2022 Awards – Best Flat White

A lovely cappuccino, made with the Honduras El Cedro, a honey processed coffee, served in a classic white cup at Speckled Ax, Thames Street in Portland, Main.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).

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2022 Awards – Best Roaster/Retailer

The words Hundred House Coffee, surrounded by an irregular hexagon, carved in black on wood.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.

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2022 Awards – Best Cake

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

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2022 Awards – Smallest Coffee Spot

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.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 Tintico, Greek Street.

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.

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2022 Awards – Best Espresso

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.We’re halfway through the 2022 Coffee Spot Awards, so it’s time for the shortlist for the “Best Espresso” Award, which was won in 2021 by Nostos Coffee. When it comes down to it, I still tend to judge a Coffee Spot by the quality of its espresso. Of course, this is entirely subjective and down to taste. I would never knock a place that made a good espresso just because it wasn’t to my taste.

This award is for those Coffee Spots which served me the best and most memorable espressos of the year. I started the Coffee Spot as a confirmed Italian espresso drinker with my palette evolving and expanding over time. This year I had some truly sublime espresso, leading to this being one of the most hotly contested of this year’s Awards.

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2022 Awards – Best Outdoor Seating

One of the cabins, known as Cwch Gwenyn (The Hive), in the garden at the back of Caffi Caban.Next up in the 2022 Coffee Spot Awards is the shortlist for the “Coffee Spot with the Best Outdoor Seating” Award. Celebrating all those wonderful Coffee Spots with excellent outdoor seating, this was won last year by Caffi Caban.

To qualify for this award, it’s not just a case of sticking a couple of tables or chairs on the pavement outside your coffee shop. Too often, what could be a lovely spot is marred by traffic noise, or cramped conditions, or just being in the wrong place. The best outside seating is often away from the road and passing pedestrians and offers shelter from the wind, rain and/or sun (although rarely all three at once!). Fortunately, there are plenty of Coffee Spots which do exactly that and this is one award I could have filled many times over!

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2022 Awards – Best Saturday Supplement

My coffee, the Nano Lot N14, a Gesha grown by Creativa Coffee District in Panama, roasted by The Hub in Malaysia and served in a carafe, with a lovely ceramic cup on the side, all presented on a wooden tray, part of the Frozen Solid Coffee Project at Tilt in Birmingham.We get another day of the 2022 Coffee Spot Awards shortlists underway with the “Best Saturday Supplement” Award, won in 2021 by Frozen Solid Coffee Project. The Saturday Supplement is a place where I can write about coffee, coffee-related events, places which I liked but which didn’t really fit into the category of a Coffee Spot and frankly, anything else that takes my fancy! This Award recognises the best of this year’s Saturday Supplements.

Just so we’re clear on this, the Award is not about my writing (that would be far too self-serving). It’s about the actual subjects that I’m writing about, which this year were rather thin on the ground. I wrote a few Travel Spots this year, plus various Coffee Spot Guides, all of which take up slots that would normally go to Saturday Supplements. I also wrote a few series about the same subject, and while each was a standalone piece in its own right, it would feel indulgent to enter them all into this year’s shortlist.

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2022 Awards – Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station

A lovely flat white with an abstract latte art pattern in it, made with the Over Under house blend and served in my HuskeeCup at Over Under Coffee, Wandsworth Town.Today’s third shortlist is for the “Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station”, although it should really be called “Best Coffee Spot at or near a Railway Station”, except that was a bit of a mouthful, even for me. This was won in 2021 by Over Under Coffee, Wandsworth Town and rewards those Coffee Spots serving great coffee to travellers on rail networks around the world.

When you’re desperate for good coffee, railway stations are rarely the best places to be. But what if there was a great Coffee Spot just outside the station (or even in the concourse!) or a few minutes’ walk away and you didn’t know about it? Then this award is for you…

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2022 Awards – Best Filter Coffee

The words Hundred House Coffee, surrounded by an irregular hexagon, carved in black on wood.Continuing the Coffee Spot Awards is the shortlist for the 2022 Coffee Spot Awards, the “Best Filter Coffee” Award, which was won last year by Freak & Unique (and Other Coffees). One of the great journeys that I’ve taken with the Coffee Spot is realising the amazing range of flavours in a good pour-over or batch brew, which has opened my eyes to a whole new world of coffee.

To give you an idea of how far I have come since starting the Coffee Spot, I initially owned a cafetiere and an espresso machine and either drank my coffee at home with milk (cafetiere) or as espresso. Now I have mulitple pour-over filters, a Clever Dripper, an AeroPress, dedicated grinder for filter coffee and a gooseneck kettle. I drink my filter coffee black and if I have to put milk in my coffee to make it drinkable, then I’m drinking the wrong coffee! This award celebrates those Coffee Spots which continue to help me on my journey of discovery.

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2022 Awards – Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting

The front of Taylor's Coffee House, seen from Station Approach, with the vines growing across the edge of the roof and tables either side of the recessed, central door.Let’s get Thursday underway with the shortlist for the 2022 Coffee Spot Award for “Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting”. This was won last year by Taylor’s Coffee House.

Lighting in coffee shops has long held a fascination for me, with most of the galleries containing a shot or two of an interesting light-fitting. This Award celebrates those Coffee Spots with particularly outstanding lighting.

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