So this article is going to be something different for this website. We are stepping outside the home brewing home and talking about coffee shops down in Bournemouth and Poole (or just Dorset). This is the county I grew up and I even played cricket for Dorset for number of years. Sorry I had to just say…boasting mode disabled promise.
If you read my first ever article then you might have picked up on the fact that my speciality coffee journey started in a coffee shop in Bournemouth. At the time I lived there, there was only 2 or 3 good quality coffee shops. But living in the Midlands for almost 4 years now and my last visit down south opened me up to new places that I never knew existed. My Instagram contact who lives in Dorset gave me a little rundown of the new places and I think number of speciality coffee shops could be around the double digits.
Whilst I was in Bournemouth start of June this year, I wanted to try as many coffee shops as possible and take photos so I can do a little recommendation post. Bournemouth is a very touristy place in the UK and considering staycation being the trend for the summer then you need to know the coffee shops around the South Coast.
So lets get into some cool coffee places and we will start with Bournemouth.
South Coast Coffee – Bournemouth
To start with the place where my love for speciality coffee shop started. South Coast Coffee or previously known as South Coast Roast. This well known, popular coffee shop is based in the heart of Bournemouth on Richmond Hill nearer the square. I am a nostalgic person and I used to work very close to the shop, so this place is pretty special to me.
When I first visited this shop with some friends I was a bit suspicious over the ‘hipster’ vibes. However, once I tried the coffee I was pleasantly surprised and intrigued with some of the flavours the coffee produced. Note, I was a Starbucks person back then so I going into a cafe that did not have any syrups, I thought it was a bit pretentious. But really I was the ignorant one because the guys here make some great coffee and also sell coffee too. Note 2, that Starbucks I used to go to was opposite South Coast Coffee.
I mentioned this place has a hipster vibe but it is a cool place to sit in and enjoy coffee. Even if it is very busy, you can grab coffee on the go and just head to the garden which is a minute walk away. They also sell vegan, brunch-style food which I have heard good things about. I have never actually tried it (a sushi place nearby was always my food option).
To focus on the coffee, it is really good. They roast there own coffee which used to be called South Coast Roast but now is called Bad Hand Coffee. I believe the same people are behind it but the coffee shop did close and re-open during lockdown. But I have enjoyed the coffee everytime I tried it or bought a bag. They had a house coffee which had this chocolate, cherry, molasses flavour notes and was just great for espresso-based drinks. I didn’t see this coffee last time I went but the Rwandan Natural caught my eye and I bought that for home brewing. The flavour notes were cherry, blackcurrant and very syrupy and as I was travelling it produced some juicy brews on the Aeropress.
My last visit was a brief one due kids and trying to find a suitable car park space. This is probably the only downside as parking can be a pain in this area especially for a quickstop. You can pay to park on the side of the road but you might struggle for space during busy periods. There is a car park if you go down Richmond Hill and take the first right before the shop. It will be just past the bend on the right and only a 5 minute walk. This is a good spot if you are looking to sit inside.
Address: 24 Richmond Hill, Bournemouth BH6 6EJ
Espresso Kitchen – Bournemouth
Staying in Bournemouth but moving toward the triangle up the hill there is a small coffee shop called Espresso Kitchen that is another little gem in Bournemouth. This one is on the corner of the triangle, again, there is a starbucks nearby. You got to love these independant coffee shops standing up to the big corporations right?
But this place can be easily missed especially if you are driving around. You have to kind of swing around Commercial road and it’s on a bend. Good news there is there is a big car park nearby but you can also find lots of space on the side road if you just want coffee on the go.
Espresso Kitchen is a small but cosy space but they do really great coffee and have different types of cakes to go with it. I had a nice chat with the barista when I visited few weeks before this post. He was telling me about the Peruvian coffee they had for their espresso drinks. I got a cappuccino (my go-to drink) and I got a very sweet chocolate note but the drink was very smooth.
Although it is a difficult place to spot either if you are coming into Bournemouth or leaving. It’s in a good place to quickly pick up a cup. It is already pretty close to all the hotels and its convenient especially if you are driving around. If you are in the square you will need to a little trek up the hill towards the triangle but it is only a few minutes walk back down especially if you want to go to the garden or the beach. They also have another shop between Bournemouth and Poole which I drove past but did not notice. Maybe one the for part 2.
Address: 69 Commercial Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5RT
Ounce – Westbourne
If we now head towards the outskirt of Bournemouth and do a short drive to nice area called Westbourne because there is a fairly new coffee shop called Ounce. This place has got great reviews and built a nice reputation for itself. I heard of this place before heading down south and my Dorset contact described the place as ‘insane’.
This place just does pick-ups as inside the shop is very small. But they make it work with the beautiful aesthetics and with lots of plants it has just adds to the whole vibe. Along with the plants, they have paintings, fragrance oils, t-shirts, a mini fridge with cool drinks and obviously coffee. It might seem there is a lot going on but you get a good feeling being inside. The customer service is top notch too. I spoke with the Barista who works here and he is a awesome character to have to make you coffee. We had a nice chat about random things and felt like I was talking to a good friend I have not seen for a long time. Also, he gave my kid a coffee pin too. It’s just amazing engaging and natural customer service which is what you need for a coffee shop.
I realised I haven’t even talked about the coffee which is outstanding. Out of all the places I visited during my trip to Bournemouth the coffee here was my favourite. It was the first time, a place beat out South Coast Coffee. I got a cappuccino as always and I believe they used coffee from Ozone coffee roasters for the espresso shot. Regardless the coffee hit the spot. The one pet peeve I have about how people make cappuccino’s is they put too much milk into it. Here it was perfect, still got the strong coffee flavour with the nutty and fruity notes coming through nicely. My wife also enjoyed her iced latte and said it was her favourite drink whilst there too.
They also sell coffee from two different roasters. I have mentioned both already as they have packs on the shelf from Bad Hand Coffee and Ozone Coffee Roaster who are very well known for their quality roasts. I picked up a bag by Ozone, a single origin with Walnut, Hazelnut and Chocolate Orange flavour notes. Really delicious coffee that is suitable for both espresso and filter. A must buy if you want some coffee beans for home brewing.
I can’t give this place enough compliments because it is a coffee shop to my taste. It is a quintessential indenpendant coffee shop. The type of you expect to have good coffee and the look that says we sell speciality coffee here.
Address: 29a Seamoor Road, Westbourne, Bournemouth, BH4 9AA
The Dancing Goat – Ashely Cross, Poole
So if someone told you there is a shop called The Dancing Goat then you will never be able to guess what they sell. But if I told you they sold coffee then you will be like…’Ah, that makes sense’. The shop has got that classic, rustic, distressed coffee shop look and I love it.
This is another recomendation too from the so-called ‘contact’ and this cafe is based in Ashely Cross in Poole. However, it can be hard to find without Google Maps as it’s off the busy high street. The shop was another pick-up place although there was a table and chair outside. I actually was in a little rush so could not get the best look at their menu but they did have range of pasty-type food to takeaway. The owner and barista working here were very nice and warming. You can tell it was a type of place locals would regularly go.
I ordered a cappuccino and latte which came in a different coloured cups which looked nice. The coffee was good but my cappuccino was slightly milkier then I prefer and even my wife’s latte was milky which is saying something for a latte. It just masked out the coffee flavour a little bit and I would preferred it stronger. I think the cups were quite tall so my cappuccino felt more like a latte. Maybe a small cup for cappuccino’s or stronger drink would be better.
They also sold their own coffee which is there own blend and house coffee. I didn’t see any other coffee from them but I would live to try this coffee again maybe as an espresso to get a better look into the taste. Another interesting thing they sold is beans from Origin coffee which was quite surprising and cool. Origin are one of most successful coffee roasters in the UK and I have had some of my favourites coffee from them.
I actually really want to head back to this shop next time I go back to Dorset. My visit was too brief and I did enjoy the coffee but like i said I would maybe try a espresso or a tall black. I also need to give them a big thank you for giving me a free chocolate croissant with nutella filling. It hit the spot on a rainy Friday.
Address: 31 Parr Road, Poole, BH14 OJX
Riptide Espresso & Records – Poole
Riptide Espresso & Records was a pleasant surprise because it’s the first I heard of a specilaity coffee shop in Poole, specifically on the High Street. I was never fond of the High Street when I went as a kid but now it has unfortunately got this dead feeling due some shops being closed down.
However, this coffee shop is at the other end of the High Street and around the the corner from the Quay. Although there are still some empty shops, I was getting a feeling that more independent shops were opening up here and maybe in the future it will have a better atmosphere. But Riptide Espresso & Records is the exact type of shop you want to see more of. It is also nice that the Quay is round the corner so you can pick up a coffee and go for a walk. Also, for parking, use the Quay Visitors Car Park, decent prices and only a short walk away from the cafe.
This coffee shop have a easy layout with couple of sitting spaces inside and couple of tables outside. I went with my wife and 2 kids and we enjoyed our drinks sitting out in the sun. I actually got two drinks for myself (greedy I know), a cappuccino and obviously a espresso. Cappuccino was really good, hit the spot but it was the espresso that was the stand out. I am not a regular espresso drinker but when I have had the really good espresso it just stands out. There there was a deep, dark chocolate caramel flavour note with a pleasant mixture of sweetness and bitterness dancing around your mouth.
My family also enjoyed their drinks which thanks to the variety of drinks on the menu. My wife got a frappe (she is the risk taker in the relationship) and my kids had a hot chocolate which they thoroughly enjoyed. So it was good to get more options because my kids are getting sick of babycinno’s.
I am so happy there is a place like Riptide & Espresso in Poole because previously I had to travel to Bournemouth to get decent coffee. My parents still live towards the village so lot of things are quite far out. This shop is something a place like Poole needs. It is definitely a coffee spot to check out if you are down near Poole or Sandbanks.
Address: 2 Grande Parade, High Street, Poole, BH15 1AD
Seeing new coffee shops in Dorset is a really cool, especially when they are a independent business. I also really like that each place I talked about had their own character and nice people running it. That is what I love about visiting these coffee places along with good tasting coffee.
The good news is this is only part 1 because there are a lot more coffee shops that I have not visited. But I do need to arrange another visit to Dorset although easier said then done with 2 little kids. But I do hope you check these places out if you are down South on holiday. Let me know what you think in the comments if you do visit. But I will stop my rambling for now.