Is The Independent 50 Best Coffee Shops a biased report?

People will quit
December 8, 2012
City cafe
Birmingham Coffee Scene – part 5
February 12, 2013

independent_mastheadOver the years I have looked at the Independent’s Newspaper 50 Best Coffee Shop article that it produces from time to time and always thought it was good. It’s great to see Birmingham Coffee shops included this year, which shows the scene is growing.

Glancing at the latest version when it came out this week something struck me as odd, when looking at the Birmingham listed shops it included only two and both are Hasbean customers and one is a pub not really a coffee shop. This made me take a look at who this years judges were and sure enough one was Dale Harris from Hasbean, this maybe a coincidence but got me thinking.

So I looked at the others in the Midlands & East Anglia and four (80%) of the five were HasBean customers and the other one I am not sure who they are supplied by so it could be Hasbean.

Coffee 2, Halesowen – Unknown
6/8 Kafé, Birmingham- Hasbean
Honey & Harvey, Woodbridge – Hasbean
The Window, Norwich – Hasbean
The Plough, Birmingham- Hasbean

I then decided to see if this was just a regional thing or a wider issue. Taking a look at the North, 50% are Hasbean, 30% are unknown and could be Hasbean and 20% are other roasters.

Bettys, Harrogate – Taylors
Bold Street, Liverpool – Hasbean
North Tea Power, Manchester – Hasbean
Laynes Coffee, Leeds – Hasbean
Opposite Cafe, Leeds – Hasbean
The Attic, York – Hasbean
Spring Espresso, York –  J A Atkinson of Lancaster
Cafe de Vie Nescastle – Unknown
Cafe Royal, Newcastle – Unknown
Tebay Services, Cumbria – Unknown

Of the two regions looked at 60% are Hasbean customers, 27% are Unknown and 13% are other coffee roasters. This as a percentage feels a little high to be a coincidence. So has the The Independent allowed their editorial independence to be compromised so a judge can support its customers?