Welcome to the penultimate Coffee Spot Awards Shortlist for 2019, the Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award, which was won last year by 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… It’s also a chance for me to recognise and reward those wonderful Coffee Spots that I come across during the year and which mean something special to me.
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
Berdena’s in Scottsdale is a wonderful coffee shop, a something of a rarity in the US speciality coffee scene. Not only does it do a range of food, but it’s also a multi-roaster which brings in some superb coffee from all around the world (good enough for a place on the Best Espresso Award shortlist). The staff also excellent, friendly and helpful.
I’ve still not managed to make it to Atkinsons in Lancaster, where it all started, but I did, finally, make it to Atkinsons in Mackie Mayor, a restored Victoria Market in Manchester. Occupying a lovely coffee shop, it’s made all the better for the presence of the working 100-year-old Uno roaster in the corner, which won Atkinsons a place on this shortlist. Atkinsons has also been shortlisted for the Best Flat White and Best Cake Awards.
A small slice of Tokyo and Japanese third-wave coffee culture in London, Omotesando Koffee opened to much fan fare at the end of last year. Starting with a pop-up in Omotesando in Tokyo, Omotesando Koffee has gone on to spawn a series of coffee shops around the world, and it is for this achievement, as much as any other, that it has a place on the shortlist. Omotesando Koffee is also on the Most Popular Coffee Spot Award shortlist.
From Tokyo to Guildford via London, my hometown Surrey Hills Coffee has gone from strength-to-strength and this year, I finally got to check out the new upstairs space at Surrey Hills’ new home on Jefferies Passage. However, it’s the move to stop selling coffee in pre-packaged bags, instead moving to selling coffee loose to encourage packaging reuse that’s won it a place on this shortlist. Surrey Hills has also been shortlisted for the Most Popular Coffee Spot Award.
Crossing the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco, Ritual Coffee Roasters is a pioneer of the city’s speciality coffee scene, although this, in a shipping container, is probably its smallest coffee shop, although that hasn’t stopped it from offering a full coffee service.It’s this dedication to coffee excellence that has won it a place on the shortlist. Ritual Coffee Roasters has also been shortlisted for the Smallest Coffee Spot Award.
From San Francisco back to London, and the original Second Shot in Bethnal Green. This is a lovely little coffee shop (earning a place on the Smallest Coffee Spot shortlist), but it is its role as a social enterprise, helping homeless people, that’s won it a place on this shortlist. It’s Second Shot has also been shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.
Good coffee and good food don’t often go together, at least not in a restaurant setting. However, Kavárna Místo in Prague bucks this trend. It is one of three coffee shops of renowned Czech roasters, Doubleshot and is also a full service restaurant. The coffee offering is excellent though, including a filter tasting flight, which, unsurprisingly, impressed me no end!
Toki is just a 10-minute walk northwest of Amsterdam’s Central Station. A large, bright, open coffee shop, Toki’s made up of several smaller, interconnected rooms, serving coffee from Bonanza in Berlin, with two options on espresso and three on pour-over. If coffee doesn’t take your fancy, there’s a wide range of loose-leaf teas, plus cold drinks and a fridge full of beer, while there’s a kitchen serving brunch.
The first of three entries from Tokyo, my first ever coffee in Japan was at Maruyama in Nishi Azabu, so the roaster/coffee shop chain has a special place in my heart. Its Single Origin store in Aoyama serves, as the name suggests, single origins, but what’s won it a place of the shortlist are the various coffee experiences it offers, including serving the same espresso in two different cups.
Ratio &C is part of Tokyo-based coffee shop/roaster chain, Onibus, one of my favourite Japanese roasters. Located inside a self-styled cycle concept store by Bridgestone, it’s a short walk from my hotel. This has made it a frequent stop on my way back from the office, the perfect place to unwind. I visited so often that this year I managed to try all the coffee! Ratio &C has also been shortlisted for the Best Espresso Award.
The third of three entries from Tokyo, Glitch Coffee & Roasters is, as the name suggests, another coffee shop/roaster, albeit one with just two shops. Glitch specialises in lightly-roasted single-origins and offers probably the best filter tasting flights I’ve ever tried, which is what got it on this shortlist. Glitch has also been shortlisted for the Best Roaster/Retailer Award.
Filter is one of Cork’s speciality coffee pioneers. It’s a very homely place, with an eclectic mix of styles, kitted out almost entirely with bespoke furniture made from reclaimed wood, no single piece quite matching any other. A welcoming, friendly place, perhaps the best part is the dedicated filter bar in the rear of the shop. Filter has also been shortlisted for the Best Cake and Most Popular Coffee Spot Awards.
When I first visited Dublin in 2014, Brother Hubbard was a relatively small place, with a reputation for excellent food as well as really good coffee. 5½ years on, it’s been reborn as Brother Hubbard North, changing beyond (almost) all recognition and maybe 10 times bigger than it once was! It’s now a takeaway joint, coffee shop, retailer and restaurant, with an on-site roastery, Farmhand, thrown in for good measure.
Kafi is a very special place which opened in Fitzrovia this year. It’s the sort of place that you rarely find in London anymore, with a focus on coffee (for example, it’s one of a very few places offering the Syphon as a preparation method). But it’s a whole lot more than that and could easily have been on half a dozen other shortlists (it did make it on the Best Filter Coffee shortlist). Instead, I’ve included it here.
Our final entry is in Whitstable, where Blueprint Coffee & Books does exactly what the name says, offering excellent coffee (good enough for a place on the shortlisted for the Best Espresso Award) and books in a pair of rooms on the ground floor of a lovely old building.
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2019.
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