To flatly state that Bristol might be one of the best cities in the UK for coffee drinkers probably comes off as an idle boast, but there’s plenty to back up the claim.
There are loads of great cafés dotted across the city, and there’s a bevy of superb local roasters serving the city with the finest roasts from around the world while customers loiter for an hour or three.
But which are the best of the best, which are the cream from Bristol’s very fine crop? Here’s a break down of some of the best coffee shops out there.
Full Court Press
Arguably the heart of Bristol’s speciality coffee scene, owner Matt and his small team of experts do a superlative job of bringing the finest coffees to the city centre. Going into Full Court Press is no simple matter of just ordering a latte, as the they always have four different roasts (two filter and two espressos) on offer at all times. Knowing where to start can be daunting ask of the first time FCPer, but never fear as the team are always quick to guide you towards something you will like. There’s a reason baristas from other coffee shops congregate here, and you can be assured of friendly welcome at any hour of the working day.
59 Broad Street, Bristol, Avon BS1 2EJ, fcpcoffee.com
Roll for the Soul
Delicious caaaaaake! Lots of which is non dairy pic.twitter.com/iofjHjMPuY
— Roll for the Soul (@RftS_Bristol) February 25, 2015
A culture of cycling cuts through Bristol and the city is full of dedicated pedal-pushers. A brilliant hub for all things bike related is Roll for the Soul, a community bike café and workshop right in the centre of town. With the workshop upstairs, the café on the ground floor is a relaxed space where you can get good coffee, great wraps and a range of fine vegetarian brunchy meals. Also home to gigs, film screenings and workshops, it is well worth keeping an eye on their calendar for upcoming events.
2 Quay Street, Bristol BS1 2JL, rollforthesoul.org
Small Street Espresso
The snuggest café in Bristol, Small Street’s perfectionist baristas do a brilliant job of serving up some damn fine coffee. A case could be made that these chaps are some of the finest latte artists in town, so a milky beverage should be your first choice. Some first class sandwiches and delectable cakes make up the offering here, perfect for a quiet and intimate get-together.
23 Small Street, Bristol, BS1 1DW, smallstreetespresso.co.uk
Quite possibly the busiest coffee shop in Bristol, Baristas is a thorn in the side of high-street coffee chains everywhere: the coffee is better, their food is top notch, the service is swift and friendly, and the price is always lower. The place breeds fierce loyalty from its regular customers, and the owner George somehow seems to know everyone who comes through the door. Their seasonal flower-topped cakes are also pretty special and almost to beautiful to eat. Almost, that is. Top tip is to get in early on a Saturday morning when you can enjoy their superlative bacon sandwich in peace and quiet over the newspapers.
29 Victoria Street, Bristol, BS1 6AA, baristas.co.uk
An established presence in the buzzing centre of Stokes Croft, this vegan co-operative is a rough hewn diner for those looking for a reasonably priced drink and a meal. Working with nothing but ethically sourced goods, and keeping it as local as possible, Kino’s breakfasts and burgers can convert carnivores, and their salads put other restaurants to shame. Also doubles as a great coffeeshop office for the freelancer/student looking for a desk away from home.
108 Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3RU, cafe-kino.com
Brew Coffee Company
Round the corner from BBC Bristol this busy and bright café is carving out a name for itself as the go to place for brunch on the Whiteladies road. Everything “from scratch” is the order of the day, and these brunches to a standard well beyond the usual: think perfectly poached eggs on fresh sourdough bread, or a Brew bagel with tomato relish, avocado and bacon. Top notch porridge also available for those pretending to have a healthy conscience.
45 Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2LS, brewcoffeecompany.co.uk/
Didn’t You Do Well
This low key coffee shop is wedged between the university and the city centre, and serves amazing drinks squeezed out from their impressive Slayer espresso machine. This is no coffee-based homage to the thrash metal band, but rather a finely tuned beast of a coffee maker that is a sight to behold in its own right. Filter coffees and the finest loose leaf teas are also on offer, as is a tempting selection of locally sourced cakes and pastries.
20 Park Row, Bristol BS1 5LJ, twitter.com/didntyoudowell
The Stock Exchange Bakery
Pop your woollies on & set down to the bakery.Cosy up with a hot choc & soup. Warm your cockles & write Xmas cards pic.twitter.com/dLxnp0sz4T
— StockExchangeBakery (@stockbakery) December 4, 2014
A welcome new addition to the city centre, the Stock Exchange is a café and bakery all in one, with a high standard delivered on both fronts. Set in the high ceilinged chambers of what used to be a bona fide stock exchange, the café space has a lovely feel to it, with the added bonus that you can spy on the bakers while they are busy doing their thing. Great spot for brunches on the weekend, and it is a strong willed soul who can pass up on their fresh-out-of-the-oven salted caramel brownies, or better still their rhubarb donuts.
34 St Nicholas Street, Bristol, BS1 1TG, thestockexchangebakery.com
St Werburghs City Farm Café
Through the tunnel but not that far away is the inner city hamlet of Ashley Vale, nestled between allotments and a community farm. A little enclave of calm just a few miles out from the centre of Bristol, it’s worth a visit for the farm alone, but the café connected to it is also unique. The word Hobbitesque gets thrown around too easily, but with carved wooden arches, round windows and ensconced in greenery, any one of the Bagginses would feel at home. Unsurprisingly popular with the little ones, the café stocks wide range of coffees and teas, and does a stand up slap-up fry up.
Watercress Road, Bristol BS2 9YJ, swcityfarm.co.uk/
Bonus: The Roasted Rituals Van
Blackboy hill. Coffee….. pic.twitter.com/vKagyS6mKD
— Roasted Rituals (@RoastedRituals) September 29, 2014
And finally, for the commuting coffee lover who can take their drink standing up in the fresh air, you can do no finer than the neat Citroen van run by the aficionados at Roasted Rituals. Order a Biggie Smalls (a flat white with an espresso on the side) if you still haven’t woken up. On the junction of the Whiteladies Road and Apsley Road, BS8 2QY (weekdays only), twitter.com/roastedrituals
Do you have your own favourite coffee shops in Bristol? Let us know via @wow247