Artigiano, High St. Exeter

248 High Street, Exeter, EX4 3PZ ¦ Follow on Twitter

On the other end of the scale, miles away from Cafe Central (see previous article) is another new opening in Exeter.  Artigiano is a direct import from London, and has brought a bit of coffee sophistication to the High St.  Right opposite Starbucks (haha).

Not that Exeter is devoid of amazing places to drink and appreciate fine coffee.  Devon Coffee, Boston Tea Party, Butternut Cafe, Darkhorse Espresso are a few places that spring to mind that take pride in serving good coffee.  So can Artigiano muscle in on Exeter’s already flourishing cafe scene?  I paid them a visit yesterday to see what all the fuss is about.

Lets talk coffee first.  And I was really happy to be introduced to one of the Barista’s who was more than happy to tell me anything I wanted to know.  The main things I learnt was that each day a lot of preparation goes in to getting the blends just right, fine tuning the grinders and getting the settings perfect before serving coffee.  The Barista’s have to know their stuff too and have a real passion and knowledge for coffee.  They proudly serve Origin coffee, as do Devon Coffee and the Phoenix Cafe/Bar, which is some of the nicest coffee I have tried.  In the grinder on Saturday was an F30 Winter Espresso which produced an almost perfect Americano.

EE RecommendsLets talk Heritage.  In a previous article on here, I mentioned that Artigiano already has two cafe’s in London.  Easy Living rated Artigiano one of the best places to get coffee in the capital, they have a cafe in New Oxford Street and St Paul’s and are rated to be one of the best places in London to get a coffee.  That is obviously not overlooking the umpteen-zillion other places that serve coffee in London, but we can now look forward to having one of London’t favourite coffee serving establishments in Exeter, and soon Taunton.

My visit was a brief one, a typical visit to a cafe tends to be brief for me, so I am not rating it as I didn’t eat and I’m not really interested in putting it in a box yet.  The service was very friendly, they gave me a loyalty card and asked me if I had been before.  They explained that the Baristas would bring over the coffee once it’d been made which was a nice touch as I didn’t have to stand around waiting (which I really don’t like).  The interior is modern, almost pulled out of some fashionable coffee table magazine with interesting light fittings, lots of wood and hints of vintage here and there.

Artigiano an interesting  and welcome addition to the portfolio of ‘where do you want to meet for coffee’ type of destinations. Given they open much later than other coffee places means they also serve alcohol too, which Craft Beers available as well as wine.  Pop in and say hello.

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Cafe Central, Exeter Central, Queen Street, Exeter

I always get excited when new cafes open in Exeter, don’t get me wrong though I am not completely obsessed with cafes (although I wonder if EE is getting a bit cafe-centric sometimes?!) but it fills me with a little glow I see a newly refurbished interior and a new name popping up in a place which used to be something else.
So my excitement at seeing the recently opened Café Central meant I just had to go and see what they were all about.  On the newly paved concourse stands a sign that says ‘Five piece breakfast £2.99’.  Breakfast war has clearly been declared, given the Farmer’s Union have their £3.99 all-day breakfast and Brody’s Breakfast Bistro is a matter of metres away too!

I wanted an Egg and Bacon bap and that is what I got and most probably the best Egg and Bacon bap I have had in a while! The bap was soft white, bacon was thick cut and there was at least two big rashers too 🙂   The prices are pretty reasonable given the location, although the red and black tiling of the interior could be seen to be oppressive to some, I love this combination of colours. It was like some sort of weird interior heaven for me.
I struck up a little conversation with the chef, who I assumed was the owner too.  They’re new owners, so no familiar faces from the Platform 3 days.  They have refurbished the kitchen with new fittings too.  There were no immediate indication as to source of meat or eggs (free range?) and no indication that vegetarian options were available but then that might have been me man-looking.

I took a few snaps of the interior, but found that not everyone quite gets the food blogging concept and the prolific photo taking that goes with it, the owner looked over from his grill and said “You from the council or something?!”.

I explained I was from Eating Exeter and I was just having a look around, which seemed to go down well.  I came to think about this after I left the cafe, and the whole concept of asking permission to take photos?  Probably fuel for another blog post in the future given the wariness of many business owners to customers openly taking photos.  Remember that article in the Daily Fail about a restaurant owner banning diners from taking photos with their meal? I wasn’t offended or put off returning, as any business owner has a right to question.

Café Central don’t have a website yet.  They have an email address, and that’s about it.  They don’t have a Twitter account, or a Facebook page… in fact they have no online presence whatsoever at the moment, or at least one that isn’t discoverable through Google.
But even if they don’t end up with an online presence, I hope that their food and fantastic prices will speak for themselves.

From my brief encounter, I will be back to sample the five-piece breakfast and to see if it is as good as I reckon it will be.

Camper Coffee Company: Coffee with wheels

Its been a month or so since the Exeter Christmas Market was in full swing, before the climax of Christmas day and that sinking feeling you get when you realise that you have to go back to work.  So its time to go through my adventures over the break, to look through the photos and think about the holiday past.

The highlight for me at the Christmas Market was meeting Paul, Gary and Ryan who are collectively the Camper Coffee Company. Rosie, their 1964 VW Split Screen container van which has been converted in to a veritable coffee camper that serves some of the finest coffee you’re likely to taste from thing with wheels.  In fact, the coffee was on par with some of the nicest coffee that I have tasted from established cafes.  Their coffee is locally roasted in Dunkeswell (nr Honiton) by Littles , they also sell Little’s coffee on the van and it was great to see what a fantastic range they have.

We got chatting to the guys, and transpired that Ryan knew my wife Tori from university days, and he had recently just won the North Devon Barista Championship (see YouTube for a timelapse video!) and Paul had come quite highly too.  Its always nice to know that your coffee is in expert hands 🙂

Normally I try and take some nice photos but as it was dark and my camera was misbehaving, the photographs are a little grainey in places.  If you want to know more about Camper Coffee they are active social media users and naturally have a website too.  They are available to hire for events, and are some of the nicest waist-coat clad baristas you will come across.  I found their eagerness to talk about their coffee and the passion and enthusiasm they had for what they were serving was infectious, and it comes across in the attention to detail in their coffee.

Twitter: @CamperCoffeeCo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CamperCoffeeCo
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nstagram: @campercoffeeco