2020 Awards – Best Saturday Supplement

The Coffee & Science logo, a coffee cup with an equation written in a light-beam projecting from the cup.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.

  • We start our shortlist in Oakland, California, with Cat Town.
  • Staying in America, but swapping coasts, we're cupping at Tandem Coffee Roasters.
  • Still on the east coast, how about Trying Eugenioides at Terremoto Coffee in New York City?
  • Back in the UK and this was the year that my Peak Water filter arrived.
  • I also reissued the Decaf Challenge, with a little help from Workshop Coffee.
  • With COVID-19 in the air, the Glasgow Coffee Festival took to the city's streets.
  • Meanwhile, in London, I was trying out the Coffee Experience at Queens of Mayfair...
  • ... and adding to my collection of reusable cups with a Frank Green Ceramic Cup.
  • One of my discoveries of 2020 has been James Hoffmann's YouTube Channel.
  • And finally, I wrote in praise of Amtrak's Full Dining Service.
We start our shortlist in Oakland, California, with Cat Town.1 Staying in America, but swapping coasts, we're cupping at Tandem Coffee Roasters.2 Still on the east coast, how about Trying Eugenioides at Terremoto Coffee in New York City?3 Back in the UK and this was the year that my Peak Water filter arrived.4 I also reissued the Decaf Challenge, with a little help from Workshop Coffee.5 With COVID-19 in the air, the Glasgow Coffee Festival took to the city's streets.6 Meanwhile, in London, I was trying out the Coffee Experience at Queens of Mayfair...7 ... and adding to my collection of reusable cups with a Frank Green Ceramic Cup.8 One of my discoveries of 2020 has been James Hoffmann's YouTube Channel.9 And finally, I wrote in praise of Amtrak's Full Dining Service.10
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There are ten Saturday Supplements on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

The Cat Town logo, showing the silhouette of a cat climbing down the C of Cat Town.Cat Town

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.

C:\Users\Brian\Documents\Work\NNB020 Coffee Spot\00 Coffee Spot\Documents 2020\NNB020D1444 - SS Cupping at Tandem Coffee RoastersCupping at Tandem Coffee Roasters

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.

The rare the Eugenioides coffee species in a cortado at Terromoto Coffee in Chelsea, New York City.Trying Eugenioides at Terremoto

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!

My new Peak Water filter jug, fresh out of the box.Peak Water

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.

A picture of the Quindío region in Colombia, taken from an information card that came with Workshop Coffee's Quindío Decaffeinated Espresso.The Decaf Challenge

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.

The Glasgow Coffee Festival 2020 logoGlasgow Coffee Festival

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.

The coffee service at Queens of Mayfair, with a V60 on a brass stand, and a large wine glass to the left of that.Coffee Experience at Queens of Mayfair

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.

My new (and very stylish) Frank Green ceramic reusable cup in action outside Canopy Coffee in Guildford.Frank Green Ceramic Cup

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?

James Hoffmann, trying an espresso he's just pulled on a La Pavoni Europiccola manual lever espresso machine.James Hoffmann’s YouTube Channel

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…

The black bean and corn veggie burger, from Amtrak's lunch menu, served on the California Zephyr, April 2019, en-route to Chicago.Amtrak’s Full Dining Service

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.


And the winner is Trying Eugenioides at Terremoto
Runners-up: Coffee Experience at Queens of Mayfair and Glasgow Coffee Festival

Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2020.


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3 thoughts on “2020 Awards – Best Saturday Supplement

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