Eastbourne is known for two things: the air show and retirees. What it is not known for is quality coffee. WIth such close proximity to Brighton, and the sub-culture of Lewes down the road, Eastbourne is strangely drained of delis and food establishments of note. However, I am not one to shy from a challenge. In the heart of the town, just off the main high street is Urban Ground, a new coffee shop that has made the best of an old grocery shop to provide a busy atmosphere, and a bit of a local hotspot.
The attention being paid is partially due to the location, and partially to do with the cakes. The above photo shows a selection of the Urban Ground cakes. The brownie I had was absolutely superb. Made by the owner’s wife, it was the proper amount of sweetness, gooeyness and the occasional crunch. Regular readers will know that I am particularly picky over my brownies and that I hold it as a good spirit level for the quality of the rest of the food counter. The brownie did not disappoint! But the coffee was not as impressive, unfortunately. The coffee was overextracted, and I think the beans were just poorly roasted (though the coffee was from an independent roaster). This was quite unfortunate, but really, I think not enough effort has been put into making coffee a real focus.
The milieu of Urban Ground is pleasant and the lunchtime traffic was high, which is a positive. Eastbourne is showing a real interest in good coffee shops and I think the audience is there. This is the audience that Urban Ground is seeking to attract, but I think it stops short of the mark in educating people about top quality single origin coffee, and the art-like culture that accompanies it.