The last of today’s 2020 Coffee Spot Awards shortlists is the “Best Saturday Supplement” Award, won in 2019 by Coffee & Science with Bean Thinking. 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 Saturday Supplements in 2020.
Just so we’re clear on this, the Award is not about my writing (that would be far too self-serving). It’s about the actual subjects that I’m writing about, which this year included a cat cafe, trying a new coffee species, a coffee festival, a YouTube Channel, and several other things besides, all of which makes the comparison a little tricky, but that’s my problem!
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are ten Saturday Supplements on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
Let’s start with Cat Town, a cat café and cat adoption agency in Oakland, California, with a speciality coffee shop attached. RAWR Coffee Bar has its own entries in these shortlists, so this is specifically about Cat Town, which was America’s first cat café when it opened in 2014. I’ve always been in two minds about cat cafés, but was very impressed with Cat Town and its emphasis on adoption.
I was a fan of Tandem’s coffee long before I first visited its roastery/coffee shop in Portland, Maine, back in 2015. Now that I have become a slightly more regular visitor to Portland (COVID-19 not withstanding), I’ve been able to pop in a few times with a highlight being attending one of the weekly cuppings that are held at the roastery and are open to the public.
Staying in America, another of this year’s highlights was unexpectedly finding the Eugenioides, a new species of coffee (in the same way that Arabica and Robusta are species of coffee) at Terremoto Coffee in New York City. To say that it was strange is an understatement. Indeed, it was a revelation that something that is coffee could actually taste like that!
In 2018, I backed Peak Water, a home water filter designed specifically for coffee, on Kickstarter. The team behind Peak Water has some form on this subject, with leading members Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood and Christopher Hendon having written the well-regarded book, Water for Coffee, Almost exactly two years later, it arrived and I put it through its paces… Peak Water has also been shortlisted for the Most Popular Coffee Spot Award.
The original decaf challenge was back in 2015, and this one was a little different, spurred on by Workshop Coffee, which had launched a pair of decafs, both using the same beans, but with one roasted for espresso, the other for filter. Naturally I had to buy some and compare the two. Does the difference in roast translate to a difference in taste, that is the question.
One of my favourite events, I was determined not to miss this year’s Glasgow Coffee Festival. The dates were in my diary, work hadn’t scheduled anything around it and I’d even bought tickets. Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened… You’d think that would spell the end of this year’s coffee festival, but Glasgow folks are made of sterner stuff, the festival taking to the city streets instead. The festival is also on the Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award shortlist.
Queens of Mayfair, best described as a high-end coffee, brunch and cocktails spot, opened this summer and brought with it something very special, The Queens Coffee Experience, where a barista comes to your table and makes your coffee right there in front of you. The Coffee Experience has also been shortlisted for the Best Filter Coffee Award.
Regular readers will know that I have a thing for Reusable Cups. But seriously, do I need another reusable cup? It turns out I do. Enter the Frank Green ceramic reusable cup, part cup, part thermos. This is a companion to the original, all plastic Frank Green SmartCup, but replacing the plastic inner with a ceramic-coated metal one. The key question is what was it like to drink out of?
Although I’ve been aware of the videos of James Hoffmann for a while, this summer was when I really got into his excellent YouTube channel. James covers a variety of topics, sometimes reviewing equipment, at other times passing on coffee-making hints and tips, although my favourites are the off-the-wall episodes like drinking coffee from the 1970s…
Our last entry is technically a Travel Spot, but fits the Saturday Supplement model, so here it is. I love long-distance train travel, particularly in America, where Amtrak’s Full Dining Service is an important part of the experience. Sadly it’s under threat due to cost-cutting measures. I fear it’s gone for good on the shorter, eastern routes, but I hope it survives west of the Mississippi. Amtrak’s Full Dining Service is also on the Best Breakfast Award shortlist.
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2020.
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