First up today is the 2022 Coffee Spot Award shortlist for “Best Roaster/Retailer”, which was won last year by Hundred House Coffee. Initially, this award was only open to retailers, but in 2014, I expanded it to include roasters, who now dominate the award. Contenders have either appeared in the Meet the Roaster series or are cafe/roasters which I’ve visited during the year.
Although the Coffee Spot is mostly about places to have coffee, I still drink the majority of my coffee at home (actually, with the amount of travelling I now do, I’m not so sure this is true…), so those wonderful people who provide me with my coffee beans need a mention. The problem, as with all these awards, is knowing where to draw the line for the shortlist. I’ve visited lots of coffee shops/roasters this year, but I’ve made a decision, by-and-large, to stick to either roasters I’ve written about as roasters or coffee shops where the beans are roasted on site.
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are 12 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
We get this year’s shortlist underway with NewGround Coffee in Oxford, where the Loring roaster sits at the back of the minimalist coffee bar in Headington. However, there’s more to NewGround than just roasting and serving excellent coffee, NewGround also working to create job opportunities and provide training for ex-offenders, helping them back into employment.
I’ve known Speckled Ax since my first visit to Portland in 2015. However, it took me almost seven years before I visited the roastery, although in my defence, it’s only been in the last couple of years that the roastery, home to Speckled Ax’s wood-fired roaster, has been in Portland proper, finding a new home on Walton Street, where there’s a neat coffee bar in the front of the building.
Staying in Maine in New England, I visited Biddeford earlier this year when I called in on Time & Tide Coffee. As luck would have it, Jon, one of the owners, was there, which led to an impromtu tour of the roastery, located across the road in an old mill building.
Moving over to Köln in Germany, Ernst Kaffeeröster is coffee shop/roaster with a 5 kg Diedrich behind the counter of the coffee shop on Bonner Straße. Originally this roasted all the coffee, but production moved to a dedicated facility in 2016. These days the Diedrich is still in use, roasting all of the single-origins. Ernst Kaffeeröster is also shortlisted for the Best Flat White Award.
Back in the UK, Adams + Russell has been roasting coffee in Birkenhead for over 40 years. Mr Adams and Mr Russell have long since left the company, which is now reinventing itself as a third-wave coffee roaster, while at the same time not forgetting its traditional customer base in The Wirral. Adams + Russell has an impressive output, with multiple blends and single-origins, ranging from old-school robusta-based blends to lightly-roasted micro lots.
Old friends Neighbourhood Coffee started life under a railway arch in Liverpool, but just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, moved to much larger premises by the docks. However, the coffee is just as good as ever, as are the music-based puns with which they are named.
CoRo (Bay Area CoRoasters) has an interesting set up in Berkeley, California. Since 2016 it’s provided a shared roasting space for over 40 roasters, while the Coffee Room, which showcases the roastery’s output, opened in 2018. The Coffee Room has been shortlisted for the Best Cake and Best Espresso Awards, while it’s on this shortlist as a roaster.
Moving to Berlin, 19grams has its roastery and lab near Alexanderplatz, where it shares the space with a large coffee shop. All the coffee that’s served across 19grams Berlin shops is roasted here, the roaster clearly visible behind glass doors at the back of the coffee shop. 19grams Alex is also on the shortlist for this year’s Best Espresso Award.
Another coffee shop/roaster, this time in San Francisco, Linea Coffee Roasting + Caffe moved into the old Intelligentsia roasting facility on Mariposa Street in Potrero Hill not long before the COVID-19 pandemic, having previously used a shared roasting facility in Oakland. Linea has also been shortlisted for the Best Outdoor Seating Award.
The Colonel’s Son Coffee Roasters
The Colonel’s Son Coffee Roasters in Shrewsbury is one of the smallest operations I’ve visited, combining coffee shop and roastery into an infeasibly small space, which earned it a place on the shortlist for the Smallest Coffee Spot Award. It’s also just up the hill from the station and therefore also on the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Award shortlist.
Another coffee shop/roaster is Blueprint Coffee in the Delmar neighbourhood of St Louis, although 2023 should see the roaster, a restored vintage model with an unusual side-opening door, move to a dedicated roasting facility, so catch it while you can. Blueprint Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Espresso Award.
Our final entry is another coffee shop/roaster, although this one has the roaster at the front of the shop, where it takes pride of place in the window. Unusually for a roaster, Hardline Coffee only roasts for espresso, using North Carolina’s Black & White Coffee Roasters for various filter options Located inside the Art SUX Gallery in Sioux City, Hardline Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award.
The winner will be announced on Monday, 2nd January. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2022.
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