The A-board at Nest on Kensington Gardens, promising Has Bean's Blake Blend, delicious cakes and fresh food.Nest is one of the more recent additions to the booming Brighton coffee scene that I wrote about in my latest Caffeine Magazine article. Located in the North Laines area, it’s easy to miss since it’s not on a main thoroughfare. However, it’s well worth tracking down.

Nest is the sort of place that put the lounge into coffee lounge: a relaxed, chilled-out space where you could easily end up spending all day without quite meaning to. It helps that the coffee is excellent, as are the cakes, and there’s more than enough food to keep you going through the day!

Seating-wise, you have the choice of downstairs at the back, or the slightly quieter upstairs. Both have fairly standard tables and chairs and, surprisingly for such a laid-back place, there is only one sofa, tucked away in a corner upstairs. On the other hand, more sofas might mean that no-one would actually ever leave! Large windows dominate the front of Nest, which, coupled with a window at the back and the clever use of mirrors, mean that the interior is very bright. This is also true upstairs, where windows front and back provide plenty of light.

April 2015: Nest is no more, having been taken over and renamed Jolliffes at the start of March. You can see what I made of the new place

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An espresso shot extracting on the Mavam modular espresso system at Brighton's Coffee @33.I was originally put onto Coffee@33 by Horsham Coffee Roaster in 2013, which is when I first visited, Back then, Coffee@33 used legendary London roasters, Monmouth, along with the more local Horsham Coffee Roaster. Since 2015, however, Coffee@33 has roasted its own beans, first using a small hot-air roaster in the shop, then a more conventional gas-fired roaster in a dedicated facility. At the end of 2018, Coffee@33 returned to its original partnership with Horsham Coffee, roasting on Horsham’s new Loring roaster. Not only has this meant renewing ties with Horsham, but it signifies a return to air-roasting on a high-capacity, efficient machine.

Coffee@33 serves a Brazilian/Nicaraguan espresso blend, accompanied by several single-origins. One is available on espresso, providing a contrast to the blend, while the others are available as pour-over using the Kinto dripper. As well as the unusual choice of filter method, Coffee@33 is a trend-setter when it comes to espresso, being one a handful of UK shops to use the Mavam modular espresso system. If you’re hungry, there’s a selection of sandwiches, which can be toasted, and a wide selection of cakes and pastries to choose from, all baked on-site.

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Taylor Street Baristas, Brighton

The Taylor Street Baristas since, with its emblem of a latte-art leafA short walk down Queen Street in the direction of the sea from Brighton Station sees you arrive at Taylor Street Baristas, set back from the street on a slightly elevated pavement. From the outset, it’s a very tempting place, the sort of coffee shop that makes you want to immediately step inside. I’d have gone in even if it (a) wasn’t on my list and (b) hadn’t been recommended by other Brighton coffee shops.

Inside, Taylor Street Baristas is just as welcoming as it appears from the street. However, for me the main draw is the lovely little garden at the back. Good coffee shops with decent gardens are in short supply, so it’s always a pleasure to find another one (the lucky folks of Brighton also have The Marwood: it’s not fair!).

It also helps that the coffee is excellent. Taylor Street Baristas offers the usual espresso-based menu, along with batch-brew filter and V60/Aeropress options. The house blend (Rogue Espresso) is from Union Hand-roasted and there are regularly-rotating guest espressos and guest filters. While I was there, the guest espresso was Has Bean’s Kicker blend, with a Has Bean Costa Rica on the batch-brew.

November 2015: Taylor Street Baristas has closed its iconic Brighton branch to concentrate on the stores in London, plus the chain’s expansion plans. I know that there were plans to sell it as a going concern, so watch this space, but for now it’s closed.

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Ground Coffee, Hove

An A-board outside Ground Coffee, Hove saying Hello, Bonjour, Ciao, Hallo, Guten Tag, Dia Duit, Hola, G'DayGround Coffee Houses is a chain of precisely two. Business partners Matthew and Rick founded the original in Kemp Town, Brighton, four years ago, going on to open this branch on Church Road, Hove, two years later.

Ground appears to believe in keeping things simple with a straightforward layout and minimal décor (particularly in contrast to somewhere such as The Marwood), perhaps so that it doesn’t distract from the coffee, which seems to be the focus. It’s a busy place with a bustling, convivial atmosphere, background music adding to the hum of conversation. If coffee’s not your thing, there’s loose-leaf tea as well as sandwiches and cake.

Ground gets its house blend from Union Hand-roasted, a particular favourite of mine, while taking espresso and filter beans from regularly rotating guest roasters. A fairly regular guest is one of my favourite local small batch roasters, Horsham Coffee Roaster. While I was there, Ground had an impressive number of its offerings squirreled away under the counter. Bradley, the man behind Horsham Coffee Roaster, was most insistent that I paid Ground a visit once he knew that I’d be going to Hove. How could I refuse…?

December 2015: I’ve learnt that the Hove branch has now closed.

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The Marwood

The Marwood, tucked away in an alley of Ship Street, BrightonRight in the heart of Brighton’s Lanes, tucked away in a corner next to Café Coho, is The Marwood. It is perhaps the most Brighton-like of all Brighton’s many and varied coffee shops. To call it quirky would be an understatement: The Marwood is quite possibly the most eclectic place I have visited since I started the Coffee Spot.

I first ran across it as a showcase for Google Maps new “walk-through” feature. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to go there! Of course, quirky can be a double-edged sword: if quirky is used as a gimmick, then it rapidly gets stale. Similarly, quirky without good coffee wouldn’t amount to much either.

Fortunately, The Marwood puts its money where its mouth is, with a classic espresso from Southampton roasters, Mozzo. There’s no third-wave experimentation here, no pour-overs or fancy preparation methods. In fact, the coffee is probably the most straightforward aspect of the whole place. Although it describes itself as a coffee house, The Marwood also does food and serves wine, spirits and bottled beer, as well as offering a variety of different spaces in which to hang out.

April 2015: The Marwood now uses one of my favourite roasters, Winchester’s The Roasting Party.

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