5 years, 9 months ago
If diesel fuels the black cabs of London, what fuels the flow of feet along London’s streets? What keeps Londoners ticking and tocking as they go about their business across London’s huge historic sprawl?
Coffee, of course.
While London doesn’t have the “coffee culture” reputation of other cities like Melbourne or Vienna, freshly brewed, fluffy foamed coffee based drinks are still a serious business. Here are our ten favourite coffee shops in London, especially if you’re inclined to avoid large coffee chains and want to find something with a little quirk.
Coffee-slash-bike-shops are popping up all over London now as cycling sees a resurgence in popularity, however one of the original caffeine hits for bike fans comes from the brilliantly named “Look Mum, No Hands!”. Head here to sit on vintage sofas looking at vintage cycling memorabilia sipping super fresh Square Mile coffee from just down the road.
Look Mum No Hands, 125-127 Mare St, London, E8 3RH
credit: Premshree Pillai
In the heart of Soho is this uncomplicated coffee shop, the little sister of equally cool Flat White Café (on nearby Berwick Street). Coffee is taken seriously by both staff and clientele, as is looking wonderfully hipster. A perfect spot to take a load off while sightseeing; head here for vegan cakes and sugar-free breads.
Milkbar, 3 Bateman Street, W1D 4AG
In the last five years Sacred have been successful in bringing a dose of New Zealand cafe culture to London. With four locations across the centre of town you’d be hard pressed to find a match for their flat white, unless, of course, you find yourself in a coffee shop in Wellington or Auckland.
See locations here.
The much-loved Monmouth Coffee is a highlight of Covent Garden and over the years their loyal customers have allowed them to grow across the capital with two additional locations at Borough Market and in Bermondsey. A London favourite since the late 1970s, they still hand-pick their coffee beans direct from producers and farmers.
See locations here.
Tucked between bookshops and tourist traps, Notes on St Martin’s Lane is just stumbling distance from Trafalgar Square. In August they opened their own roastery, proving they’re right when they say how serious they are about coffee. At night they transform into a social dining space with a wine list almost as impressive as the coffee blends on offer. With classic movies streaming in the background and an excellent choice in music, they also have a location in Covent Garden.
Notes, 31 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4ER
Another Antipodean entry on this list, for a long time Caravan was the hidden gem of Exmouth Market but with a recent second location opening in King’s Cross they’ve confirmed themselves as a serious player on London’s coffee scene. With onsite roasteries in both shops, and their blends being served in many other coffee shops around the city, Caravan is the unofficial king of London brunch, so go during the week if you don’t want to wait for a table!
Caravan, 11-13 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QD
Represented in both east and west London – in Westfield Stratford and Putney respectively – Grind first started life as a coffee and drums shop. Quirky? Yes. Successful? Not massively. While the sale of drums didn’t take off, the coffee certainly did and the company fixed its focus on producing quality coffee. You can even buy their blends online.
See locations here.
A little different from the others on this list, but the café at the V&A is very worthy of inclusion, especially seeing that entry is free so you can sip on award-winning Benugo fairtrade coffee in one of the most beautiful cafes in London. Even if you skip the museum part, you’ll feel steeped in history as you sip coffee surrounded by detailed mosaic walls, high ceilings and stunning stained glass windows.
Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL
Along one of Mayfair’s most illustrious (and expensive!) streets is this coffee shop and deli which is also a specialist in private dining and bespoke gift hampers. But back to the coffee; it’s good, really good and is definitely best served with a slab of one of their homemade cakes. And if you ask for some milk, you’ll love the little cow jugs it’s presented in.
Mount Street Deli, 100 Mount Street, W1K 2TG
Quaint, charming and cosy – three things you wouldn’t expect to feel about disused public restrooms, however Attendant (geddit?) on Foley Street has transformed this former convenience into a warm place to stop, sample their selection of Caravan roasts and stare at the urinals that are still in situ. To understand what we mean you’ll have to see it for yourself!
Attendant, 27A Foley Street, W1W 6DY
Now over to you, which coffee shops in London have you loved, either for the coffee or the atmosphere? We’d love to know!
Featured image by [ changó ]