Today’s Coffee Spot sees us staying in Shrewsbury with what is simultaneously a new name and a familiar face. The Condor is the new name, spiritual successor to English Bridge Coffee, occupying the same space at the end/start of Wyle Cop, next to the English Bridge. The familiar face is Raúl, who has taken the strengths of what went before (excellent, multi-roaster single-origin coffee and a warm welcome) while adding South American street food to the mix (with more than a nod to his Chilean heritage).
There have been other changes since my first visit almost exactly a year ago. Although the basic layout remains the same, the interior has had a make-over, the counter now forming an L-shape in the back, right-hand corner. This has simultaneously added a new seating area on the left-hand side while also seeming to give Raúl more space behind the counter, which is a neat trick. There have been changes on the coffee side as well. While remaining true to the ideal of being a multi-roaster, serving the best single-origin coffee from around the country, Raúl has added batch-brew filter and V60 pour-overs to the espresso-only menu that I remember from my original visit.
Sydney was my final stop on this year’s Australia trip and, in many ways, I’d saved the best until last. Good coffee abounds in Sydney and top of my list was one of the city’s pioneers, Single O, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. And where better to start than Single O’s flagship café in Surry Hills, the place where it all began 20 years ago? Except, of course, my first introduction to Single O came five years earlier at its Tasting Bar in the Single O Roastery in Tokyo. Oh well…
The Surry Hills café is long and thin, split into separate sit-in and takeaway sections either side of the central counter. There’s also plenty of seating outside. Originally the back of the café was home to the roastery. This is long since gone, but Single O still roasts all its coffee, with two blends and a rotating single-origin on espresso, two single-origins on batch-brew filter (both on tap!), plus cold brew and two tasting flights, with all the beans available to buy in retail bags. There are also juices, beer and wine, while the large all-day brunch menu means you’re equally well catered for when it comes to food.
I discovered Way Speciality Coffee Roasters in March, when I stopped in Ghent my way back from my trip to Amsterdam. European Coffee Trip led me to Way Coffee & Book Shop on Voldersstraat in the historic city centre, where I had a chance meeting with Ward, Way’s co-owner and head roaster, who invited me to the Way Roastery & Shop the following Monday (Way also has a bakehouse and café on Jakobijnenstraat 7 which I didn’t manage to visit).
Way Roastery & Shop is in Dok Noord, an old industrial complex that’s been redeveloped into a residential, office and leisure hub, a 25-minute walk or short tram ride north of the centre. Way occupies part of what was once a washing machine factory, housing a spacious café, showroom and roastery. Today’s Coffee Spot is all about the café, with the roastery featuring in its own Meet the Roaster feature in due course.
Way only roasts single-origins and is entirely plant-based (vegan). There’s a choice of the house espresso (from Brazil) plus a single-origin on espresso, along with two choices (Brazil plus another single-origin) on batch-brew filter and a wide selection on pour-over through the V60 or AeroPress.
One of the neat things about being a regular visitor to Portland (Maine) is that I’ve been able to watch Tandem Coffee Roasters evolve over the last eight years. Tandem has two locations, Tandem Coffee + Bakery (cunningly disguised as a gas station on Congress Street) and the subject of today’s Coffee Spot Update, Tandem Cafe & Roastery on Anderson Street in Portland’s East End. This has undergone two large overhauls since my first visit in 2015, when I came to Maine to begin my coast-to-coast train journey from Portland to Portland.
The first overhaul came when the roastery moved into a separate building behind the original. I reported on this and the subsequent remodelling of the cafe in 2020, publishing my Coffee Spot Update less than a month before the COVID-19 pandemic swept around the world. This resulted in the cafe closing its doors for over two years, from March 2020 until May 2022, although the roastery kept going the whole time. However, one good thing that came out of the enforced closure was that it gave Tandem the time and space to undertake a complete remodelling of the café, which is the subject of today’s Coffee Spot Update.
Black Fox Coffee is the final Coffee Spot from last September’s visit to New York City. Fittingly, since I started my Manhattan write-ups with a recommendation from my friend Bex (of Double Skinny Macchiato), Black Fox is another of Bex’s many NYC recommendations. Black Fox is an interesting concept, being both a roaster in its own right and also a multi-roaster, featuring guests from around the world on batch-brew filter, alongside its own coffee on espresso, with all the coffee available in retail bags in store and online.
There are currently five Black Foxes around Manhattan, with today’s Coffee Spot located on W 33rd Street in Midtown. It occupies a spot on the ground floor of the Pendry Hotel and, while a door leads directly from the hotel lobby to the coffee shop, it’s a completely standalone operation. There’s no seating inside, and although it has a couple of tables outside, Black Fox only uses disposable cups, so don’t forget to bring your own. If you’re hungry, there’s a small selection of cakes and pastries.
Regular readers know that I love a good market, so it’s fitting that today’s Saturday Short takes us to Chester, where the new Chester Market, part of the Northgate development, opened in November last year. And even better, from the Coffee Spot’s perspective, one of the founding tenants in none other than Bean & Cole, with the unit in the market joining the original coffee shop on Frodsham Street.
Bean & Cole occupies a simple counter towards the back of the new market, although you’re welcome to take your coffee to any of the market’s extensive seating areas, inside or out. Even better, the friendly baristas will bring your coffee to you and, what’s more, it will be served in a proper cup! Best of all, though, is the choice of beans, with Assembly on espresso, along with a guest roaster in the second hopper, while for filter, there’s a choice of pour-over or batch-brew (both from Square Mile during my visit). Finally, if you’re hungry, Bean & Cole has its usual range of cakes/pastries.
Joe Coffee is a well-established name in New York City speciality coffee circles, having opened its first coffee shop in the West Village in 2003. Since then, its opened more than 20 other locations in and around Manhattan, including a dedicated roastery/café in Long Island City. However, despite this proliferation, I’d not managed to pay Joe a visit until I stayed in Midtown for work last September, when I suddenly had several within easy walking distance of my office and hotel.
I ended up visiting two Joe Coffee locations, one on Union Square and the other, the Joe Coffee Pro Shop on W 21st Street, which is the subject of today’s Coffee Spot. This is something of a flagship store for Joe Coffee, a range of single-origins on espresso, pour-over (V60, Kalita Wave and AeroPress) and cold-brew joining the standard offering of the seasonal Waverly espresso blend, Nightcap decaf and batch brew filter. There’s also a rotating guest roaster (Broadsheet from Somerville, Massachusetts, during my visit). The Pro Shop offers a small grab-and-go range, along with cakes and pastries, all served from a neat little space with a handful of stools inside and a solitary bench outside on the pavement.
On my way home after my trip to Amsterdam in March, I spent a quiet week visiting friends in Ghent. It was very low key, but I did wander around the city centre a few times and, naturally, I checked out the local coffee scene with the help of European Coffee Trip. While I didn’t have time to explore as much as I would have liked, I found myself drawn to Way on Voldersstraat, right in the heart of the old city.
Way is a roaster with three very different coffee shops in the city. The one on Voldersstraat is an interesting place, serving takeaway coffee (but with outside seating) while also acting as a retail shop, selling both beans and home coffee equipment. And to cap it all, there’s a bookshop upstairs, with an eclectic collection, centred around coffee and sustainable living.
When it comes to the coffee, there are two single-origins on espresso, with all the shots pulled on a Modbar system. There are also multiple single-origins on pour-over, Way using the Modbar automated system with the V60. Finally, there’s a selection of cakes and pastries, all baked in-house with the added twist that Way is entirely plant-based/vegan.
Now that London is no longer on my doorstep, I don’t visit as often as I once did, so when I was passing through two weeks ago, I took the opportunity to head to Spitalfields in East London to catch up with a familiar name in a new setting. Potter & Reid occupies two rooms on the west side of Toynbee Street. You’ll find the counter and a limited amount of seating on the right-hand side, while the bulk of the seating is to the left, along with a bench and tables on the pavement outside.
Although the coffee shop is new, having opened at the start of last year, the names Potter & Reid are familiar to the London coffee scene, the pair having met in the Allpress café around the corner on Redchurch Street in 2010. Unsurprisingly, you’ll find the ubiquitous Allpress blend at the heart of the espresso menu, backed up by a guest roaster on batch-brew filter. There’s a strong retail offering, featuring a pair of guest roasters, and, unusually, there’s also wine/beer on the menu. Meanwhile, if you’re hungry, there are separate breakfast/lunch menus from chef Eleni Thoma, along with a range of cakes and pastries.
Although no longer a resident, I’m still very interested in Guildford’s speciality coffee scene. I was therefore sad to learn in March that an old favourite, Koja Coffee, had closed after a tumultuous year which saw it move from its original home on Jeffries Passage to New House, a recently-opened space for artists and creatives. However, every cloud has a silver lining and in May I was delighted to learn from Ben Barker that Frida’s Coffee House had opened in Koja’s place. Naturally, I visited the next time I was in Guildford.
If you were familiar with Koja, the set up is very similar, Frida’s occupying a counter inside the lobby to New House. There’s a similar offering too, with the Nom Nom blend from Hundred House along with Perky Blenders’ decaf on espresso, while Hundred House also supplies two single-origins, available as pour-overs through the V60. One change is that Frida’s offers a small range of toasted panini and savoury croissants, plus vegan sausage rolls and the usual selection of cakes/pastries.