We continue the second day with the next shortlist for the 2020 Coffee Spot Awards, the “Best Filter Coffee” Award, which was won last year by Tasting Flights at Glitch Coffee. 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.
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are ten Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
Let’s start this shortlist how I started 2020, in the Bay Area where I visited Ritual Coffee Roasters in the Mission in San Francisco. I had a Colombian single-origin pour-over, the El Uamo, with intriguing tasting notes of guava and strawberry, served in a tall, white, cylindrical coffee pot, complete with lid, along with a matching tall, cylindrical, handleless mug.
I had a wonderful tasting flight of three single-origin filters coffees at Verve Coffee Roasters in Kamakura, Japan. Verve is also on the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award shortlist.
Returning to America, Pair Speciality Coffee & Tea is a roaster with a coffee bar inside the tap room at Cider Corps in Mesa, Arizona. There are a choice of five single-origins on pour-over, from which I selected the Colombian Geisha. A delicate coffee, it developed more body and flavour as it cooled. Pair is also on the Best Roaster/Retailer and Most Passionate About Coffee shortlists.
Another coffee roaster offering a wide range of single-origin pour-overs, the Ue Coffee Roastery Cafe & Kitchen is co-located with the roastery in Witney, Oxfordshire. Amanda and I had a pair of fruity pour-overs, served in carafes with a cup on the side, each presented on a small wooden tray. We also had some excellent cake which earned Ue Coffee a place on the Best Cake Award shortlist.
Whaletown Coffee Co. is somewhere else Amanda and I enjoyed some excellent pour-overs, this time from Quarter Horse Coffee Roasters. We had a rich, smooth Finca La Esquinita (Nicaragua) and a floral, fruity Shakiso Wako #2 (Ethiopia), both served in metal jugs, with cups on the side, presented on a neat wooden tray. Whaletown is also on the Best Cake, Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot and Most Passionate About Coffee shortlists.
The third “Amanda and I had” entry on the shortlist is Dancing Goats in Midtown, Atlanta, where our coffee was made using the Chemex and the Seraphim automated system. We sampled the Indonesian Sumatra Mandheling and Guatemalan Volcan, enjoying both coffees. Dancing Goats also made it onto the shortlist for the Best Outdoor Seating Award.
Returning to the UK and to Faculty in Birmingham, which is directly opposite New Street Station, gaining it a place on the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Award. Here I was treated to a V60 of a washed Kenyan Kii AB from Round Hill Roastery. This was served in a carafe, a neat handleless cup on the side, all presented on a tray. The coffee itself was lovely and smooth, with subtle, fruity hints.
Since I last visited Jaunty Goat in Chester, it’s taken to roasting its own coffee. Based on the single-origin from the Democratic Republic of Congo that I tried, it’s got a bright future. I had this as a V60, my coffee served in carafe with a cup on the side. An excellent, rich, fruity brew, it improved as it cooled, proving to be gorgeous when cold. Jaunty Goat has also been shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Basement and Best Roaster/Retailer Awards.
Queens of Mayfair is in this year’s Awards as a Coffee Spot in its own right, but this entry is about the Coffee Experiences, where a barista comes to make your coffee at your table. You need to book the Cup of Excellent Experience in advance, while I had the Geisha Experience, using a micro-lot from Hacienda La Esmeralda. Queens is also on the Best Saturday Supplement Award shortlist.
Our final entry sees us staying in London, this time at Catalyst where I had another Geisha, this time a naturally-processed one from Taiwan. Up until then, I didn’t even know coffee grew in Taiwan, so I had to try it! I found it quite full-bodied, but sweet and fruity, while lacking the punchiness that can sometimes overwhelm some naturals. It also really held its own as it cooled. Catalyst is also shortlisted for the Best Breakfast Award.
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2020.
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