IT’S time to spill the beans – York has the best coffee in the country.

The Attic, above Harlequins Cafe in Kings Square, has won the Beverage Standards Association’s award for best espresso in the UK – and is one of only six venues in the entire country to get organisation’s top rating.

Owners Gordon and Marie Howell are now enjoying the sweet smell of success, only two months after they opened The Attic, serving speciality coffee and beers from all over the world.

The Attic was also shortlisted for two other awards: best filter or cafetiere; and best cappuccino, latte or flat white coffee.

Under the association’s grading system, The Attic was awarded five cups – one of only six venues in the country to get the maximum score.

Gordon said: “It really couldn’t have gone any better.”

Gordon, who has been a semi-finalist at the UK Barista Championships for the past two years, said: “It won the world championships and at the time was considered the best espresso in the world.”

“The best espresso award was the one we really wanted to win,” he said, comparing it to best actor in the Oscars.

“It’s great news for us. We have put five to six years of hard work into The Attic through the growth of Harlequins, going beyond the normal coffee environment and doing things a little bit differently.”

The Attic, which was converted from office space into a new cafe bar, also displays art and provides an evening offer for the cafe on Friday and Saturday nights.

Its success follows that of York being declared the fifth best place for food and drink in Europe by TripAdvisor, and that of Cafe deClare on Peter Lane, which has appeared in the Good Food Guide.

The coffee awards were decided by a mystery shopping process and Gordon said the judges were impressed with being served an El Salvador La Llusion, which won the world barista championships in 2011.

‘It’s smooth, like a dessert’

Julie finds out what makes espresso so special at The Attic

More than just a cup of coffee, espresso at The Attic is a taste experience, for which some customers have travelled hundreds of miles.

Gordon starts me off on a blend of 70 per cent Guatemalan el Bosque and 30 per cent of the award-winning El Salvador La Llusion Bourbon.

He points out the flecked appearance on top – the sign of a fresh, well-pulled espresso – before I take a sip.

The blend starts off with a zesty acidity, like grapefruit or sherbet lemons, before a smooth creamy finish.

The second sip is different, with more depth to the finish as the front of the tongue acclimatises to the acidity.

Next, I try a sweeter Brazilian espresso, perfect as a macchiato with milk.

Although not usually my thing, the macchiato shows how the milk should have no bubbles, except for those caused by the effervescent coffee itself.

It’s smooth with a creamy texture, almost like dessert.