There’s been an explosion of coffee culture in London in recent years, with numerous new venues opening alongside old favourites.
Whether you’re after single origin beans or espresso blends, a flat white or a long black, whether you want your coffee with breakfast, a late-night bite or a mid-morning Cruffin, or even if you want to imbibe your beans in a former Victorian lavatory, we’ve picked 10 of the best coffee shops across the capital.
Rapha CC Café
The Rapha Cycle Club Café boasts a range of dishes stemming from renowned cycling regions, constructed by acclaimed cycling chef Henrik Orre, from breakfast to all-day treats – try the Paolo Bettini toasted sandwich with chicken breast, semi-dried tomatoes, baby watercress and olive tapenade, the Roubaix soup topped with Mimolette cheese, or a tasty range of salads and pasta dishes. There’s a fine wine and beer selection if you’re off the bike. Hot chocolate options include mint, chilli and peanut butter. The excellent house coffee is supplied by Workshop, or try a changing guest bean. Relax and watch the live racing with your piccolo latte in this haven on Brewer Street.
85 Brewer Street, W1F 9ZN, pages.rapha.cc
Foxcroft & Ginger
— Foxcroft & Ginger (@foxanginger) March 8, 2015
Opened by husband and wife team Quintin (Foxcroft) and Georgina (a proud redhead) in 2011, Foxcroft & Ginger has branches in Soho, Whitechapel, and an Old Street pop-up for summer 2015. Brunch includes eggs benedict with pulled duck, or porridge with black rice, quinoa and coconut milk, or try sourdough pizza in the evenings. Breads, pastries and cakes are made in their Soho kitchen. Coffee beans are from Sydney-based The Roasting Party, Has Bean and Caravan, and made in a 3 group Synesso. They recently launched the UK’s first Cruffin – a croissant/muffin hybrid, filled with either chocolate custard, honeycomb and lemon curd, a house-made ‘Snickers’ with nuts and salted caramel, or jam and vanilla custard.
3 Berwick Street, W1F 0DR
69-79 Mile End Road, E1 4TT
Unit 2a Old Street Tube Station, EC1Y 1BE
Climpson & Sons Café
— Climpson & Sons (@climpsonandsons) April 24, 2015
Climpson & Sons, founded in 2002, roast their own espresso blends and a range of single origin beans just down the road in London Fields for their flagship café on Hackney’s Broadway Market. With a breakfast and lunch menu using produce sourced from local businesses, they also bake a range of cakes, pastries and quiches in-house. Tea fans can enjoy a range of white, green, black and oolong teas from Crusio. It’s really all about the coffee here, though, which is of superb quality.
67 Broadway Market, E8 4PH, climpsonandsons.com
— Attendant (@Attendantcafe) April 25, 2015
Formerly a Victorian toilet, built around 1890, The Attendant was dormant for more than fifty years before being lovingly transformed into one of Europe’s most unique espresso bars. The old Attendant’s office has been turned into a little kitchen, and the original porcelain urinals have become an inspired coffee bench with green seating to match the original Victorian floor tiles. They use Caravan roast beans, and small milk producer Ivy House Farm in Somerset. Food is from New Covent Garden Market and prepared on the premises, from almond milk porridge to soup, bread, cold meats and cheeses.
Downstairs, 27a Foley Street, W1W 6DY, the-attendant.com
— Flat White (@flatwhitesoho) April 30, 2015
Flat White was established in 2005 to bring the refined artisan style coffee prevalent in Australian and New Zealand cafes to London – now as popular with expats and travellers as it is with Soho locals. Famous for, you guessed it, the flat white – the antipodean style coffee served as a strong shot of espresso served in a small cup with textured milk. They use a Square Mile coffee blend, and the food menu is small but perfectly formed, including sandwiches, toasties and bagels. London’s original flat white.
17 Berwick Street, W1F 0PT – flatwhitesoho.co.uk
Caravan Kings Cross
Sharing a building with Central St Martins, Caravan roast small batches of beans daily, using beans sourced from around the world. Their espresso is made from a blend of coffees using the freshest seasonal crops, with a menu including latte, macchiato, flat white, long black and cappuccino – you can add soya milk for an extra 50p. The single origin filter coffees on offer change daily. Hearty breakfast and brunch dishes include jalapeno corn bread with fried eggs, black beans and guindilla pepper, or barbeque baked beans with fried eggs, mojo verde, coriander, toast and chorizo. An impressive all-day menu is also available.
Granary Building, 1 Granary Square (off Goods Way), N1C 4AA, caravankingscross.co.uk
— Liz Anderson (@liz_lizanderson) April 10, 2015
Coffees in both the Covent Garden and Borough branches of Monmouth are delivered daily from their roasting site in Bermondsey. They have been selling whole and ground beans, single cone filter coffee and espresso based drinks, from single farms, estates and cooperatives, since 1978. Organic Jersey whole milk is from Jeff Bowles in Somerset, and organic whole cane sugar from Assukkar, Costa Rica. Head to the Borough branch for a coffee and a pastry after a wander round the market on a Friday or Saturday, but be prepared to queue, it’s always rammed.
27 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9EU
2 Park Street, The Borough, SE1 9AB
In the heart of Fitzrovia, just 2 minutes from Oxford Circus, lies Kaffeine, an independent café founded in 2009. Inspired by the cafe life so prevalent in Australia and New Zealand, it prides itself on excellent, professionally made espresso coffee, made in the Synesso Cyncra espresso machine and using award-winning Square Mile as well as a guest roaster from the UK, Europe or the Americas every weekend. Weekly-changing menus include freshly made breads, biscuits, chutneys, fresh cheese, friands, jams, muffins, pies, salads, soups, sparkling cascara, tarts and baked treats.
66 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7QJ, kaffeine.co.uk
Fernandez & Wells
— Fernandez and Wells (@fernandezwells) March 25, 2015
The single-origin beans for all espresso-based coffees at the several Fernandez & Wells branches are supplied and roasted by Has Bean Coffee in Stafford, with a blend changing seasonally. The Stumpy, a kind of mini flat white born in the café at Beak Street in 2007, is a F&W curiosity. The sandwiches are superb – try Stuart Grant’s Scottish black pudding grilled with egg mayonnaise in a sourdough bun, which provoked an outcry when it was once dropped from the menu. A selection of meats, cheeses and wines make an elegant lunch, or try one of their new grilled sourdough toasts, topped with Morcilla and aioli or Leon chorizo picante.
1-3 Denmark Street, WC2H 8LP
55 Duke Street, W1K 5NR
43 Lexington street, W1F 9AL
73 Beak Street, W1F 9SR
Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA
8 Exhibition Road, SW7 2HF
— The Elgin (@the_elgin) May 3, 2015
A former pub, you can still get an excellent selection of craft beers and wines here, plus locally roasted Colemans Coffee, with talented barristas preparing rare single-estate coffee alongside the house espresso blend. A coffee takeaway service is perfect for those on the go. An inspired brunch menu includes kedgeree with hot-smoked trout, and chorizo hash with pink fir potatoes, spinach and a soft duck egg. Pricey-but-worth-it Sunday roasts include the option of a side of pigs in blankets for the table – though you may have trouble sharing – alongside roast pork belly or forerib of beef with duck fat potatoes.
255 Elgin Avenue, W9 1NJ – theelgin.com
Main pic: Fernandez & Wells
More London tips…
Share this on Twitter: