11 August 2014

The Brighton Caffeine Chronicles

I first came across the Brighton-based Small Batch Coffee Company when its coffee was served in the all-too-short-lived Brewhouse on York. It was, then, an obvious first port of call on my day trip to Brighton at the weekend. I stopped by the Jubilee Street branch in the city centre and the place was bustling. There was a fairly big queue and only a couple of the pavement tables were free, although there was plenty of room for perching at the window inside.

As well as a menu of the standard espresso-based drinks, Small Batch also serves a couple of different hand-brewed filter coffees. Given how warm the day was, I was sorely tempted by the Kenyan iced pourover, but the other option at the brew bar was a Guatemalan coffee brewed with a Clever Dripper, and since Revolver in Vancouver, I've been a Clever convert.

I ordered one of the small squares of white chocolate caramel shortbread goodness and took a seat at the brew bar while my coffee was prepared. The coffee (£2.80) had a refreshing fruity acidity to it, and I could really taste the cleanness that the Clever Dripper is so good at providing. Small Batch is so named because they roast their coffee in small batches every day, which means it is always super-fresh.

In the café, Small Batch sells a selection of the usual coffee-making kit, as well as bags of their coffee beans and their cute mugs. If you're in the Jubilee Street branch, be sure to check out the loos, which are very cool! Small Batch has several cafés around Brighton and Hove. I walked past two of the others and they both looked lovely too.

Taylor Street Baristas is actually a London-based company and has eight branches in the capital (they're  also the guys behind the Tesco-housed Harris + Hoole cafés). None of the London branches open at the weekend, however, so I've never been able to visit. Taylor Street also has a café on Queens Road in Brighton, a few minutes south of the main station, and happily, this café does open up at the weekend.

The first thing you notice when you walk inside is the series of huge coffee taste charts on the walls, which offer you some insights into their coffees of the week. The décor is much more casual and homey than some of the slick, industrial-chic cafés you often see.

I ordered an Aeropress-brewed filter coffee (£3), choosing the fruitier Ethiopian variety over the nuttier, chocolatey Colombian variety. They also serve pourover coffee, and the usual espresso drinks, and sell a selection of cakes and pastries, as well as a tempting sweetcorn-avocado brunch dish, but I was too full. Instead, I took a seat at one of the tables and flicked through the Saturday papers while I waited for my coffee. After the cleanness of the Clever dripper, the Aeropress coffee tasted very slightly muddy, but it was still flavoursome and strong, with citrus notes.

Small Batch Coffee. 17 Jubilee Street, Brighton, BN1 1GE. Website. Twitter.
Taylor Street Baristas. 28 Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XA. Website. Twitter.

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