Happy New Year to all my followers old and new! As we get 2023 underway, here are the winners of the 11th annual Brian’s Coffee Spot Awards. As before, there are 20 Awards, celebrating all the wonderful Coffee Spots I wrote about during 2022. The shortlists for all 20 Awards were announced on a rolling basis starting on Boxing Day and now we have the winners!
Before we go on, I know I’ve said this before, but a big thank you to everyone who’s visited the Coffee Spot, followed me on Twitter, liked my Facebook page and looked at my pictures on Instagram. While I do this for the love of coffee, it means a lot to me that so many of you take the time to read and comment on my writing. Without you, it really would be pointless.
And finally, please accept my apologies for the delays with this year’s Awards. There’s been a lot going on in my life, including moving house two days before Christmas, which has really slowed me down this year. Anyway, without further ado, let’s find out who won!
So, here it is, the final Coffee Spot Awards Shortlist for 2022, the only one that you, my readers, decide. It’s the “Most Popular Coffee Spot” Award, which is based on the total number of views received by each Coffee Spot in 2022.
Last year this was won last year by Lily London, Guildford. This year’s top 10 consists of seven Coffee Spots, including three from my trip to California over the summer, and three Saturday Supplements.
Welcome to the penultimate Coffee Spot Awards Shortlist for 2022, the Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award, which was won last year by The Hideaway. This is a special award for those Coffee Spots which don’t quite fit into the other categories, but which nonetheless I absolutely love… It’s also a chance for me to recognise and reward those wonderful Coffee Spots that I come across during the year and which mean something special to me.
Welcome to the next Coffee Spot Awards Shortlist for 2022, the “Most Passionate About Coffee” Award, which was won in 2021 by Sam’s Coffee. For me, this is one of the most important awards, and also one of the hardest to judge, which is why I’ve left it to the last day.
It’s not just about the coffee, it’s also about people who love and care about coffee. Everyone who I’ve covered in the Coffee Spot is passionate about coffee and one of the great things is how much love there is out there, both for the coffee and for those who make it. However, those shortlisted for this award stand out from the crowd.
We enter the final day of the 2022 Coffee Spot Awards shortlists with the “Best Breakfast” Award, which in 2021 went to Little Yellow Pig, Nantwich. Along with cake, breakfast has a special place in my heart. It used to be that I rarely got up and out of the house early enough to get to places before they stop serving breakfast.
However, I’ve been doing so much travelling over the last two years that I’m now able to generate a healthy shortlist this year, helped by those wonderful places that serve all-day breakfasts! In fact, given how often I have things from the breakfast menu for lunch, I wonder if I should rename this award “Best Brunch”…
The final shortlist of the day is for another of my favourite Coffee Spot Awards, that of “Coffee Spot with the Happiest Staff”, won last year by Coffee Notes. In my opinion, staff are probably the most over-looked part of any Coffee Spot. Good staff can make a place and bad staff, no matter how great the coffee and wonderful the location, can kill a place.
Everywhere that features in the Coffee Spot has great staff, but these were exceptional, with some infectiously happy staff. However, this award isn’t just for happy staff; it’s for any staff who go that extra mile to make their coffee shop a special place.
Next up today, the 2022 Coffee Spot Award shortlist for “Best Physical Space”, which was won last year by Medicine New Street. One of the most important things for me is how a Coffee Spot looks and feels. This, to me, is just as important as the coffee.
This award celebrates those Coffee Spots in which there’s a pure joy in just sitting there, soaking it all in. It’s not just about physical beauty and elegance. Instead, it’s as much about atmosphere, layout and overall feel. It’s another where I could have filled the shortlist many times over, all with worthy winners. However, I have managed to whittle it down to just a single list for this year’s Award.
The second of today’s 2022 Coffee Spot Awards shortlists is for the “Best Flat White” Award, which was won last year by Speckled Ax, Thames.
Although I love black coffee, espresso with milk is very much its own thing. This award recognises those who have produced the perfect blend of coffee and milk with the smoothest, silkiest flat white (although awesome cortados, etc, also qualify).
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.
Welcome to the shortlist for the 2022 “Best Cake” Award, won in 2021 by Kookaburra Bakehouse. Despite what it says on the tag line, the Coffee Spot’s not all about the coffee. After all, what would a cup of coffee be without a decent slice of cake to go with it? So, cake plays a major part in the Coffee Spot and this Award celebrates the Coffee Spots which excel in the cake department.
This is another of my favourite Awards and while I don’t visit that many dedicated cake spots, I was nonetheless treated to some absolutely fantastic cake this year, proving that, like good coffee, the more you look, the more good cake you find.