Exe Coffee Roasters, Exeter
A cool indie cafe and roastery in St Leonard's where you can learn barista skills and sup delicious coffee. Have a latte while I tell you about Muddy's favourite brew.
When I first moved to Devon back in the early Noughties, it felt like all coffee was aimed at people who like bland, milky white stuff (my parents in-law) so thank the lord, things have moved on. Now, we have wonderful local Devon roasters, like the inimitable Exe Coffee, aka husband and wife team, Steve and Kim, who know how a proper cuppa Joe should taste. And yes, I know taste is a very personal thing but you would have to be tasteless, or coffee-phobic not to like Exe Coffee Roasters’ Neighbourhood Blend. Made from a mix of Brazilian, Guatemalan and Ethiopian beans, it’s rich and a tiny bit chocolatey, just how Muddy likes it.
Steve and Kim’s love of the black stuff took them from serving it up from a tiny van in 2004 to 2012 when they started Devon Coffee, a delightful sliver of a coffee shop just off Gandy Street and finally to 2015 to their current premises of cafe and downstairs roastery at Heavitree. At the time, Steve was so keen to understand the roasting process he built his own roaster. Without blinding you with the science, this involves placing the beans in a drum and heating them up until they pop, like popcorn, then roasting until all the flavours develop. It’s a process that takes less than 10 minutes but is key to bringing out over a thousand chemicals in the individual beans. Roast too much and they will go black, taste like ash and leave an oily slick on your brew, like some High Street blends I won’t mention.
Now, coffee connoisseurs might like to know they roast an a Probatone 12, selecting and buying their single origin beans from small, top-quality farms in Central America and Africa, some of which Steve has personally visited, so you can be sure of the fairness and provenance. By the time it gets to you, it’s available as beans, espresso, filter/aeropress or cafetière or you can go for a coffee subscription, and have it delivered fresh to your door weekly. The best way to buy, unless you are good at keeping your coffee airtight and light-free as it quickly perishes.
For the authentic experience, head to Heavitree to their buzzy cafe, heralded by the awning outside, in orange like the iconic packaging, for brunch and a brew, home-made cakes. Or make it educational by booking in for a 2-hour Be a Barista course (£50). It’s popular with all ages and genders, but apparently, especially with middle-aged men wanting to get to grips with their shiny-new coffee machines. Got one of those in your life? Birthday/Christmas/anniversary present sorted!
Monday: Open for take-away and dine in 8am-2pm
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