• March 19, 2013 1:55 pm
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    Redroaster coffee house and roastery, Brighton

    A little way up a narrow old street called St James’s, off the Old Steine (Brighton’s main thoroughfare) and opposite the Royal Pavilion, Redroaster, an original andindependent coffee house, has been embedded in the heart of the city for many years.  As Ian Boughton says in ‘Coffee-house Capers’, “Redroaster in Brighton, a very well-regarded coffee-house, was way ahead of the much vaunted vogue for ‘roaster-retailers’ or people who roast on their own premises.” Coffee blogger Damn Fine Joe notes: “Redroaster is a legendary coffee house and roasterie in Brighton, that has been producing gourmet coffee for well over a decade”.  Redroaster is recommended by The New York Times as a ‘go-to destination’ in their new book, ’36 Hours: 125 Weekends in Europe’. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg chose to visit Redroaster, when he was in Brighton for the Lib Dem party conference (see photograph in the ‘Diary’).

    Small batches of single origin arabica coffee beans from Indonesia, Africa, Central America, India and beyond, are hand-roasted weekly on the original red roasterbehind the counter. New coffees, roasting dates and prices are chalked up on the blackboard. Larger batches of the House blend, certified Organic blend and Decaffeinated coffee are roasted by prizewinning chief roaster Paul Stephens, at their roastery in Kemp Town. Paul was a member of the winning UK team at a speciality coffee competition in Moscow and has uniquely been placed in the top four of the Speciality Coffee Association’s annual cupping (tasting) competition for three years.

    The House blend has been described as: “A great full rounded flavour that cloaks the mouth like a velvet muffler. It then reveals itself with light, tart cherry notes that can be clearly picked out and are felt right down to the back of the palette. The honeyed sweetness remained strong along with some hints of spice and a gentle backing of dry tannin tones. The after taste was creamy, smooth and with a light zestyness”.

    Tim Hume, managing director of this small family concern, does not compromise on the quality of their coffee beans and is committed to paying a fair price for the samecommitment to quality from the producers (see ‘Sourcing green beans’, under About Coffee). Freshly roasted Redroaster beans are delivered weekly with their roasting date, wholesale to many different local businesses.

    At the coffee house, there is a delicious variety of food freshly prepared to order, using fresh and locally sourced ingredients.  Moose’s homemade quiche lorraine is a cafe favourite.  Redroaster has a top 5-star rating for food safety and hygiene.

    More than just a cafe, in the evenings Redroaster transforms into a licensed venue hosting a regular tango-dancing club, poetry and spoken word events, plays and book launches, as well as occasional gigs by touring and local musicians. Kate Nash, Oscar-winning Adele and The Sons of Noel and Adrian have all performed here.

    The atmosphere is airy and spacious with high vaulted skylights in the ceiling which light the changing exhibitions of artwork on the walls.  The front of the cafe opens up in summer.  National and local newspapers are freely available to read.  Skilled volunteers are welcome to play on the piano, donated by a loyal customer.  The cafe is wheelchair-friendly and has a convenient downstairs toilet especially for the disabled.  There is even a vast collection of coffee pots and coffee grinders through the ages if you look up high.

    1d St James's St Brighton East Sussex BN2 1RE
    01273 686668

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