Review: Full Court Press (Bristol)

fcp-exterior

59 Broad Street, Bristol, BS1 2EJ

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Overview

I lived in Bristol for 4 years until 2010, but it still has a big place in my heart and I consider it my true home. It’s stunning, as well as historical and cultured, and the people are just wonderful. And in the 6 long years since I left, coffee culture has hit big time.

I visited Bristol and Bath last weekend, with the expectation that I’d go without a decent flat white for 4 days, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I did a quick Google on my first day for “independent coffee shops” and Full Court Press came up. Our hotel was central, and this place was listed as the nearest place for a caffeine fix. We mooched over, and almost missed it (due to scaffolding), but I knew before I’d even walked in that this place knew what they were doing.

Location/premises

Situated on Broad Street, this great little coffee shop is a stone’s throw from Castle Park, next door to St Nicholas Market, and about a five minute walk from Broadmead and Cabot Circus shopping centres, so it’s fair to say it’s in a pretty prime location. In a previous life I worked on Broad Street, so I can only imagine how much of my wages would have been spent here back then.

The inside is spread over two floors, with the ground floor being quite long and narrow. They’ve made good use of the limited space, and have several tables without making it too overcrowded. The only tiny thing that I found awkward was where to stand after paying for my drink. I’m used to walking to the other end of the counter, but there’s no space there for the barista to put your drink down, but this is a relatively minor point.

They offer in-house courses for normal people like you and me to go on, which adds to the feeling that these guys know exactly what they’re doing.

Service

As soon as we arrived, we were greeted cheerily and enthusiastically by the guy – Mat – behind the counter, who was really informative about the different beans he had on offer. I usually don’t like having to make a choice about different beans, unless I’ll be offered a sample of each to make an educated choice (like Monmouth Coffee do). But Mat’s impressive knowledge and plain, jargon-free language made it really easy to choose.

fcp-options

We also grabbed a pastry each – I had a cinnamon croissant sort of thing, which was amazing (and massive!) Mat told us that he used to work where they were made and explained how they start off really small, before growing to this enormous size. I really welcomed his small talk – I was really excited to be back in Bristol after so long, and this was the first place we visited – so it was a great start to my visit “home”.

The coffee

Not just a great location and brilliant service – the coffee they serve here is incredible too. The coffee is sourced from Ethiopia (Peter James and Climpson & Sons, London) and Costa Rica (Climpson and Sons and Da Matteo, Gothenburg). The first Flat White I had tasted exactly how it was described to me, like dark chocolate and walnut. I often find that these descriptions are far from accurate when I’ve seen them before, but here it was spot on. I was given a flat white that wasn’t only expertly made, but as described.

fcp-coffee-machine

I visited again on my last day in Bristol and had the other blend available. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first one, but it was still made to perfection, and will definitely be returning next time I am in Bristol. At £2.70, the Flat White was more pricey than I expected (as a Londoner that pays roughly the same in the capital), but there are a lot less coffee shops in Bristol, so less competition. It’s definitely worth every penny.

The verdict

Full Court Press do everything right when it comes to coffee – and even teach others to be potentially just as good as they are! They’re in a great location, have a great attitude to customer service, and make excellent coffee. What more can I ask for in my favourite city?

Coffee: 9/10

Service: 9/10

Location: 10/10

Price: 9/10

Anything else: extra points for cinnamon croissant/bun

Overall score: 95%

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