Grounds for celebration as new guide reveals Bath’s best indie coffee spots

November 10, 2017

Bath’s top coffee spots have been revealed today in the latest edition of the South West and South Wales Independent Coffee Guide.

And once again it shows the city punching well above its weight when it comes to indie cafes serving top-notch coffee.

Bath boasts nine coffee shops in the guide – making it second only to Bristol in number and rating it much higher than bigger towns and cities including Cardiff, Plymouth, Bournemouth and Exeter. 

On the prestigious list are both the city’s Society Cafés and Mokoko Coffees – proving also that it is fertile ground for emerging coffee shop chains.

Both Society Café and Mokoko have branched out into Bristol, where they are rivalling that city’s home-grown coffee establishments from high-profile locations.

The new South West and South Wales Independent Coffee Guide is its fourth edition and biggest so far with more speciality coffee shops, cosy cafes and indie roasters than ever.

It also includes features on what it takes to become a pro barista and the latest indie coffee collaborations, such as bean-infused gin and tonics.

The guide, produced by North Devon-based Salt Media, was the first regional publication of its kind. It now has sister titles covering the North West & and North Wales, and Scotland.

Salt Media said cafes and roasteries are invited into the guide based on meeting strict criteria: roasting or serving speciality grade coffee, providing interesting serve styles in addition to espresso, providing a top-quality experience for coffee lovers, and being independently owned.

“You won’t find Costa or Starbucks on the list – this is a celebration of local indie businesses who are serving coffee with love and great care,” said Salt Media.  

The guide is available from the roasters and cafes featured, as well as from Salt Media’s online shop, Amazon and good bookshops such as Waterstones.

Here are this year’s guide’s entries for Bath’s top coffee spots:

Picnic Coffee

If you’re curious about drinking coffee that tastes exactly how the grower and roaster intended, then Picnic Coffee should be on your hit list.

The team taste test before picking the best brew method for the top-notch single origin coffees which arrive in small batches from roaster Union. And as a result, owners Tim and Kate and baristas Jenn, Rachael and Tessa love to guide customers through tasting notes and serve-style combos.

Society Café – Kingsmead Square

The original cafe in Society’s growing caffeine fraternity, the Kingsmead Square hangout is a firm favourite among Bath’s band of espresso houses and brew bars.

In keeping with the city’s increasing interest in speciality, batch brew has made it onto the Society menu this year, adding a speedy filter fix to the brew bar inventory. The current beans of choice – Las Colinas from the Mierisch family farm – were sourced by the team during a recent trip to Nicaragua with house roaster, Origin.

Society Café – High Street

Little but lovely, Kingsmead’s smaller Bath sibling is a real charmer. Owners Adrian and Jane Campbell-Howard have boldly taken on the high street’s big brand coffee shops, keen to prove that you don’t need to go off the beaten track to enjoy a quality cup.

With a clean-cut design and a small clutch of seats up and downstairs, you need to get in early to nab somewhere to savour your pastry and piccolo, so grab-and-gos are popular here.

Colonna & Small’s

This cathedral to coffee in historic Bath has become synonymous with speciality in the South West. Colonna’s success and status within the industry comes as no surprise as co-owner – and three time UK barista champ – Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood has been a pioneer in the speciality movement for almost a decade.

In the past few years, the pared-back coffee shop has progressed from simply crafting first-class coffee to brewing its own range of seasonally-led single origin espressos and fine filters, which are roasted just outside the city.

The Bath Coffee Company

‘It’s all about the coffee,’ may be the motto at The Bath Coffee Company, but clearly this cosy indie overlooking Kingsmead Square is also all about well-prepared drinks, daily-changing cakes and pastries, and in-depth coffee chat.

Multi-skilled owner Adrian spends his time hot footing it from the cafe (where he pulls the shots) to Square Root roastery in Wiltshire, where he calls the shots as master roaster.

Mokoko Coffee – Southgate

Swing by Mokoko’s central set-up for a neighbourhood coffee bar experience loved by the locals – most of whom the baristas know by name.

It may be friendly but it’s also serious about good coffee, and the caffeine crew can be seen at work through the picture windows, bringing a touch of theatre to the daily grind.

Mokoko Coffee – Abbey Churchyard

The former Jacob’s Coffee House has been refurbished and also rebranded this year, clarifying its connection to its sister shops in Southgate and Bristol’s Wapping Wharf.

This is where the Mokoko story began, and it continues its mission to serve expertly made, great coffee in a friendly and approachable way.

The Green Bird Café

We really shouldn’t be publicising Bath’s Green Bird Cafe, because in a city that’s thronging with tourists most of the year, this is a local coffee lover’s little secret, tucked away between the Royal Crescent and the Circus.

Okay, it won Bath Life’s Best Cafe in 2016, but it’s still very much a neighbourhood fave, partly due to its secluded suntrap courtyard which provides an oasis of coffee calm amid the touristy madness.

The Cheeky Bean

With a paint palette to wake even the weariest of early morning caffeine seekers, The Cheeky Bean (all Indian-inspired colours, cool music, resident disco ball and positive vibes) is a welcome addition to Bath’s specialist scene.

Step through the turquoise arch for a brew ‘n’ bake and it won’t be long before you’re on first name terms with this friendly bunch – including Mabel the resident pooch.

For more information on the new South West & South Wales Independent Coffee Guide, visit




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