IN recent years the rise of the coffee shop has been one of the High Street’s major success stories.

We can’t, it seems, get enough of our flat whites and caramel lattes.

We asked you to recommend your favourite coffee shops around East Lancashire and your suggestions coupled with our own experiences has led to this list of five of the best.

It is by no means meant to be definitive and if you have a particular favourite then do lets us know via our website.

We have deliberately steered clear of the major chains which have sprung up everywhere and concentrated on the independents bringing us a cup of cheer.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

1. Siphon Espresso and Brew Bar, Rawtenstall

One of the newer additions to the list for coffee lovers having opened on the corner of Bank Street last year, Siphon has both style and substance.

The coffee is of the first order and the staff very knowledgeable about their product and this, teamed up with some delicious home made cakes and pastries, has already established itself as a real Valley favourite.

The establishment also is proud to be dog friendly which has won it a whole new set of fans.

The interior design wouldn’t look out of place in a city centre but the welcome is warm and friendly.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

2. Exchange Coffee Co, Wellgate, Clitheroe

One for the coffee connoisseurs, this three-storey coffee shop/cafe has just the right blend (if you’ll pardon the pun) of quirkiness and expertise. As roasters, Exchange Coffee certainly know their drinks - you’ll find around 30 different coffees and twice that number of loose teas available to buy. A decent range of cakes and main dishes are also available. There are also two further cafes in Blackburn and others in Todmorden and Skipton.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

3. Little Barista, Howe Walk, Burnley

Ideally situated in the town centre, Little Barista is the perfect spot to pop in and take a break from shopping. The coffees often look like works of art but pale into insignificance compared to some of the majestic cakes which are made on the premises. Regulars often refer to the friendly and attentive service and the menu offers a plentiful choice of vegetarian and vegan options.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

4. Rhode Island Coffee, Blackburn

Yes, it’s technically part of a chain but we make the exception because it’s a small, North West chain which has won awards for its coffee. As part of the town’s main shopping centre, it’s a popular place. A wide range of coffees are available along with a tempting array of cakes and sandwiches. The book exchange is an added bonus allowing you pick up some new reading matter for free.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

5. Imposta Coffee, Warner Street, Accrington

A popular spot for shoppers and old friends to meet up for a regular chat, Imposta offers a warm welcome and a good selection of home-made cakes and sandwiches to go along with your brew.

If you’re there early in the morning you may well be tempted by the breakfasts too.

Reviews often point to the friendly service which is always a good sign. Just off the town centre it’s in a handy spot.