Welcome to coffee heaven! To get one thing straight from the beginning: the SpaLife team loves coffee! We probably wouldn’t survive any deadlines without it. Which is why we sent our very own Lifestyle Writer Bethany Bailey, final year English Literature student, on a coffee hunt in Bath. Read on to find out about our favourite spots for coffee and why we love them so much!
For those of you who don’t know, Bath is a city that is serious about its café culture. Not only is there a branch of every major UK coffee chain, but there are also some South-West based chains and some great independents. In other words, there should be something for everyone. But how do you pick out the good from the bad? It takes a decent amount of free time (and a generous student loan) to try all of them, so here’s a helpful guide of Bath’s crème de la crème.
6 Chapel Row
If there’s one place in Bath that has brewing down to science, it’s Colonna and Small’s. It was the only place in Bath to be featured in the Telegraph’s 2015 article about café culture in the UK, they also named it one of the ‘30 best coffee shops/cafés in Britain’ and it has won a range of awards. The baristas are highly skilled with about seven awards between them for categories such as ‘latte art’ and ‘brewing’.
The coffee on offer is changed weekly to keep up with what’s in season from the country’s leading coffee bean roasters. You might have to go in prepared with a background knowledge on what kind of roast you want, and you’ll likely brush past some coffee-loving hipster-types; Colonna knows its coffee inside and out. Plus, the shop itself is decorated like an Instagrammer’s dream of the perfect artisan vibe.
Best for: the freshest seasonal beans and experienced baristas.
19 Kingsmead Square & 8 Alfred Street
While it might be slightly more expensive, Boston Tea Party (BTP) is one of the touchstones of Bath’s café culture. While Alfred Street is a lot bigger than Kingsmead, it’s a fair trek to the top of town, so by all means, try it at least once but I personally prefer Kingsmead. With its outside seating on a summer’s day it’s the perfect spot for ‘people watching’.
BTP is definitely one of my favourites for coffee, although I’d skip the iced coffee with avocado and maple syrup (for me, avocado belongs on toast and in guacamole only), but BTP also makes a great brunch and breakfast place. They’re also ethically conscious and focused on being environmentally friendly. Their GoodForNothing Chapter is a regular local meet-up where the chain works to ‘make good stuff happen for the people who need it.’
Best for: sophisticated brunching.
7 Dorchester Street & 6 Abbey Churchyard
Mokoko prides itself on its speciality beans that create delicious espresso and filter coffee. It’s open to all, from those coffee connoisseurs in the know to those with no idea. Whether you’re looking for a nice slice of cake and some coffee, or have an order so complicated it makes Starbucks baristas wince, Mokoko aims to please. Again, the interiors are sweet, minimalist Instagram goals and are well worth a picture. Mokoko has also recently taken over what was previously Jacob’s Coffee House by the Abbey – a wonderful spot for pictures and sight-seeing breaks.
Best for: simple coffee and ‘people watching’.
4-5 Kingsmead Square & 19 High Street
Society Café is a good all-rounder so if you’re hunting for a spot to take the whole family during a visit, then here’s a good bet: they say the café is designed with ‘all of us in mind.’ It makes a good space for anything really, but I’d say the two locations do differ.
The Corridor is slightly smaller and more mature, whereas Kingsmead Square is a lot bigger and much more open to families and children. The coffee is great with guest coffees that change every week and house coffee that changes seasonally, but if anything, it’s the atmosphere you should come for. There’s plenty of art books and magazines around and, at the very least, a few card games and dominoes lying around in Kingsmead for when you’ve earned that study break.
Best for: Study breaks (and maybe a little studying).
1a Forum Buildings, St James’s Parade
The Forum is one of Bath’s best inde-pendent venues – very art deco. This independent coffee house sits right alongside the Forum (as well as a few steps from the bus station), but it has a contemporary and modern interior, a world away from its neighbour. Fitted out with lots of window counter space, a long sofa bench and a communal table there’s plenty of space, whether you have a big group project, are working with a friend or grabbing a solo coffee.
Their coffee is sourced from the local Clifton Coffee Company with signature beans that are brewed alongside the usual espresso and decaf options. They also have a great selection of cakes and a growing food menu (avocado on toast, anyone?) if you’re planning on camping out all day.
Best for: the ultimate millennial workspace.
We just didn’t have enough space to go in-depth about Bath’s coffee scene, but these next few are still worth checking out:
Chapel Arts Café – an ethically conscious independent hidden near SouthGate.
The Bridge Coffee Shop – a direct view of Pulteney Bridge and down the River Avon.
Hunter & Sons – think Colonna and Small’s with an additional focus on craft beer.
Rosarios – the real-deal Italian café.
Picnic Coffee – as dead serious about coffee as Colonna and Small’s but a much lighter and more colourful atmosphere.
if you’re looking for a coffee alternative to Starbucks on Newton Park Campus, check out East Wing Coffee. Their mochas are to die for and chatting to the baristas adds a nice little break to your busy schedule! Alternatively, if you find yourself at the top of campus, why not try the SU for coffee? Good music and coffee break; what else would you want?
Words by Bethany Bailey
Bethany Bailey is a third year English Literature student, originally from Cambridge. She loves to write, whether this be for SpaLife, her personal blog or her dissertation (maybe not the last one). When not writing, she is usually exploring any parts of Bath she hasn’t seen yet, drinking copious amounts of tea and coffee or doing a face mask while doing the work she promised she would do while drinking a copious amount of tea and coffee.