|Whilst not wanting to get involved in a coffee-off, it seems that one of Brighton's oldest independent roasteries is still the best – Red Roaster, on St James St. Serious fanatics mix with normal folk, roasting carries on at the back, poetry nights(!), great hot choc, queues, and most people seem to think it's called Rooster?
Lost in Catering website, London 28 January 2013
The coffee's pretty damn good, the premises lovely and airy with a nice vibe. Staff are really nice, and always happy to remake your coffee if you're not happy with it, beats some grumpy student serving you mud water in Starbucks... A nice mix of Kemptown's finest residents, from debs to plebs.
Sammy75, Brighton 27 November 2012
"Tho' I live in Ireland, I've been a regular at Redroaster for two years now, whenever I travel over for the acting, and I think it's a great place, I've met a lot of friendly people here. I take honey in my coffee to keep my voice for the singing and it works fine. We're opening Murphy's Legacy here and then taking it on tour to Birr in County Offaly and Killorglin, County Kerry, home territory for me and the play".
Vinny, who played the priest in Murphy's Legacy, 6 November 2012
"Thanks to all you wonderful people who came to the launch of 'Letters from a Cave in Saltdean' at Redroaster - what a night! Standing room only and a hugely appreciative audience to whom I again say thanks for buying so many copies of 'Cave'. As for my guests, Alice and Vanessa, they were absolutely SUPERB. Thanks also to Ben for his great set and to Tim at Redroaster for being the perfect host. Can't wait to read there again."
Tony Frisbee 25 September 2012
Photographs of cafe in August 2012 (right) Credit: Abel Stephens
|"...Their espresso changes seasonally, the beans are individually roasted and then blended to make a consistent smooth tasting brew. The beans arrive in a sealed foil envelope with roast date and other information clearly covered on the label. On opening I was greeted with a lovely rich honeyed aroma, there was a clear sweetness to the beans scent with just a slight pinch of acidity... A great full rounded flavour that cloaks the mouth like a velvet muffler, it then reveals itself with light, tart cherry notes that can be clearly picked out and are felt right down to the back of the palette. The honeyed sweetness remained strong along with some hints of spice and a gentle backing of dry tannin tones. The after taste was creamy, smooth and with a light zestyness."
Damn Fine Joe.com 30 August 2012
Photo Credit (left): Yvonne Luna
|"The Red Roaster is one of the few British cafes to have a traditional continental feel – a bohemian place, a long bar room with enormously high ceiling (it used to be a post office) and many small groups huddled in threes or fours around small circular tables, occasionally drawing tables together for a bigger group. ...
CoffeeSoul, a Spanish coffee website
"The staff [at Redroaster] generate bonhomie with leisured, natural smiles"
Elegant and outlandish guide, A Mule in Brighton
Great acts such as 'Vlad Miller and Notes from Underground' in The Brighton Festival
Andy B, 14 May 2012
|"I’ve been going to Red Roaster since it opened back in the day… Built on good ethical principles it sells the best coffee in Brighton, and the thick hot chocolate is the perfect way to hide from the rain and depressive overload of Tory Britain, especially when the piano is being played… Staff are always friendly and the clientele is a Brighton mixture... It’s human - a place for the local community, artists, musicians, students, actors, journalists, anyone who likes good coffee and a place where it really doesn’t matter if you’re ultra-Brighton cool or not."
Stepheye, 24 April 2012
"Whilst visiting Brighton last week I came in on Friday and purchased some of your House Blend beans -- they are awesome. Also nice to visit a 'proper' coffee shop selling 'proper' coffee. If I wanted to buy coffee mail order, is this something you do?" [please send us a message via the contact page]
Grant L, 21 February 2012
|"Just the most beautiful atmosphere for poetry. Superb programming. Perfect
venue. The ideal poetry evening."
Hugo Williams, poet in the audience at Brighton Poetry Festival, 1 December 2011
"I love this place. First of all, Brighton is one of the coolest places I have traveled abroad to. Not only does it have an amazing beach and unique vibe, but it has great coffee. Would it be lame if I confessed to only taking a 3 hour bus ride from London to try the "white coffee"? I think not. I had a great cup of white coffee here. I also had a nice little gouter [snack] to go along. The barista was really friendly and totally helped me with my order and brought me a knife when she saw that I was struggling with spreading my butter with a spoon(!) The things you do as a tourist...
If you're in town, stop in. You'll love this place! And please note: it's roaster... Not 'rooster'. That wasn't super obvious to us all. Thank you Brighton!"
Jamie J, Seattle, USA, 7 October 2011
||“...this is a genuine Brighton institution.
"The Red Rooster" as people annoying/amusingly often call it, will probably always be a biased favourite of mine. It was my first real introduction to what can be achieved by independent coffee houses in the UK. Always full of Continental European language students and Italian visitors to Brighton, and those who have sniffed this place out to find a cafe that produces the type of culture and ambience they find at home. The outside seating is a guaranteed spot for the best people-watching entertainment in town. "All life is here," as one local put it to me. This is St James's Street at its most colourful best. Always busy, and the staff are usually excellent. The cafe is also used as an evening venue for music, poetry, and has a wonderful atmosphere. Toilets are OK too!
"The coffee is consistently great, and the beans are small batch roasted on the red roaster itself or in larger batches at the company's own roastery just a few minutes up the road. Coffee beans are wholesale supplied to local businesses such as Infinity Foods. Paul, the head roaster, is a champion coffee taster... Other coffee shops have arrived over the last few years to rival Redroaster, but it does seem to have an extra edge over the competition.
|"A couple of years back, the loyal customers (with Facebook page) even took on the mighty Starbucks which had illegally opened a branch on the same street. Supporters of the Redroaster and the many other independents in the area (and community in general) fought a long and interesting (but ultimately unsuccessful) battle against the Seattle chain. Weekly protests and campaigns must have brought Starbucks much more negative publicity than they had bargained for...
"The espresso is always fine and comes as it should, Italian style, with a glass of tap water - not many places do this as standard here. The RR even does its own unique take on English preferences on its coffee menu --‘Inglese' alongside Café au lait and the usual Italian Americano, Macchiato etc. The paninis and cakes are also delicious, and it is worth buying some fresh roasted (single-origin or blend) beans, with a board showing the date of last roast. The baristas will even help you with your Italian class homework if you get stuck! It really is the one to beat in Brighton."
Coffee Ape: Coffee bean blogging, 17 June 2011
Photo credit: Dominic Alves
|In a slight break from our usual recommendation of places to eat in Brighton and Hove, today we suggest the best place to drink coffee in the city as the Redroaster on St James’s Street. However, while a fine cup of coffee, of which the choice is vast, is the reason to visit Redroaster the cakes on offer are also worth a mention, although be warned, it is not always easy to get a seat at this popular little coffee house, especially at peak times.
It is an ideal option for all the anti-Starbucks crowd, of which there are many in and around St James’s Street, but there is no compromise on the quality of your coffee here. Redroaster, which is described as one of the best places to ‘people watch’ in Brighton, is also renowned for its hot chocolate, so if you are not a coffee aficionado you should still check out this gem of a place.
News from Brighton 28 September 2010
|My favorite and, IMO, the best coffee in Brighton, tasty, smooth and served at the correct temperature (which is not lukewarm when you take your first sip). If you're a local, ask for a loyalty card, because they are well hidden, which will give you freebies. Check out local art work and photography which are displayed on the walls, which are also available to buy, and the CD of the week is normally located next to the counter. You'll also find possibly the most comprehensive selection of Brighton flyers, magazines and posters within the entrance [and the staircase at the back].
Rob Nicholls, 7 August 2010
Another of Will’s favourites was our near neighbours at the Redroaster, who have a vibrant Facebook appreciation group with 183 members, a veritable community of coffee-lovers online. Participants post photos, ask questions of the coffee house’s owners and swap advice on the best product (the Café au Lait is popular). The guys at the Roaster have learned a golden rule of social media – letting go. By that I mean they encourage conversations they do not control about their product, a clear departure from ‘broadcasting’ messages with posters, adverts and press releases. Sure, the odd unfavourable comment crops up – but most people are praise-worthy and the remarks are all the more credible because they come from real customers, not from the owners.
Picture below of Redroaster hot chocolate Photo credit: Stephanie Watson
|Serving the best coffee in Brighton, Redroaster is a fantastic, cosy, comfy place to meet your mates for a cuppa. Located at the bottom of St. James Street in what was the old Post Office, it's in a prime meeting location. The café is a really unique building with enormously high ceilings – so even when it's crowded (which it usually is), it never feels cramped. As a lover of 'people-watching', I also find sitting outside on the pavement in the sunshine, watching the Kemp Town crowds go by immensely enjoyable.
As well as the coffee, they do serve food and their flapjacks (plain or fruity) are pretty darn good. The absolute BEST thing about Redroaster though is their hot chocolate. It tastes literally like drinking a cup of melted chocolate. I usually eat mine with a tiny teaspoon. Yum.
They also host frequent evening poetry readings (which are always packed) and display art by local artists. Definitely an integral 'community' café, I'm not sure my vision of Brighton would be the same without it.
Alice Reeves, 3 March 2010
|Seriously, are all the people who work at this cafe strangely beautiful?! I love the Roaster, I have since I first came here five years ago- it suddenly seemed like I had been transported to San Francisco.
The Roaster is unlike any other cafe in Brighton and that is mainly down to its location- the building it lives in looks like it used to be an old warehouse with high, high ceilings and a roof of skylights. The atmosphere is amazing -- bright, echoey, industrial and artsy. The second thing that distinguishes the Roaster from other cafes is that they roast (the name is not just a play on words) and grind their own beans on site. Now this suggests a knowledge and passion for coffee and you can taste it in their espresso...
Emma J, Brighton 23 April 2010
It has a real community feel about it - a bit more than just a coffee shop.
Redroaster is an institution in Brighton, and introduced me to fine coffee. The baristas are international and often Australian, the coffee is truly brilliant -- going back to mass chains, the coffee tastes thin and artifical. The coffees are presented beautifully. The scruffy, relaxed ambience and chilled attitude isn't for everyone but personally I like a place where the quality and delivery is good and quick, and where I'm left alone to get on with my business. Definitely part of the real Brighton, in my opinion, and loved by worshippers of coffee and people watching.
Will McInnes, 11 October 2009
|The Find: This place is one of the best places to get a coffee in Brighton.
A plain and simple decor with seating arrangements that are hardly cosy (unless you bag yourself one of the few sofas!). However, who cares about such things when you can experience coffee like this! The staff here certainly know what they're doing when it comes to coffee. With an in-house micro-roastery where they roast all their own beans, you can't go far wrong.
Queues can form quickly in this place and when they do, staff can be short and snappy. But if you can handle this style of service then your experience shouldn't be half bad. If coffee isn't your thing then try their hot chocolate, it's divine.
Sit outside on the "terrace" and watch Brighton's eccentric world go by... I bet you won't move for hours....
The Cafe Hunter, July 2009
Brighton is from my perspective, a wicked little place on the coast, with enough independent shops and energy to grant it a double thumbs up! It reminds me a lot of Cape Town, and that reminds me even more of friends, family and the journey! We stumbled upon the Grapevine, super cool place if you’re ever in the area! Found an independent roasting house: Redroaster - Gold in an airtight bag.
Jarrad, South Africa, 21 June 2009