Each month in 2017, a combination of incredibly snobbish coffee connoisseurs met at a different espresso bar throughout Newcastle, and occasionally something by the lake too.
We couldn’t visit all the beautiful coffee places of Newcastle because, as the group has grown in size, the growing number of hole-in-the-wall places that couldn’t physically squeeze us in has as well.
To be Snobbed, you need to be new and different, have something edible, seat a group, and open on Saturdays till at least midday.
The Newcastle Coffee Snobs Café of the Year came to us by invitation of the owner, Sotos Tea & Coffee Bar Belmont. It’s very rare we get ‘You gotta come, you gotta come’, but boy, we were so happy we did.
When you think of the best coffee you’ve had, there’s a good chance it was served to you lovingly by someone as equally warm as the cup itself. It was this hospitality and family atmosphere that flew Sotos to the very top.
On the day we visited Sotos, the sun was shining and we took up every seat in the courtyard. Our Snobbing wasn’t without controversy, however, which is a beautiful example that even the top-voted places still had their blemishes. Long black Snob Zoe was underwhelmed by a scorching crema-less brew, and the poached egg-like soy flatty had us saying ‘Huh?’, but it was the little things that won us over. A Houdini hound melted our hearts, as did the nitro coffee, cups, quirky décor and toasties swag.
Runner-up is the bright, similarly family-oriented Louie and Jack’s at The Junction. The spot that Louie & Jack’s occupies inside Junction Fair has been many a ho-hum food court dive in the past, but this latest institution from the brain of Zach from Bolton St Pantry is a modern feast for all the senses. Extremely tasty quick meals like burgers and pancakes are accompanied by the outstanding, cultish Grounds of Alexandria Sydney coffee. Pastels and soft timber finishes makes you forget you needed groceries at all.
Honourable mentions also go to The Oily George, Georgetown, The Box Coffee Bar, Gateshead, and Door 34, Cardiff. Look them up and show them some love over the holidays and be sure to join Newcastle Coffee Snobs in 2018 to get your Snob on too. www.facebook.com/newcastlecoffeesnobs