The last of today’s 2021 Coffee Spot Awards shortlists is the “Best Saturday Supplement” Award, won in 2020 by Trying Eugenioides at Terremoto. 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 of this year’s Saturday Supplements.
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 coffee (which, despite being the Coffee Spot, I don’t usually write about!), coffee equipment and a coffee book, all of which makes the comparison a little tricky, but that’s my problem!
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are 12 Saturday Supplements on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, I spent much of the year writing about coffee, starting with this interesting offer from local roaster, Chimney Fire Coffee. It’s the same coffee from the Don Tomas Estate in El Salvador, where different batches have been processed three different ways: natural, washed and honey processed.
I wrote about my Sage Barista Express espresso machine in 2017, which has been a fixture in my kitchen ever since. Due to my lack of travelling over the last 18 months, I’ve been making an espresso pretty much every day and, as a result, I’ve refined my recipe and technique. In light of this, I decided to was time to revisit the Sage Barista Express… The Sage Barista Express Revisited is also on the Most Popular Coffee Spot shortlist.
Sticking with Sage, I was given The Temp Control, a temperature-sensitive milk steaming jug, which has really improved my ability to steam milk (although, alas, not my latte art skills).
Coming back to coffee, I received another interesting set of coffees from Taylors Discovery, an independent micro-roastery operating within Taylors of Harrogate. It’s a microlot from a women’s farming group known as Ejo Heza in the Lake Kivu region of Rwanda, some of it undergoing the traditional washed processing method, with the remainder being naturally-processed. Taylors Discovery is also shortlisted for the Best Roaster/Retailer Award.
Sticking with interesting coffee, Hundred House Coffee gave me three interesting coffees: the second edition of the Freak & Unique range, a naturally-processed Peruvian coffee from Damian Espinoza Garcia and a third coffee from Fazenda Recanto in Brazil, processed using a 64-hour fermentation technique. These coffees have also been shortlisted for the Best Filter Coffee Award.
The Fazenda Recanto from Hundred House Coffee was a microlot bought with two other roasters, Crankhouse Coffee and Quarter Horse Coffee Roasters. I’d planned to compare the same coffee from all three roasters, but Crankhouse had already sold out, so it ended up being a comparison between Hundred House and Quarter Horse, which is also on this year’s Best Roaster/Retailer shortlist.
I was intrigued by the Freak & Unique range from Hundred House Coffee, which I really liked, but which I wouldn’t have called “freak” or “unique”. However, I came across it again in Liar Liar in Oswestry, where I tried it as an espresso (earning it a place on the shortlist for this year’s Best Espresso Award). Now I can begin to understand the “freak” and “unique” labels!
The last of the articles on the shortlist about coffee follows on from the three before. While looking for the Fazenda Recanto on the Crankhouse Coffee website, I came across three coffees which were all processed, like the Fazenda Recanto, with various fermentation techniques, so I decided to buy them instead. Crankhouse Coffee is also shortlisted for this year’s Best Roaster/Retailer Award.
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, some of which are extremely rare micro- and nano-lots. It does this by freezing individual doses and then grinding/brewing them direct from the freezer! The Frozen Solid Coffee Project has also been shortlisted for the Best Filter Coffee and Most Passionate About Coffee Awards.
Similar to the Frozen Solid Coffee Project from Tilt, Rosslyn‘s Off Menu Coffees offers rare single-origin coffees from around the world by freezing individual doses, then grinding/brewing them direct from the freezer. The Off Menu Coffees slightly predate the Frozen Solid Coffee Project, although Rosslyn offers a smaller range (typically five or six coffees). The Off Menu Coffees is also on the Best Filter Coffee & Most Passionate About Coffee shortlists.
Coffeeland, by Augustine Sedgewick, is ostensibly a history of coffee in El Salvador (the “coffeeland” of the title), with the focus on James Hill, who went from the slums of nineteenth-century Manchester to El Salvador, where he founded one of its great coffee dynasties. However, it’s more than that, a fascinating, multi-threaded book which weaves together many strands of the modern, industrial world to tell the story of coffee from the perspective of those who produce it.
The final entry in the shortlist goes back to coffee equipment with the Soulhand Gooseneck Kettle. Although I already had two gooseneck kettles, they’re electric, whereas this works on a hob. It also has a built-in thermometer, one of those things that I didn’t realise I needed until I used it (much like the gooseneck kettle itself). The Soulhand Gooseneck Kettle has also been shortlisted for this year’s Most Popular Coffee Spot Award.
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2021.
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