2021 Awards – Smallest Coffee Spot

The front of Over Under Coffee, West Brompton, which is pretty much the extent of the store!Coffee Spots come in all shapes and sizes, but for some reason I have a real soft spot for small Coffee Spots. Last year the “Smallest Coffee Spot” Award was won by Over Under Coffee, West Brompton.

This year I have once again been blessed by some very small Coffee Spots, serving some very fine coffee. As in previous years, this Award is entirely subjective: no Coffee Spots were measured during the judging process! This is one of the few Awards where I could have filled the shortlist over again: the world seems full of lots of really lovely, small, Coffee Spots. Note that I have excluded places where there’s no physical coffee shop to go inside.

You can see the shortlist after the gallery.

  • Cable Co., a small, glass-walled place at The Aircraft Factory.
  • Sarah's Leytonstone, with enough space for counter, espresso machine and Sarah herself.
  • Espresso Quarter, the latest in the Espresso Station family, in the Jewellery Quarter.
  • Nostos Coffee, occupying a small, quirky spot in Battersea.
  • Kookaburra Bakehouse, Chester, with a counter and a handful of stools.
  • Rumdoodles, effectively a coffee kiosk inside an outdoor shop in Llanberis.
  • Marmalade, another small spot from North Wales.
  • Bank Street Social, the third of three from North Wales on this year's shortlist.
  • Mycloud Coffee, once a cosy coffee shop, and now a takeaway only operation.
  • Lockdown Bakehouse, where it's standing room only (unless you sit outside).
  • Communion Coffee, with just enough room for a communal table and a window-bar.
  • Little Yellow Pig, Nantwich, channelling the inner 'little' of the original Little Yellow Pig.
  • The Roastery at Cobham, a cosy coffee shop next to the roastery in a barn in Surrey.
  • Tintico, Greek Street, following in the tradition of small Soho coffee shops.
  • Little Woodford, downsizing its physical space, but not its spirit.
Cable Co., a small, glass-walled place at The Aircraft Factory.1 Sarah's Leytonstone, with enough space for counter, espresso machine and Sarah herself.2 Espresso Quarter, the latest in the Espresso Station family, in the Jewellery Quarter.3 Nostos Coffee, occupying a small, quirky spot in Battersea.4 Kookaburra Bakehouse, Chester, with a counter and a handful of stools.5 Rumdoodles, effectively a coffee kiosk inside an outdoor shop in Llanberis.6 Marmalade, another small spot from North Wales.7 Bank Street Social, the third of three from North Wales on this year's shortlist.8 Mycloud Coffee, once a cosy coffee shop, and now a takeaway only operation.9 Lockdown Bakehouse, where it's standing room only (unless you sit outside).10 Communion Coffee, with just enough room for a communal table and a window-bar.11 Little Yellow Pig, Nantwich, channelling the inner 'little' of the original Little Yellow Pig.12 The Roastery at Cobham, a cosy coffee shop next to the roastery in a barn in Surrey.13 Tintico, Greek Street, following in the tradition of small Soho coffee shops.14 Little Woodford, downsizing its physical space, but not its spirit.15
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There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

My decaf flat white on my HuskeeCup, sitting on an old barrel outside Cable Co. in The Aircraft Factory.Cable Co., The Aircraft Factory

Occupying a small, glass-walled coffee shop at the entrance to The Aircraft Factory in Hammersmith, there’s not a lot to Cable Co. That doesn’t stop it from serving some excellent Climpson and Sons on espresso, backed up by a selection of pastries and cakes. Cable Co. has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Takeaway Coffee and Best Flat White Awards.

An espresso extracting into a glass from a Rancilio Silvia espresso machine at Sarah's Leytonstone.Sarah’s Leytonstone

Sarah’s Leytonstone is an offshoot of the B-Tempted bakery, serving coffee, cakes and good cheer from the front of the railway arch that houses the bakery. The set-up is a relatively simple with a pair of tables on the quiet side street in front of the arch, while inside there’s just enough space for a neat counter with the espresso machine, till, cakes and, of course, Sarah herself. Sarah’s Leytonstone is also on the Most Popular Coffee Spot shortlist.

The sunlit front of Espresso Quarter in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.Espresso Quarter

Espresso Quarter is the latest addition to the Espresso Station family, which opened in March 2020 in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. Fittingly, it occupies an old jeweller’s shop, complete with the safe still built into the wall, where the stock was kept overnight. It’s a pretty small spot, with a couple of tables outside on the pavement and limited interior seating.

An espresso, made with Kiss the Hippo’s Bensa from Ethiopia, an anaerobic natural with tasting notes of blackberry, pineapple and strawberry jam, served at Nostos in a classic blue cup.Nostos Coffee

Nostos Coffee opened in May, occupying a small, quirky space next to Battersea Park station (earning a place on the the shortlist for the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Award). Despite its small size, it has an impressive coffee offering, with Kiss the Hippo and Ue Coffee Roasters providing contrasting options on espresso (good enough for a place on the Best Espresso Award shortlist). Nostos Coffee is also on the Happiest Staff Award shortlist.

A lovely piccolo, served in a glass and topped with some intricate latte art at Kookaburra Bakehouse in Chester.Kookaburra Bakehouse

Chester’s Kookaburra Bakehouse, which opened in July this year, is the latest venture from Bean & Cole, in partnership with Jess, who does the baking in the kitchen upstairs (and whose cakes earned a place on the Best Cake shortlist). It’s a tiny place, principally catering to the takeaway trade, although there are a couple of bars offering limited inside seating, where you can sit and chat with whoever is behind the counter.

My Global WAKEcup and Amanda's Speckled Ax reusable cup waiting for their coffee at Rumdoodles in Llanberis.Rumdoodles

Rumdoodles, on the High Street in Llanberis, made the transition to takeaway-only service during the COVID-19 pandemic, earning it a spot on the shortlist for the Best Takeaway Coffee Award. Effectively a coffee kiosk inside an outdoor shop, it was a cosy coffee shop in its own right, but now serves the ubiquitous Landmark seasonal blend from Heartland Coffee Roasters and a selection of cakes to allcomers.

Detail from the A-board outside Marmalade in Holywell, a drawing of a hare in front of the mooon, with the caption "enter the Dark Woods..."Marmalade

Marmalade is a delightful coffee shop opposite the old town hall on Holywell Hight Street. Serving Dark Woods Coffee and a lovely breakfast and lunch menu (with the food prepared to order in the kitchen at the back), there’s not a lot to Marmalade, with just enough space for a couple of tables and window bars. Marmalade has also been shortlisted for the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot and Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Awards.

The latte art in my flat white at Bank Street Social in Wrexham.Bank Street Social

Wrexham’s Bank Street Social is a small spot, but it packs a lot in. As well as some excellent Neighbourhood Coffee, there’s the wonderful lighting, which has earned Bank Street Social a place on the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting shortlist. And, to round things off, Bank Street Social has also been shortlisted for the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award.

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

Mycloud Coffee in Sunningdale is another, like Rumdoodles, which was a cosy little coffee shop in its own right. It then reinvented itself as a takeaway coffee shop in reaction to COVID-19, enabling it to stay open throughout the pandemic. Mycloud Coffee also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Filter Coffee and Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Awards.

The Lockdown Bakehouse logo, carved into the top of one of the tables.Lockdown Bakehouse

Lockdown Bakehouse in Wandsworth is a bakery which opened not long after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, Lockdown Bakehouse has expanded and evolved to meet the pandemic’s growing challenges, turning itself into a neat cafe with an equally neat outdoor seating area in front of the bakery (which has also seen it on the Best Outdoor Seating shortlist). Lockdown Bakehouse has also been shortlisted for the Best Cake Award.

The façade of Communion Coffee, with a large window on the right, the left-hand side split between the door (right) and a much smaller window (left). The yellow branding at the top stands out against the grey paintwork.Communion Coffee

Another coffee shop which opened just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Communion Coffee has a simple offering of quality coffee and baked goods in an equally simple space, with room for a communal table and a window-bar. Communion Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station and Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Awards.

My awesome veggie breakfast which I had at Little Yellow Pig in Nantwich. Arranged around a pot of baked beans in the centre are avocado, halloumu, a pair of fried eggs, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and two slices of toast!Little Yellow Pig, Nantwich

The original Little Yellow Pig in Hoole was a tiny affair before it expanded into the shop next door. Nantwich channels that original vibe, a cosy spot offering the same winning formula of excellent food and great coffee from Hundred House Coffee. Little Yellow Pig is also on the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot and Best Breakfast shortlists.

The Rwanda Bwenda, a naturally-processed coffee, which was prepared through the V60 and served in a double-walled glass cup at The Roastery in Cobham.The Roastery at Cobham

Occupying one of several old barns at Bramley Hedge Farm, The Roastery at Cobham is both a roastery (as the name would suggest) and a coffee shop. Although the space is quite big, once you’ve accounted for the roastery, what’s left is a cosy (and toasty) coffee shop, the ideal spot for watching the roastery at work. The Roastery at Cobham is also on this year’s Best Roaster/Retailer Award shortlist.

An espresso, made with the guest coffee, the Los Ancestros, a washed coffee with an extended fermentation stage from Guatemala and roasted by 39 Steps Coffee, served in a classic black cup at Tintico on Greek Street.Tintico, Greek Street

This is the second of two locations for Tintico, following on from the original in Finchley. Located in the heart of Soho, it follows in the best traditions of that area’s small coffee shops, with a compact little space that used to be a clothes shop. Its lack of size hasn’t stopped it from producing some excellent coffee, good enough for a spot on this year’s shortlisted for the Best Espresso Award.

The front of Little Woodfords on Congress Street in Portland, Maine, proudly flying its Progress Pride flag.Little Woodfords

Rounding off this year’s shortlist is Little Woodfords in Portland, Maine. It used to occupy a spacious, light-filled spot in the Woodfords neighbourhood but has since relocated downtown to a much smaller space, although it’s retained its warm welcome and community-orientated spirit, so much so that it’s also shortlisted for this year’s Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award and the Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award.


A special mention needs to go to the following:

Lily London, Guildford
Eighty Six’d
Bruin Café
Hatch @ Hazel & Haydn
Bean & Leaf Coffee House
Lily London, Shard
Peregrine Espresso, Eastern Market


And the winner is Tintico, Greek Street
Runners-up: Rumdoodles and Espresso Quarter

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


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11 thoughts on “2021 Awards – Smallest Coffee Spot

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