44 Poets has become a hub for the coffee community in Hove since opening its doors in 2018, so we stopped by to see what makes the shop so special.
Words by Daniel White
Coffee is all about convenience, right? For many people, their morning coffee is purchased on their way into work. It is used as a pick-me-up for the day ahead, that’s consumed while hurrying through the streets, brushing shoulders with other passing commuters.
However, this is not always the case. For some, coffee has become more of a ritual; a moment to themselves or time to share with friends or family. It is a time of calm before the day truly commences. This is the feeling when stepping into 44 Poets, at least.
You could be forgiven for not knowing where 44 Poets is positioned. Tucked away in Hove, a two minute walk from Portland Road, it is not buried in the hustle and bustle of the city’s commerce centre. Rather, it perches on the corner between Montgomery Street and Rutland Road in Poet’s Corner, providing a beacon for Hove’s coffee community.
As I approached on a sunny May day, the shop was already full. While some customers sat inside catching up, others waited outside, chatting amongst themselves while they sipped their coffee and soaked up the sun. The beautiful weather was rather unexpected on this midweek morning, however, the gathering outside 44 Poets was anything but.
Since opening their doors over five years ago, the shop has only gone from strength to strength. Offering a range of single origin coffees on espresso and filter, you can choose from their Colombian single origin house coffee, the Montgomery Espresso, or from a range of guest filter options that rotate regularly. The centrepiece of the brewing equipment being the beautiful Victoria Arduino Eagle One Prima espresso machine.
The coffee is certainly a highlight at 44, however, it is the people behind the counter that make this place special. Every barista has a hunger to take coffee above and beyond expectations. From their desire to experiment with recipes, ratios and routine, to their recent purchase of the Timemore Sculptor 078 grinder, making it the only coffee shop in the country to own one.
They are never happy standing still and, in a society where community is founded on the belief of an idea, the faith from Hove’s community is unwavering. “I really like the Hove clientele,” explained Stevie Hutton, the owner and founder of 44 Poets. “The people of Hove are a nice crowd, so we are really lucky that we have lots of nice customers.
“We have a nice mix really. We’ve got all the people who live locally who want a good and reliable coffee shop, and we have also the customers who do appreciate the rarer coffees, and the people who aren’t so local who do travel here. So we get a mix of those people, which is great.”
Upon every visit it appears there is a new coffee on the counter, a new piece of equipment behind the bar or a new recipe the baristas are keen for you to try. It is this infectious spirit to experiment that draws customers back again and again to this little gem on the corner.
From parents taking their kids to Stoneham park, to local residents popping out to gather some lunch, almost every customer finds the time to stop and talk with the team during my time at the shop, and the team clearly enjoy this chance to interact with their regulars.
“The shop is pretty much running at capacity,” said Stevie. “Most coffee shops are looking at more ways to be busy, but I think being any busier for us would probably be detrimental, in terms of quality and service. So it is nice running a small and busy shop.”
The desire to maintain this high-quality coffee offering is clearly stronger than ever, and it is this focus that keeps 44 Poets as one of the hubs of the city’s community.
That community spirit will be brought together on Saturday 12th August at All Saints Hove, as the Brighton Coffee Festival hosts the biggest gathering of coffee lovers the city has ever seen. Bringing everyone together under one roof is something Stevie is excited to be immersed in.
“I love seeing what everyone is doing locally,” he said. “It is nice to see roasters who you don’t see very often and it is a really nice community spirit, bumping into everyone you know.”
To find out more about 44 Poets and their offering, visit their website 44poets.co.uk or find them on the corner at 44 Rutland Road, Hove, BN3 5FF.
To purchase tickets to Brighton Coffee Festival head to our Ticket Page.