffee-related events, places which I liked but which didn’t really fit into the category of a Coffee Spot and frankly, anything else that takes my fancy! This Award recognises the best of this year’s Saturday Supplements.
Just so we’re clear on this, the Award is not about my writing (that would be far too self-serving and besides, that’s what the Sprudgies is all about). It’s about the actual subjects that I’m writing about, which this year included coffee festivals, coffee at cricket, coffee and science, and going for dinner, all of which makes the comparison a little tricky, but that’s my problem!
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are 12 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
A perennial contender, I’ve been going to the London Coffee Festival every year since 2013. The year, the London Coffee Festival was back again in the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. It was, once again, immense fun, and continues to make positive strides forwards. The London Coffee Festival has also been shortlisted for this year’s Most Popular Coffee Spot Award.
Chicago’s Doughnut Vault has two locations. This is the original, a tiny spot (winning it a spot on the Smallest Coffee Spot shortlist) which sells doughnuts, baked in the downstairs kitchen. While there is coffee on hand, you’d be better off going to the Canal Street location if that’s what you’re after. The doughnuts, by the way, are to die for, good enough to get the Doughnut Vault onto the shortlist for the Best Cake Award.
Last year, I made it to the Birmingham Coffee Festival for the first time and was really impressed. So, I made sure that I went this year too. The festival, now in its third year, is bigger and better than before, offering the perfect showcase for Birmingham’s growing speciality coffee scene. This year’s Birmingham Coffee Festival has also been shortlisted for the Best Espresso Award.
Amanda and I visited Kavárna Místo in Prague twice, once for coffee and again for dinner, which I wrote up as a Saturday Supplement, hence its inclusion on the shortlist. Confusingly, I also included the filter tasting flight in my write up, even though we had that when we went for coffee. As a result, Kavárna Místo also been shortlisted for the Best Filter Coffee Award.
I’ve always considered Out of the Box as an industry event, held by coffee people for coffee people. However, this year Out of the Box was held in Tonbridge Castle and was open to the public. The result was a surprising and wonderful mini-coffee festival. If you’ve never been to one and were wondering what they’re like, you could do worse than go to the next Out of the Box!
Regular readers may be aware of my indifference to watching barista competitions (with the exception of the Cup Tasters Competition). However, you can now add Crush the Rush to that list. It’s a new barista competition from La Marzocco, introduced to the UK at this year’s Out of the Box event at Tonbridge Castle.
Great coffee and sporting events don’t usually go together, but Lord’s, the Home of Cricket, has been leading the way for several years. These days, there are multiple speciality coffee outlets around the ground, including Kaffeine (a fixture for many years), Browns of Brockley, Ground Coffee Society and the in-house Portman’s Café serving Union Hand-roasted.
Although I only went there for the first time in 2016, Japan has become one of my favourite places, not least for the wonderful coffee shops. This extends to some interesting coffee experiences, which I wrote about in a pair of posts, the first covering the coffee experiences at the Maruyama Single Origin store in Aoyama, where you can have such delights as the same espresso in different shaped cups.
The second of my two pieces on my Japanese coffee experiences covered the two tasting flights I had at Glitch Coffee & Roasters, where you can compare three coffees side-by-side, something I have always enjoyed. In this case, all the coffees were outstanding, which led to Glitch also receiving a place on the shortlist for this year’s Best Filter Coffee Award.
Chromatic Coffee is one of my favourite roasters in the Bay Area and this year I was fortunate enough to pay a visit to the Chromatic Coffee roastery (conveniently located a few blocks from my friend’s house), where I attended a public cupping. If you’ve never been to one, I encourage you to go since they are a great way to learn about coffee. Chromatic Coffee is also on the shortlists for this year’s Best Roaster/Retailer and Most Passionate About Coffee Awards.
I’ve followed the Bean Thinking coffee and science blog for some time now. This year, Bean Thinking started a series of evening coffee and science events, held every month at Amoret Speciality Coffee in Notting Hill. These are excellent and I was fortunate to be around for the one about milk foams.
The Sprudgie Awards are now into their 11th year, recognising outstanding achievements in coffee around the world. Each year, the readers of the website Sprudge put in nominations for each category, which are then voted upon. This year I’ve been nominated for the Best Coffee Writing category, so I guess this is a little self-serving, although the shortlist is for Sprudge and the tireless work it does promoting speciality coffee.
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2019.
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