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'.
Named after the red coffee-roaster originally installed in the coffee house 14 years ago, Redroaster opened its own coffee roastery in Kemp Town in 2008. The famous House espresso blend, the certified Organic blend and the very popular Decaffeinated blend have all been developed, hand-roasted and blended by chief coffee roaster Paul Stephens. Paul joined Redroaster in 2001 and is now 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. New harvests of single estate arabica coffee beans from Indonesia, Africa, Central America and India are also for sale, their date of roasting is chalked up on the blackboard at the cafe, so you can be sure of its freshness. Redroaster also supplies local businesses every week (for wholesale and retail) with freshly roasted coffees sealed in two-way valve bags to keep the beans fresh while allowing them to develop their flavour. All the coffees can be ground according to need.
The atmosphere inside the cafe is airy and spacious, lit by skylights in the vaulted ceiling. Redroaster has always offered a platform to local artists, poets, musicians, film-makers and theatre practitioners (see right for upcoming events). 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.
Robin Houghton Robin’s poetry has appeared in a range of magazines including Poetry News, The Rialto, The North, Ink, Sweat & Tears and Agenda, as well as a number of anthologies. She won the New Writer poetry competition in 2012.
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