Earlier this week we unveiled the nominees for the Ninth Annual Sprudgie Awards. Voting is now open across a dozen categories, honoring the very best in coffee. Voting ends December 31st, 2017 at 11:59 PM.
In this feature we're spotlighting the 2017 nominees for Best New Cafe, one of the most coveted of all the Sprudgie Awards. Past winners for Best New Cafe include the La Marzocco Cafe in Seattle (2016), Paramount Coffee Project in Los Angeles (2015), Scandinavian Embassy in Amsterdam (2014), Intelligentsia Logan Square (2013), Pergamino Cafe in Medellin (2012), and Milstead & Co. in Seattle (2011). Prior to 2011 the award was given as simply “Best Cafe,” without an opening date requirement, and was awarded to Tina We Salute You in London (2010) and Four Barrel Coffee in San Francisco (2009).
Let's meet his year's nominees! They hail from markets big and small all around the world, including our first-ever nominees from Korea, New Zealand, and Ireland.
Catalyst Coffee—Auckland, New Zealand—Proprietors: Hanna Terramoto and Xin Yi Loke
“Hanna Teramoto and Xin Yi Loke are two enormously accomplished baristas. Both won national barista championships back in 2014—Teramoto representing New Zealand, Xin Yi Loke representing Singapore. They first met in Remini, Italy at the World Barista Championship, when as fate and luck would have it, their backstage preparation tables were right next to each other. From there the destined friendship began, with the duo helping each other polish equipment, taste-test coffees, and bonding over their shared experience at the WBC.
But when the competition came to an end, the friendship didn’t. Xi Yin Loke visited Teramoto in New Zealand in 2015, and the idea to go into business together began to take shape. It was a huge change for the Singaporean champion, to think of leaving the dense city and hot weather of her teeming metropolis for the comparatively mild, sprawling South Seas vibe of Auckland. The name, Catalyst Coffee, was born out of this moment—it means “beginning of changes”, describes the challenges of leaving your home, starting a new business, and developing what the duo hopes is a fresh take on the cafe experience.”
Cherry Street Public House—Seattle, Washington—Proprietors: Laila Ghambari and Ali Ghambari
“Two decades after Ali Ghambari opened his first coffee shop, he and his daughter are opening this all-day cafe and restaurant, serving high-quality coffee, and Persian-inspired breakfast, lunch, and, soon, dinner from the center of Seattle’s Pioneer Square. The cafe anchors the new Weyerhaeuser building and fronts onto Occidental Park.
“It’s my vision, made possible by my father,” says Laila Ghambari, of how Cherry Street Public House evolved. The space came to them through Ali Ghambari’s partner in Cherry Street Coffee House, Greg Smith, who developed the building. Laila Ghambari, a 2014 US Barista Champion who previously had worked for Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Caffe Ladro, took over as director of coffee for Cherry Street Coffee House and upgraded their coffee program in 2014. When this space showed up as an opportunity, Cherry Street already had coffee shops two blocks away in two directions: she knew this was their chance to fulfill a dream by doing something new.”
Center Coffee—Seoul, Korea—Proprietor: Sang-Ho Park
“What are some of the things you’ve learned, overheard, picked up, or will always remember along your coffee career?”
“To be humble, open-minded, honest and not try answering all questions, but rather, to try and question all answers. The quote I go by every day is by Grace Murphy Hopper: “The most damaging phrase is it’s always been done that way.” So I try to question the things I believe I know, and see if there are better ways we can address the answer, and try to find a better way than what we have now.”
Nemesis Coffee—Vancouver, British Columbia—Proprietors: Jess Reno, James Salmon, Michele Zuber, Cole Trepanier, Albert Tang, Josh Shevlin, and Jacob Deacon-Evans
One of Vancouver’s newest multiroasters, Nemesis focuses on bringing in some of the best coffee the world has to offer, such as Five Elephant, Talor & Jørgen, Pilot Coffee Roasters, Colonna, and April. By creating strategic partnerships with international roasters, Nemesis is figuring out new ways to make its coffee better every day. This simple quest is already leading the staff down exciting avenues, such as sharing water samples between the roastery and shop floor, all in an effort to innovate and provide the very best cup possible to their customers.
What began as a few friends kicking around a concept has led to a unique group coming from both competitive and international backgrounds. This diversity of experience creates a wonderful atmosphere of shared ideas and ensures that the highest quality product is being delivered. Nemesis has gone a step further in their learning by training all staff on both the food and coffee programs, regardless of title. This creates transparency between the pillars of their shop and it is evident in the way the staff speaks about every item on the menu.
Love Supreme Portobello—Dublin, Ireland—Proprietors: Ken Flood and Katie Flood
“A landmark on the streetscape of Stoneybatter, Love Supreme made the hearts of coffee lovers in Dublin skip a beat when they announced they would open a second spot in the city.
Now open over three months, from their new Portobello location on Lennox Street, the coffee shop quickens the pulse of the beating heart of Dublin 8’s growing cafe culture.
Washed in natural light, the petite cafe is styled in the signature Love Supreme look. Here too, interchangeable lights and hanging flowers break up the rustic, simple design, replicating the feel of the original cafe.”
Narrative Coffee—Everett, Washington—Proprietors: Maxwell Mooney and Richard Orr
It’s been less than a year since we first profiled Narrative Coffee, the coffee brand from US National Barista competitor and accomplished coffee professional Maxwell Mooney. Last August the project wasn’t much more than a humble little coffee cart in Everett’s Westmore Plaza. But after a lightning quick confluence of circumstances—the right partner, the right building, a build-out process done away from big city glare—Narrative Coffee has come of age in the guise of a brand new, stunningly built 1800 square foot cafe in the heart of downtown Everett.
“So many people are thirsty here for good coffee,” Mooney tells Sprudge, pun surely intended. “They drive to Seattle or Mill Creek in order to get it. This cafe is for them—this city has an incredible music scene, an art gallery scene, and I want to serve those folks, to be an incubator for them, and in a small way help the community here in Everett grow and develop.”