2021 Awards – Best Filter Coffee

My espresso, a Colombian Geisha, roasted and served at Pair Speciality Coffee & Tea in Mesa, and presented on a square, wooden tray with a glass of water on the side.Continuing the Coffee Spot Awards’ second day is the shortlist for the 2021 Coffee Spot Awards, the “Best Filter Coffee” Award, which was won last year by Pair Specialty Coffee & Tea. 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 mulitple pour-over filters, a Clever Dripper, an AeroPress, dedicated grinder for filter coffee and a gooseneck kettle. I drink my filter coffee black and if 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.

  • Let's start with Chief Coffee, where I had a Kalita Wave of the Mahembe from Rwanda.
  • Next it's Hundred House Coffee with its Freak & Unique (and Other Coffees).
  • FLTR Coffee, where I had a naturally-processed micro-lot from Fazenda Passeio in Brazil.
  • Bruin Cafe, with the Trés Barras, a naturally-processed coffee from Brazil.
  • Lantern Coffee, where I had a batch brew of the El Diamante, a washed coffee from Peru.
  • Frozen Solid Coffee Project, where I had a Gesha from Creativa Coffee District in Panama.
  • Reykjavik Roasters, Brautarholt, where Amanda & I enjoyed the El Volcan from Colombia.
  • Reykjavik Roasters, Kárastígur, where we had two different Colombian single-origins.
  • Rosslyn Off Menu Coffees and the Uraga Gomoro (a natural Ethiopian) from Toby’s Estate.
  • Reykjavik Roasters, Ásmundarsalur, where we had the I.P., a honey-processed Brazilian.
  • Story Coffee, and the naturally-processed Stonewall Riots, from Finca Capri, Colombia.
  • Mycloud Coffee and a washed coffee from the Ndumberi Farmers’ Cooperative in Kenya.
Let's start with Chief Coffee, where I had a Kalita Wave of the Mahembe from Rwanda.1 Next it's Hundred House Coffee with its Freak & Unique (and Other Coffees).2 FLTR Coffee, where I had a naturally-processed micro-lot from Fazenda Passeio in Brazil.3 Bruin Cafe, with the Trés Barras, a naturally-processed coffee from Brazil.4 Lantern Coffee, where I had a batch brew of the El Diamante, a washed coffee from Peru.5 Frozen Solid Coffee Project, where I had a Gesha from Creativa Coffee District in Panama.6 Reykjavik Roasters, Brautarholt, where Amanda & I enjoyed the El Volcan from Colombia.7 Reykjavik Roasters, Kárastígur, where we had two different Colombian single-origins.8 Rosslyn Off Menu Coffees and the Uraga Gomoro (a natural Ethiopian) from Toby’s Estate.9 Reykjavik Roasters, Ásmundarsalur, where we had the I.P., a honey-processed Brazilian.10 Story Coffee, and the naturally-processed Stonewall Riots, from Finca Capri, Colombia.11 Mycloud Coffee and a washed coffee from the Ndumberi Farmers’ Cooperative in Kenya.12
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There are 12 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

The front window of Chief Coffee celebrating the opening of the Japanese games arcade on the top floor. Chief Coffee

Chief Coffee offers a pair of contrasting single-origins coffees roasted by Workshop (which change every week or two) through the Kalita Wave filter. I enjoyed the Mahembe from Rwanda.Served in the carafe, with a cup on the side, all presented on a wooden tray, this was a lovely coffee, quite subtle, but sweet and just as good cold as it was hot. Chief Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.

The words Hundred House Coffee, surrounded by an irregular hexagon, carved in black on wood.Freak & Unique (and Other Coffees)

Although I typically highlight coffee shops serving great filter, this year Hundred House Coffee gave me an unexpected gift: the second edition of the Freak & Unique range, a naturally-processed coffee from Damian Espinoza Garcia in Peru and one from Fazenda Recanto in Brazil, processed using a 64-hour fermentation technique.  These coffees are also on the Best Saturday Supplement shortlist.

The FLTR Coffee logo at the back of FLTR Coffee in Bicester.FLTR Coffee

I couldn’t visit a coffee shop called FLTR Coffee and not have a pour-over. This was a naturally-processed micro-lot of the Arañas varietal from the Fazenda Passeio farm in Brazil, roasted by Dark Woods Coffee and made with the V60. A lovely, rich, full-bodied coffee, it was packed with complex, fruity flavours. FLTR Coffee is also shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.

James, a barista at Bruin Café in Wheatley, making a V60 of the Trés Barras from Origin.Bruin Café

Bruin Café offers coffee from Cornwall’s Origin and the Cotswolds’ Quintessential Coffee Roasters. I counted at least 10 single-origins across the two roasters during my visit, with all the coffees available as pour-overs through the V60. I had Origin’s Trés Barras, a naturally-processed coffee from Brazil, which proved to be sweet and subtle, getting better as it cooled. Bruin Café was also shortlisted for the Best Cake and Most Passionate About Coffee Awards.

Lantern Coffee, as seen from the interior courtyard of Little London.Lantern Coffee

In a shortlist dominated by pour-overs, Lantern Coffe served me an excellent batch brew filter (freshly brewed on the Moccamaster), made using the El Diamante, a washed coffee from Peru, roasted by Square Mile. This was a rich, sweet coffee, which matured as it cooled, proving to be just as good when cold. Lantern Coffee was also shortlisted for the Best Outdoor Seating Award.

My coffee, the Nano Lot N14, a Gesha grown by Creativa Coffee District in Panama, roasted by The Hub in Malaysia and served in a carafe, with a lovely ceramic cup on the side, all presented on a wooden tray, part of the Frozen Solid Coffee Project at Tilt in Birmingham.Frozen Solid Coffee Project

The Frozen Solid Coffee Project from Tilt offers an extremely wide range of single-origin pour-overs (between 20 and 30) from farms/roasters around the world. I had a Gesha, Nano Lot N14, grown by Creativa Coffee District in Panama and roasted by The Hub in Malaysia, which matured as it cooled to bring out the coffee’s fruity notes. The Frozen Solid Coffee Project is on the Most Passionate About Coffee and Best Saturday Supplement shortlists.

Our coffee at Reykjavik Roasters, Brautarholt: an Eitt Sett (one-and-one with the house espresso, served as a single-shot espresso and single-shot cappuccino) in front and a Kalita Wave filter for two at the back.Reykjavik Roasters, Brautarholt

Amanda and I visited Reykjavik this summer, trying all three Reykjavik Roasters in the capital, each with some outstanding filter coffee through the Kalita Wave. At Brautarholt we had the El Volcan, a washed coffee produced by Chalo Fernandez in Colombia. Very smooth, sweet and fruity, it was just as good cold (we took our time) as it was hot. Brautarholt has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Espresso Award.

A pot of coffee for two (La Cascada from Colombia, made through the Kalita Wave), roasted and served at Reykjavik Roasters, KárastígurReykjavik Roasters, Kárastígur

Although second on the shortlist, we visited Kárastígur, its original location, first. We tried two more Colombian single-origins. The La Cascada was lovely, sweet, delicate and fruity, while the Las Mercedes was rich, smooth and full-bodied. Kárastígur is also shortlisted for the Best Physical Space and Best Breakfast Awards.

Rosslyn Off Menu Coffees

Like the Frozen Solid Coffee Project, Rosslyn‘s Off Menu Coffees offers rare single-origin coffees from around the world. I had the Uraga Gomoro (a naturally-processed Ethiopian coffee) roasted by Toby’s Estate in Sydney. Made using the Kalita Wave and SP9 automated brewer, it was outstanding, with subtle, fruity notes. The Off Menu Coffees is also shortlisted for the Most Passionate About Coffee & Best Saturday Supplement Awards.

Detail from the information card that came with our coffee, the I.P., a honey-processed Brazilian single-origin served at Reykjavik Roasters.Reykjavik Roasters, Ásmundarsalur

Rounding off the three Reykjavik Roasters entries on this shortlist is Ásmundarsalur, fittingly the most recent of the coffee shops, located in the art space of the same name. This time we shared a Kalita Wave for two of the I.P., a honey-processed coffee from Brazil. With tasting notes of cake spice and chocolate, it was lovely, rich and full-bodied, perfect for a cold, rainy summer’s afternoon in Reykjavik!

Welcome to Story Coffee Wandsworth, taken from the sign outside.Story Coffee, Wandsworth

Back in London for the penultimate entry on this year’s shortlist, and is the second entry using the SP9 automated brewer in combination with the Kalita Wave. This time I had the Stonewall Riots from Dark Arts Coffee, a naturally-processed coffee from Finca Capri in Colombia, which has a 72-hour anaerobic fermentation stage. Rich and fruity, it matured as it cooled. Story Coffee is also shortlisted for this year’s Best Breakfast Award.

A V60 pour-over being made using a gooseneck kettle at MyCloud Coffee.Mycloud Coffee

The final entry this year is Mycloud Coffee in Sunningdale, where I enjoyed a V60 of a washed coffee from the Ndumberi Farmers’ Cooperative in Kenya, roasted by Square Mile. Served in a carafe with the cup on the side, it was a lovely, delicate brew, it set me up very nicely for the rest of my day. Mycloud Coffee has also been shortlisted for the this year’s Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot and Smallest Coffee Spot Awards.


And the winner is Freak & Unique (and Other Coffees)
Runners-up: Reykjavik Roasters, Brautarholt and Rosslyn Off Menu Coffees

Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2021.


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13 thoughts on “2021 Awards – Best Filter Coffee

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