Brighton's coffee landscape has evolved significantly since one of the UK’s first coffee specialists, Redroaster, set up shop in 2000. Since then we’ve seen the likes of Small Batch grow to gargantuan sizes, have savoured Cafe Coho's Guatemalan dark roast and and lusted after Bond St’s single origin espresso. 

We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to independent coffee shops in this fine city, Movehub’s Hipster index even ranked us as the most hipster city in the world, partly due to the sheer number of indy coffee shops that have taken stock here, so you can imagine it was a latte work trying to put this shortlist together. But we’ve done the grind, and without further ado present to you … Brighton & Hove’s best independent coffee shops. 

On the corner of Church Street and Portland Street sits The Coffee Counter, a hotspot for coffee lovers and toastie fanatics. First establishing themselves as real coffee artistes, owners Hayden and Steve expanded their offerings to the tempting veggie and vegan-friendly menu you’ll find there today. Inside this cosy joint you’ll find hand written chalk boards and local artists work adorning the walls, making it a great spot to go and relax with a cuppa and a snack. Their uber friendly team serve an amazing range of tasty brekkies, catering for carnivores or herbivores alike.

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Ever wanted to know what taking tea in a junk shop would be like? Look no further. Every zany object from the Chewbacca head to the mannequin forearm for a door-knob has been carefully selected, as has the even zanier menu to match. Their “green eggs and ham” would make Dr Seuss proud - the green referring to the homemade pesto. Experimental cakes abound, from beetroot brownies to baked Oreo cheesecake. For the inner hippy, there’s always their fresh mint tea and hearty vegan selection. With a live music venue upstairs that appears to be furnished by somebody’s granny (but in a cool way) this is the place to be seen in Brighton. That is, if you can find it tucked away in its little nook on Ship Street.

Read more about Marwood Bar & Coffeehouse

Opposite St Peters you’ll find a real cool little joint called The Longhouse Cafe. It’s 100% plant-based and has oodles of tasty menu options and a whole heap of charm. Sparse white walls paired with colourful artwork, a ceiling canopy of beautiful foliage from local indoor plant shop, Spiderplant, and vibrant miss-matched furniture make it an Instagrammer's dream. Now we must tell you about the cakes, if you’ve a sweet tooth you’re in for a real treat. Their raw snickers bars are insanely good, and there’s a daily changing selection of raw, organic and sugar free cakes to nibble with your mylky latte. Being advocates of local businesses, you’ll find loose leaf teas from Bluebird, Horsham Roastery Coffee and Glazed donuts. If you haven’t been yet, we’d recommend the ‘Notella’ pancakes on your first visit, we can guarantee you’ll be back for more.

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Flour Pot have three branches dotted around Brighton; our favourite is Sydney Street. Amongst all the hustle and bustle of Brighton, the combination of the minimalistic interior, gorgeously smooth coffee and freshly baked breads and pastries creates an instantly calming atmosphere. Flour Pot Bakeries are an exception to the chaos of coffee shops; they take time and effort to create the perfect experience, whether that be a quick morning espresso or a relaxed late-morning brunch. With its charming outside seating, it's the perfect place to take a pew, enjoy a flat white and watch the world go by.

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For all manner of single origin decadence, Black Mocha - on the North Laine’s eastern fringe - might just be King Bean. An elegant symphony of sweet and savoury resonates right through this diminutive little café, starting with street level decor and concluding with a fine selection of premium eats and liquid treats. The Espresso, from Monmouth of London, is genuinely outstanding (thick, fruity and complex) and the cake curation is equally gilt-edged – those hoping to be seduced by divine vegan and gluten free fancies will not be disappointed (think salted peanut choccy slices; whets your whistle, doesn’t it). Raw craft chocolate is sold by the vibrant boxful to the left of the coffee counter, and – best of all – the café’s namesake beverage (a Black Mocha) is a straight-up treat. Put a couple of hours aside and percolate in Black Mocha - it’s up there with the creme de la crop.

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A relative newcomer to The Lanes is The Plant Room - a delicious veggie eatery hidden amongst a beautiful tropical paradise. This laid-back espresso bar serve up one of the world’s leading coffee roasters, Allpress, coffee connoisseurs come forth. As well as a heavenly selection of loose leaf teas from Brew Tea Co. All the indoor plants are supplied by Hi Cacti and if one those super cute spiky little numbers happens to catch your eye, you can purchase one or two to take home. Coffee and Cacti, what more could you want from your afternoon caffeine fix?!

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With an intriguing name and a fairly quirky atmosphere to match, Presuming Ed is one of Team Wriggle's favourite spots in Brighton. Offering a dreamy selection of lovingly roasted, ground and brewed coffee, as well as some cracking locally brewed beers – both on draft and to take away – Presuming Ed has got it all. If you're hungry then be sure to grab one of their freshly made toasted sarnies – perfect for filling a small hole at any time of day, whilst the range of homemade cakes are something truly special. The space itself is great – with laptop workstations (perfect for settling into with a nice cup of coffee for an afternoon's work), a massive, sun-flooded beer garden, and a revolving carousel of pop-up DIY shops and markets.

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Tucked away in the heart of Poet's Corner, Hove lies 44 Poets. Although these guys are fresh on the scene, they've already made a splash since landing a few short months ago, and have rapidly joined the ranks of Brighton and Hove's most hotly desired destinations for coffee lovers. Passionate about top quality coffee, 44 Poets' blend of choice is Red Brick, roasted by the award-winning Square Mile Coffee Roasters. In the skilful hands of the 44 Poets team, these beans take on a delectable flavour, and are utterly delicious. Equally respected by coffee aficionados and loved by those of us who just want something smooth and easy-drinking, this is the place to go in the Hove area for a delicious cup of Joe - where quality is the core consideration for everything 44 Poets does. The space itself, although small, is flooded with natural light thanks to its enormous windows, making 44 Poets a truly lovely place to sit and watch the world go by.

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The strong aromas of freshly roasted coffee, a smorgasbord of baked fancies and a warm Aussie welcome greet each of those visiting Pelicano for their daily dose of caffeine. With their own micro-roastery onsite (using ethically sourced single origin beans), you can be sure your coffee is made from only the freshest of the fresh; if it’s not perfect, they don’t serve it! Take a seat in the rustic setting (there’s a cosy nook in the corner that nicely fits a bum or two!) and be sure to try one of their tiered cakes with a twist. From Beetroot Red Velvet to Parsnip and Cardamom, Pelicano are undoubtedly creative when it comes to home baking, each new addition as exciting as the last. Their savoury options are to die for too, but if one thing’s certain – these guys know about coffee.

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The award winning café has much to offer. With reclaimed furniture and exposed brickwork, this is a stylish place to sit back and watch the world go by with a cup of your favourite brew. The deceptively large building is set over two levels, so don’t be put off if it looks a little busy from the outside. With an extensive range of cakes, pastries and savoury items alongside a full breakfast and lunch menu - with boozy options too - this truly is an all-day venue. Their house blend espresso, Revelation (Guatemala), comes from London’s Union hand-roasters: a dark roast espresso giving complex floral aromatics, ripe red fruit notes of cherry and a dark caramel treacle-like body.

Read more about Cafe Coho

Make your way over to Kemptown today, where you'll find the brilliant Twin Pines Coffee. These guys are serious about what they do, and as you might expect from their name, what they do is coffee, and bloody well, too. If you want our advice, the best course of action is to head downstairs into the cosy, welcoming space which feels more like a friend's living room than your average coffee shop. Expect quirky interiors, handmade coffee cups, and some seriously stylish 1920s decor that wouldn't feel out of place in a film set. Coffee wise, Twin Pines offer a fantastic range of espressos, filter coffees and teas, with a monthly rotating selection of roasters.

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Sometimes in life, you get a hankering for the simple things, done really well. Straightforward, unpretentious but delicious food, a banging coffee, and friendly, smiley service from a barista who doesn't look like he will murder your first born if you ask for milk in your coffee. It all sounds so easy, doesn't it, but sometimes it's so hard to find! Step forward Phoenix Coffee House, the latest cafe to join Brighton's London Road gang. Phoenix are the smiliest, friendliest kids on the block, giving each customer the warmest of welcomes. From their unbelievably tasty vegan 'sausage' rolls, to their salty, hunky bacon sandwiches; their decadent homemade cakes and sweet treats to the impeccable (and exclusive), locally roasted Lazy Dog coffees; not to mention the brilliant selection of video games – Phoenix Coffee House are doing it right.

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Take a pit stop from your vintage shopping and pop into Nowhere Man, a Beatles-esque coffee shop just off Western Road. Settle down on a comfy sofa with a lovely hot cup of Almond Chai Latte - heavenly! While you’re here you may as well have a cheeky lil peep at their pancake menu too.. 'oh go on then', we hear you cry. These legends cook up the best vegan and gluten free pancakes in town, 8 days a week. (Sorry, not sorry.)

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If you’re moseying around the Kemptown area and in need of a caffeine fix, Ground Coffee House are simply the best for artisan coffee and ridiculously appealing and animated staff. They thrive on a socially dynamic atmosphere where coffee lovers can come to relax, catch up with old friends and make brand new friends in this warm and cosy, well-designed space. They use single origin coffee by Pharmacie to make their delicious brews. The Kemptown residence was the first of its now three strong hubs​ and is beautifully decorated with plenty of greenery and oodles of natural light making it the perfect people watching spot. They also rock a banging playlist to boot, it’s definitely one of Wriggle’s lazy afternoon hotspots.

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Speciality coffee brewers Bond St. Coffee make brews crafted with the utmost love and care, to give you a coffee experience that’s unparalleled. All their beans come from Horsham Coffee Roasters who pride themselves in their control over roasts, the quality of their coffee and their ability to bring out coffee’s flavour with a light to medium roast. They make their espresso using a bottomless portafilter with their Synesso Hydra espresso machine. This way they can recognise when the espresso has extracted properly, to maximise the coffee’s unique flavour. They use whole milk from Downsview Farm in East Sussex to show off their stunning latte artwork. Expect a choice of two single-origin coffees for all espresso based drinks, as well as handmade to order as filter coffee from the brew bar. Get in early and grab one of the comfy sofas as this place fills up fast. A must try for any self confessed coffee lover.

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Redroaster by day and Pike & Pine by night, this venue plays host to two collective seaside hot spots. Award-winning​ chef Matt Gillian has lovingly prepared the brunch and small plates menu on offer during the day, from Herb Waffles with Bacon Jam to Red Roaster’s Brioche Toast with Crab and Yuzu Curd, this is a menu of spectacular proportions. There’s even a bottomless brunch on the weekends for those of you that like a tipple or three. This top quality cafe paved the way and was one of the very first specialist coffee houses, and they are still the only certified organic roastery in the South. Their globally sourced beans are roasted daily for optimum freshness and you can even buy a bag to take home with you. The Kenyan Botanical Punk gives us life. Make sure you’re phone’s charged aplenty when you visit this stylish coffee destination as it’s stunning facade will keep your Instagram flourishing for days.

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With seven locations across Brighton & Hove, Small Batch is quickly becoming . . . well, not that small. But this coffee roastery/cafe business is doing things extremely well; they share a passion for good coffee without the snobbery, they’ve maintained a strong family ethos​ in a fast growing business, they travel out to meet their producers - looking to create sustainable long-term relationships as part of an impressively holistic approach to their work. But all you really need to know is that you can get an unparalleled cup-of-the-good-stuff in a stylish joint whilst getting well looked after - every time.

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This funky indecent coffee shop has come a long way since it first opened its doors back in 2007. From the humble coffee shop to a food-led place for breakfast and lunch. They source their coffee locally from Littlehampton and you have to give the 'Moksha' blend a try. Run by Oliver de Trafford who has got a long background in hospitality where he originally trained and worked as a chef. With a dream of running his own restaurant, he eventually left his job as a manager for a high street coffee chain to set up Moksha with the help of his mum Kate and stepdad Karl. Did you know that Moksha means release and liberation? A fitting name for a café, hoping to provide you with just that and good food.

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In-house coffee roastery, specialising in natural, sustainable, fair-trade and organic coffee. Serving a selection of all-day brunch and artisan baguettes with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, along with a selection of fresh cakes and pastries.

Read more about Trading Post Coffee

How do Starfish & Coffee make their brunch offerings so bloody good? They start by using only local, seasonal produce, with ham and free range eggs sourced from Holmansbridge Farm near Lewes, sausages and bacon from Ockham Farm in Ewhurst Green, milk from Ringmer cows, and smoked salmon from Edburton. Their coffee comes from Brighton-based roastery Coffee at 33, and fresh bread, pastries and sweet treats arrive daily from artisan bakeries such as Coburn & Bakery, Becky's Brownies and Cookie Cartel.

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A wholesome, healthy and homemade food lover's retreat. Nestled away from the action of Kemptown, you may be surprised at how busy this quirky little cafe is, but with peeled back walls and upcycled features including an old sink as a salad bar and tin cans for display stands, it’s hard to miss. And you’ll be spoilt for choice at the cafeteria-style counter that’s teeming with delicious quiches, sandwiches, salads and cakes - all prepared in their open plan kitchen. The staff clearly enjoy their work together, which creates a real sense of harmony and a warm welcome.

Read more about Cafe Marmalade

Situated on Preston Road, Cafe Rust is the perfect hideaway for those looking for beautiful breakfasts & light lunches. This is the brainchild of the mind behind Lala’s Cafe over in Hove - another spot well worth checking out for that right-on cafe experience. Rust is full of shabby chic charm - which you can soak up over a cup of locally sourced, RedRoaster coffee, or one of their freshly-made quiches, salads and delicious sandwiches. If it’s sunny out, try and nab a seat in their beautiful patio area and escape the hustle and bustle for a few minutes. Also hosting grea​t pop-up dinners in the impressive cellar, Cafe Rust - whether night or day - is a must visit.

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Blend Coffee Co. is a lovely local coffee shop in Brighton, that not only serves delicious speciality coffee and teas but also freshly made delicacies that will transport you to your favourite childhood memory. Enjoy your finely blend coffee made by expert baristas in a chill atmosphere that you can only find at Blend Coffee Co.

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Boo Diddley's is a retro gaming cafe and shop in Brighton, who sell video games, serve speciality coffee and delicious cakes and host gaming tournaments.

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A contemporary café nestled in the charming Lanes, offering a heavenly selection of Has Bean coffees,speciality teas, a whole host of nutritiously, delicious dishes and daily changing salads. While away an afternoon in this stylish backdrop whilst digging into moreish delights such as roast peach, prosciutto, rocket and whipped ricotta salad or head down on a Saturday morning for a Wriggle favourite – The Lost Breakfast with free range pork sausage and eggs, smoked streaky bacon, homemade hash browns, heritage tomatoes and field mushrooms on sourdough. For afternoon treats chose from a freshly-baked cake or pastry and a house-made soda or coffee. Go get lost (in the best way!).

Read more about Lost In The Lanes

An independent deli café-come-restaurant, Lavash are dishing up the tastiest, freshest wraps we’ve gobbled up in a long, long time. Packed full of locally, sustainably sourced ingredients which are prepared to traditional and contemporary Middle Eastern street food methods, these bad boys are seriously tasty. Lavash is the perfect spot for grabbing a casual bite to eat with your closest pals – enjoy your wraps with a properly tasty craft beer, or why not go all out with a bottle of wine? They're also one of the only places to serve real traditional Turkish coffee in Brighton too.

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Mojo Coffee House are serious about their coffee! Owners Karl & Annette looked to create a venue where great coffee was aplenty, wholesome food was affordable and friends could meet with the community. They've certainly managed to do just that! With two venues, on Lewes Road and Queens Road, there's twice as much nice available. Enjoy their homemade cakes, muffins or fresh croissants to go, paninis, breakfasts and much more. Now serving alcohol at their Lewes Road cafe, there's really no reason to miss it!

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Wholesome salads, Small Batch coffee, daily-changing hot and cold specials, quality breakfasts and freshly made sandwiches await you at this gem of a café on Trafalgar Street. Grab a seat and watch the people go by as you enjoy wonderful home cooked food.

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Having recently taken over this lovely cafe in Hove, the wonderful team behind Treacle & Ginger are excited to serve the lovely people of Brighton. It's a great place to meet friends and to discover great local art and crafts, with regularly changing wares on display in keeping with the seasons. Enjoy a cup of coffee, tea, or refreshing soft drink and a slice of homemade cake - there are plenty of cakes and savouries to try. Or join for breakfast, brunch or lunch. Offering Sussex sparkling wine, selected local craft beers, Hurstwood cider, Brighton gin and a great Bloody Mary, there's something for all tastes at Treacle & Ginger!

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Tucked away in Hove inside a beautiful old building overlooking the stunning Palmeira Square is Down to Earth Coffee. Look through the enormous floor to ceiling windows that flood this caffeine lovers' paradise with light, and you'll see the beaming, contented faces of happy customers, relishing a properly good cup of coffee. A peaceful spot in a truly beautiful setting, Down to Earth boasts a rustic, wooden interior that's as laid back and relaxing as the chilled out tunes drifting from the speakers. With incredible regular beans from Round Hill Coffee, as well as a dreamy selection of rotating guest espressos and filter choices, Down to Earth are bringing their A-game to the booming Brighton & Hove coffee scene. Come for the idyllic views and a cracking cup of Joe, and stay for the freshly baked treats adorning the counter – or go all out with one of the inviting brunch dishes.

Read more about Down to Earth Coffee

Published -3rd May 2019