I start my reviews about coffee shops in Bath with Repack Espresso. This is not a random election at all. Repack was, paradoxically, the last Speciality Coffee Shop I visited while working in Bath. I spent six months working in that tiny but beautiful city. There I was educated as a barista, made friends and perambulated from coffee shop to coffee shop learning from Baristas. Repack was the last stop. However may be the place where I learnt the most, thanks to Jonathan Prestidge. I would most certainly list it as one of the best coffee shops of the city and the South West.
The question coming is, why did it take me that long to visit Repack? Unfortunately, the coffee shop is not in the city centre, which looks like a jungle of Speciality Coffee Shops nowadays. Bath is not a big city, there are not even one hundred thousand people living there. That said, the Bathonian city has a very strong coffee culture. It surprises me to think I can easily count almost ten coffee shops which flirt with high standards, close to Speciality Coffee.
Then, out of the centre and in between Queens Square and New Bridge we can find Repack Espresso. It is located in one of the main streets of the city, Upper Bristol Rd. It is a residential area just passed Victoria Park. Small shops rest here from the city centre bustle. I remember the first time I got there. Few yellow stools defy you in between a bike rack and the door. One small homemade board looks for students who could get a Student Discount. The coffee shop is small and has character. Clinical white walls are contrasting with the wooden counter laminated with cork. You can see magazines around the shop, most of them talk about bikes and coffee.
On the counter, you can see a beauty posing. It is a Kees Van der Westen Mirage Triplette, which looks like have just landed from the space. Next to it you see its adventure partner, an EK43 grinder. The eye-catching coffee machine will draw your attention, but the grinder can do everything here. If you need a filter or an espresso, our little friend will get the more out of it. The attentive curator of this scene will be there with a smile on his face, Jonathan.
I will not be talking about the coffee I had there; I just had a lot. I have been enough times to tell how consistent his filters are; on the other hand, his espressos are preciously complex and sweet, thanks to the low-pressure extraction. Repack is a unique coffee shop where you will always find interesting and unusual coffee beans. If you are a picky coffee lover, Jonathan will be here, waiting for you while slowly extracting an absolutely balanced espresso.
Like many people in the speciality coffee industry in the South West, I was greatly influenced by a chance visit to Colonna and Smalls’ first shop in Bath, shortly after it opened. Before then I was an enthusiastic coffee drinker, but Maxwell and the team opened my eyes to the potential of coffee to be so much more than a tasty hot drink to wake you up in the mornings. From that day it was clear to me that I would be working in the speciality coffee industry in the near future.
It took some time to establish, but at the beginning of 2012 I quit my stable but the slightly boring job in higher education management and set up Repack Espresso with my wife and business partner Jo. From day one we wanted to showcase a range of coffees from different roasters, so we’ve never had anything like a ‘house’ espresso. We’ve featured coffees from roasters as diverse as Transcend in Calgary and Coffee Collective in Copenhagen. We also wanted to capture the friendly vibe of the best small coffee shops; I think that the fact that many of our customers have become good friends is a sign of our success in that endeavour!
We have a separate mobile setup for events and are set to hit the festival circuit in 2017. I think there’s a gap in the market for quality coffee at these sorts of events. We’re also moving into the home coffee brewing market next year, with an innovative product that will help consumers to achieve radically better results in the cup without the need to buy expensive equipment. Watch this space for more details!
MEET THE BARISTA… JONATHAN P.
I first started making coffee seriously on a home setup in 2010, after being inspired by Maxwell and the team at Colonna and Smalls.
How was your first experience at Repack Espresso?
The first day was exciting – the first customers were three times UK Barista Champion, Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, and Ed Gooding, latterly the go-to guy at Malkhoenig, now at Bunn. To say I was nervous serving them espressos is something of an understatement!
What is Repack Espresso for you?
Repack is about great coffee, but it’s also about a friendliness and a personal level of customer service that enables people to enjoy the experience.
What is your favourite coffee? How do you like it brewed?
My favourite coffee would be an espresso, pulled quite long at low pressure, to give a delicate, complex flavour. I’m thinking of Panama Geishas and floral Ethiopians from Colonna Coffee, for example. I’ll always make myself a lovely little piccolo at some point in the day, though.
- Monday-Wednesday: 7:40-14:30
- Thursday-Friday: 7:40-16:00
- Saturday: 9:00-14:30
VEGAN OPTIONS: NO
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: NO
- Coffee Beans.
- Stools and chairs.
- Rotating offer: UK and some of the best European Roasters.
ESPRESSO: Two to Three Single Origins.
FILTER: One to Two Single Origins.
TEA SELECTION: Coffee Chap Co.
- Soy Milk (Alpro).
COFFEE MACHINE: Kees Van der Westen Mirage Triplette.
FILTER BREWING METHODS:
- Clever Dripper.
COLD COFFEE OPTIONS:
- Cold Brew.
- Iced Aeropress.