The Tastes of Faversham 2

In our second instalment of Tastes of Faversham we attempt to identify the town’s best cup of coffee.


Our coffee connoisseurs have been busy slurping caffeine shots in the town’s main coffee shops for the last month. Marks are awarded out of 10 in three categories up to a maximum of 30 for:

  • coffee - taste, aroma, strength, froth, temperature, presentation

  • venue - atmosphere, decor, friendliness, comfort, accessibility

  • value

Let’s face it: there are more coffee shops in Faversham than you can shake a stick at. We visited a total of 17 establishments, all with a proper coffee machine. Marks reflect the overall experience as well as the quality of the coffee.


Our winner, by a bean, is the new and tastefully appointed, The Refinery on West Street. Spread over two floors and with tables outside (the addition of blankets a thoughtful touch here), The Refinery serves up a smooth and delicious coffee, with their Mexican/Columbian house blend roasted by Garage Coffee based in nearby Hoath. Our testers sampled an espresso, a black americano and a delicious slice of Sicilian lemon and gin cake (vegan) for a very reasonable £7.90. Staff were welcoming, knowledgeable and respectful of all their customers. When a disabled man asked for a glass of water they happily gave him two, refused payment for them and didn’t try to sell him anything else. Sadly the very opposite in behaviour has been witnessed in the Swan Cafe recently.


Vino’s charming owner, Fabio, also offers an excellent cup of coffee; hot, very strong and with a good flavour. His own blend Italian roast beans are 70% arabica: 30% Brazilian. The small venue is beautifully decorated and has good atmosphere, where regulars happily talk to each other. There is a back room for those who prefer a more private space.

The Hot Tin is especially recommended for young families, offering plenty of space for pushchairs. They provide a wide range of coffee and the sampled cups were a good strength and had a smooth flavour. Staff are friendly, decor is cool (although it could benefit from the odd cushion) and there is music!! Several milk alternatives are available and cakes are good.


The Yard follows closely, offering a wide range of coffee with a distinctive earthy flavour. It is popular, so often busy and not as accessible with children. Staff, however, are invariably accommodating and friendly which helps us tolerate the somewhat rickety furniture and the slight draught in winter.


The majority of the remaining coffee shops fall into the acceptable bracket, with The Moonlight offering friendly service and a decent cup of coffee for only £1.90! Jittermugs boasts a nice vintage-y atmosphere but the coffee seems rather weak these days. Mackenade’s cafe operates a peculiar system where you somehow have to bagsy a table before queueing for a coffee which is then brought to your table by friendly and efficient staff, but all rather tiresome for what we judge as a rather mediocre cup of coffee! Cosgroves’ coffee is reasonable, although the soy milk option a little watery and the whole experience rather lacking in atmosphere.


It is worth mentioning that Tides café in the pool has been refurbished with improved coffee made using bean grinder & proper coffee machine. The food is also locally sourced. And the Hospices of Hope had an upbeat feel to the place, however this may have had something to do with Ol' Blue Eyes himself emanating from the speaker! Perhaps not a high maintenance coffee destination, but when you see the photos of the sister palliative care place in Romania and consider that the people working there are probably volunteers, how can you not support it?


Finally at the bottom of the list we have the Station Café – it is what it is – a convenient but slightly bitter cup for your journey. And yes folks, Costa, for a pricey £2.95 we were served their upgrade Columbian bean which tasted ok but was heavily diluted with milk & not overly hot. The café was surprisingly busy and a little noisy and the layout makes it a difficult environment to relax and sit and read a book. You often have to queue for a while & then wait for a table. Frustrating! The serving staff were friendly however, the barista was not!




The Scores:


Excellent:


1. The Refinery

Taste: 9.5

Atmosphere: 9.5

Value: 9.5

Total (/30): 28.5


2. Vino

Taste: 10

Atmosphere: 9

Value: 9

Total (/30): 28


3. The Hot Tin

Taste: 9

Atmosphere: 9

Value: 9

Total (/30): 27


4. The Yard

Taste: 9

Atmosphere: 8

Value: 9

Total (/30): 26


Acceptable:


5. Jittermugs

Taste: 8

Atmosphere: 9

Value: 8

Total (/30): 25


6. Gallery Kitchen, Creek Creative

Taste: 7

Atmosphere: 8

Value: 9

Total (/30): 24


7. Moonlight

Taste: 9

Atmosphere: 6

Value: 9

Total (/30): 24


8. Macknade

Taste: 8

Atmosphere: 7

Value: 8.5

Total (/30): 23.5


9. The Secret Garden Café

Taste: 8

Atmosphere: 8

Value: 7

Total (/30): 23


10. Cosgroves

Taste: 7

Atmosphere: 6

Value: 9

Total (/30): 22


11. Annette’s Baguettes

Taste: 6.5

Atmosphere: 7.5

Value: 7.5

Total (/30): 21.5


12. The Courtyard Café, Brogdale

Taste: 6.5

Atmosphere: 8

Value: 7

Total (/30): 21.5


13. Havishams

Taste: 6

Atmosphere: 8

Value: 7

Total (/30): 21


14. The Hospices of Hope (charity)

Taste: 6

Atmosphere: 7

Value: 8

Total (/30): 21


15. Tides (Pool)

Taste: 7

Atmosphere: 7

Value: 7

Total (/30): 21


Poor:


16. Costa Coffee (Tesco)

Taste: 6.5

Atmosphere: 6

Value: 6.5

Total (/30): 19


17. Station Cafe

Taste: 5.5

Atmosphere: 7

Value: 5

Total (/30): 17.5






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