When I first arrived in Bristol before moving into halls in first year, my parents and I stayed at the wonderful establishment that is the Premier Travel Inn: Broadmead. Wonderful in that it overlooked a bus station, was right by a huge shopping centre, had sealed windows because it was directly above a roundabout (what is it with the English and roundabouts?) and was in a generally unsavoury location. Not that we knew that then, not really.
This area, the nexus of Broadmead and Stokes Croft, is one of the least pleasant areas of Bristol. Bristolians, however, aren’t going to take that lying down. Recently, a variety of independent shop owners, along with the city council, have undertaken a Bearpit (the sunken area that allows pedestrians to cross the roundabout) improvement project in order to ameliorate the situation. Seeing as it is a heavily trafficked throughfare, especially in the morning, it makes sense.
I’d heard about Bearpit Coffee on Bristol Culture Blog (a must-read if you live in, or are going to visit, Bristol) and knew immediately that I had to go. They serve Monmouth coffee! They love quality! They have an odd location! It sounded like a small town gem, the exact kind of thing people are constantly telling me that Bristol excels at: being unique.
I began to get nervous as I weaved through the crowds of commuters as I, finally, headed to Bearpit. Would I know where I was going? Would I stick out like a sore thumb in my quasi-tiffany blue pashmina and jack wills plaid shirt? Luckily, the sun was shining, a sure-fire sign that everyone in England will be a bit happier, a bit friendlier. I found the coffee cart (or rather, truck) with no problem.
The owner (at least, I think he was) was handing out loyalty cards and offering free coffee as I walked by. I didn’t quite believe it, but it was true. I got a free cappuccino. The whole “cafe” was small and lovely. Their truck was parked and the espresso machine was set up in the boot with a table serving a variety of baked goods next to it. There was also a couple of tables arranged nearby to sit and enjoy your coffee, if you desired.
While they made my cappuccino, I had a lovely chat with the female barista. It colored my entire perception towards this set up. The baristas are nice. They are excited about making coffee and they are excited about being there, which is more than I can say for some places.
I took my coffee and walked around attempting to soak up some vitamin d. My cappuccino—with chocolate on top of course—was lovely. Perhaps a bit milky, but the espresso itself was some of the best tasting that I’ve had in Bristol. Was it muted? Undoubtably, but more pronounced than you’ll find at Two Day or Baristas. This is—hands down—the best coffee in Bristol. But don’t just go for the drink, go for the experience, go to feel what it’s like to be around someone who cares about making good coffee and improving their community.
What’s the strangest place you’ve ever gotten a coffee?