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 and independent 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". The coffee house is also recommended by The New York Times as a 'go-to destination' in their book, '36 Hours: 125 Weekends in Europe'. Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemp Town and Peacehaven, said: "Redroaster is a very special place. It’s a Brighton institution”. He was introducing the cafe to Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, Paymaster General, and MP for Horsham.
New harvests of single estate arabica coffee beans from Indonesia, Africa, Central America and India are freshly roasted every week on the original red roaster behind the cafe counter, with roasting dates and prices chalked up on the blackboard. The House espresso blend, certified Organic blend and Decaffeinated coffee are selected, hand-roasted and blended by chief coffee roaster Paul Stephens. Paul is a Licensed Q Grader, accredited by the Quality Coffee Institute, which means he is qualified to grade samples of coffee submitted by coffee growers all over the world.
Redroaster make their own hot chocolate now. Senior supervisor Amandine has been fine-tuning her mother's original recipe, with its home-made, full-flavoured taste, over the last few months. (Amandine grew up in her parents hotel/restaurant near Bordeaux). “Our hot chocolate is freshly made and contains no preservatives or additives or dairy products,” she says. (See 'Chocolate is good for you').
The atmosphere inside the cafe is airy and spacious with high vaulted skylights in the ceiling which light the changing exhibitions of artwork on the walls. There are national newspapers and journals freely available to read as well as free Wifi. 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.
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