Today’s third shortlist is for the “Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station”, although it should really be called “Best Coffee Spot at or near a Railway Station”, except that was a bit of a mouthful, even for me. This was won in 2020 by Gourmet Coffee Bar & Kitchen, Crewe and rewards those Coffee Spots serving great coffee to travellers on rail networks around the world.
When you’re desperate for good coffee, railway stations are rarely the best places to be. But what if there was a great Coffee Spot just outside the station (or even in the concourse!) or a few minutes’ walk away and you didn’t know about it? Then this award is for you!
This year, for whatever reason, has been particularly good for Coffee Spots near stations, so much so that I could have filled the shortlist two times over, although two thirds of the shortlist is from London, which reflects my limited travel options this year!
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are 12 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
Coffee Notes is a small coffee stand at the front of Ravenscourt Park Station on the District Line which opened last summer. Hari, the charismatic owner (who won a place on the Happiest Staff shortlist), sources the coffee himself, with an emphasis on Indonesian coffee. There’s a blend and single-origin on espresso, all the shots pulled on a lovely Fracino lever machine, resulting in Coffee Notes being on the shortlist for this year’s Best Espresso Award.
This is the second Lily London I visited this year. Located in a telephone box in the shadow of the Shard, it’s also conveniently located around the back of London Bridge Station. Like Hari, Lily sources her own coffee, this time from Brazil, with a standard, espresso-based menu. Lily London, Shard, has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Takeaway Coffee Award.
Nostos Coffee opened in May this year, occupying a small, quirky space (small enough for the Smallest Coffee Spot shortlist) next to Battersea Park station. The coffee is excellent, with Kiss the Hippo & Ue Coffee Roasters providing contrasting options on espresso (plus decaf), along with multiple choices from the current guest roaster on pour-over. Nostos Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Espresso and Happiest Staff Awards.
Over Under Coffee, Wandsworth Town
This is the first Over Under south of the river, occupying a large kiosk outside Wandsworth Town Station, serving coffee and brunches to commuter and locals alike. Over Under Coffee, Wandsworth Town has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Takeaway Coffee Award.
MONIES is another new opening (May this year), bringing a small slice of Cornwall to Upper Richmond Road between Putney train station and East Putney tube station. There’s a seasonal single-origin espresso from Cornwall’s Yallah Coffee, with another single-origin from a guest roaster on pour-over via the V60. There’s also Cornish tea (Tregothnan) and ice cream (from the Monies family farm, no less).
Saucer & Cup is on the other side of Wimbledon Park from the famous All England Law Tennis and Croquet Club, just down the hill from Wimbledon Park tube station on the District Line. The focus is on the coffee, with Saucer & Cup only offering single-origins from Workshop, plus a regularly changing guest roaster. Saucer & Cup has also been shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Basement and Best Espresso Awards.
Located just around the corner from Tooting Bec tube station on the Northern Line, Green Monkey London styles itself “coffee and brunch”. Living up to both these tags, there’s Nude Coffee Roasters’ East Blend from a standard espresso-based menu, plus an extensive breakfast and brunch menu with various vegetarian and vegan options alongside meat-filled classics. Green Monkey London is also shortlised for this year’s Best Breakfast Award.
On the other side of Tooting Bec tube station is Communion Coffee. Another relative newcomer, it opened just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. It has a simple offering of quality coffee and baked goods in an equally simple (and small) space. Communion Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Smallest Coffee Spot and Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Awards.
Moving out of London, albeit just down the line from Waterloo, brings us to West Byfleet, where Taylor’s Coffee House plies its trade in a parade of shops near the station. It’s a lovely spot, like a collection of sitting rooms, which has earned it a place on the shortlist for the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting and Best Physical Space Awards.
If you find yourself in Llandudno Station, do yourself a favour and head around the corner to Heartland Coffee Bar. Tucked away inside Heartland Coffee Roasters, this is as much as coffee expereince as it is a coffee bar, although there’s nothing stopping you just popping in for a coffee and sitting upstairs overlooking the roastery. Heartland Coffee Bar is also shortlisted for this year’s Best Physical Space Award and Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award.
Our last two entries take us to the USA. First is La Colombe, across the road from Boston’s South Station, idea if travelling by train or by coach. The classic La Colombe offering sees two options on espresso, another two on batch-brew and two more on pour-over. There’s also a range of in-house teas and draft lattes and, if you’re hungry, cakes and items from the grab-and-go fridge, with the cakes good enough for the Best Cake shortlist.
Peregrine Espresso, Eastern Market
The final entry is at the other end of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, in Washington DC, where you’ll find Peregrine Espresso, opposite the Eastern Market metro station (it’s also half an hour’s stroll from the magnificent Union Station). Peregrine Espresso is a lovely coffee shop, although right now it’s only offering takeaway due to COVID-19 (which is why it’s also on this year’s Best Takeaway Coffee shortlist).
A special mention needs to go to the following:
Electric Coffee Co., Goldhawk Road
Wags N Tales, Surbiton
WatchHouse Roastery & Café
Medicine New Street
Bank Street Social
Little Yellow Pig, Nantwich
And the winner is Over Under Coffee, Wandsworth Town
Runners-up: MONIES and Lily London, Shard
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2021.
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