Where to find great coffee in London

Where to find great coffee in London

This topic is important fellow coffee lovers. If you are new to London or visiting the city and you love/need your coffee then you need tips on where to find a great pour. The price of coffee in London is shockingly high. You can pay as much as £4 for a latte in this town. I am making it my mission to help you avoid the misery that is a bad coffee in London.

My definition of a great coffee

Before we start, I want to make sure we are on the same page. I only have one, maybe two, coffees a day. So they need to be fantastic. I want consistency every single time. I have basic requirements and am not looking for the most exotic blend or fancy pouring method. I mostly have some milk with my coffee and tend to drink them in the morning.

best espresso coffee machine london

Great coffee is made :

× espresso style with fresh beans and is not bitter or burnt
× with milk that is not scalding hot and/or burnt
× with the right proportions of milk and froth to coffee
× so the temperature is ‘just right’

There is nothing worse than a tepid coffee or a too hot one – call me Goldilocks, I like it ‘just right’. I also don’t appreciate it if my coffee comes with a shot of attitude. All due care and attention need to be paid to the standard of the coffee. So with my credentials established, here is my list of favourite coffee spots in London.

Best coffee spots in London by location


Kings Cross

Caravan
1 Granary Square, Kings Cross. Open from 8am weekdays and from 10am on weekends. Wifi – Yes
Grab yourself a takeaway on a sunny day and set yourself up on the faux grass embankment overlooking Regent’s Canal. You won’t be disappointed. Stay in for the breakfast. Best in London by my latest reckoning.

Notes
1 Pancras Square, Kings Cross. Open from 7.30am weekdays and from 10am on weekends. Wifi – Yes
A haven close by to all the hustle and bustle of Kings Cross and St Pancras. Aeropress is also available if you prefer that to espresso coffee.

best cappuccino in london

Soho

Princi
135 Wardour Street, Soho. Open from 8am every day. Wifi – Yes
A piece of Milan in central London. I will go out of my way to spend an hour catching up on email or the latest news at this elegant cafe. The coffee is fantastic and I defy you to resist the cakes and pastries.

TAP Coffee
193 Wardour Street, Soho. Open from 8am on weekdays, 10am on Saturday and from 12pm on Sunday. Wifi – Yes
Cosy and welcoming, this is a favourite spot of mine when I need to regroup or take a break from my day. I never feel rushed and always enjoy their signature flat white.

where to find the best latte in london

Fitzrovia

Curators Coffee Gallery
51 Margaret Street, Fitzrovia. Open from 7.30am weekdays and 9am on weekends. Wifi – No
Well worth a detour if you are out and about near Oxford Circus, here you not only find a great flat white but you can also view works by talented artists. If Curators had Wifi it might be the perfect spot for your first coffee of the day.

Lantana
13 Charlotte Place, Fitzrovia. Open from 8am weekdays and 9am on weekends. Wifi – Yes
Quite simply it feels like home. My brother introduced me to this little Aussie run cafe when it first opened. I always pop in when I am in the area. Also excellent for breakfasts.

Covent Garden

Pennethornes
Somerset House, The Strand, London. Open from 8am weekdays, 10am on Saturdays. Closed on Sunday. Wifi – Yes
Find this lovely cafe bar inside Somerset House. The luxurious interior is matched by excellent coffee and a laid back attitude. I often come here to catch up on email and soak up the atmosphere. 

pennethornes cafe for great coffee in london

London Bridge

Monmouth
135 Wardour Street, Soho. Open from 7.30am. Closed on Sundays. Wifi – No
You can’t miss Monmouth due to the queues winding out the door of this very popular coffee site near Borough Market. Monmouth has roasted and made coffee for over 30 years so you know the coffee is good and worth the wait.

London Grind
2 London Bridge, London. Open from 7am weekdays, 8am Saturday, 9am Sundays. Wifi – Yes
Consistently great coffee. They also understand the importance of a well executed smashed avo with poached eggs on sourdough. It’s enough to brighten the bleakest of London days. Note – you can find 6 other Grind cafes in London.

Three Wheels Coffee
Shard Arcade, London Bridge Station. Open from 7.30am weekdays, Closed weekends. Wifi – No
A wonderful coffee cart find in the middle of the London Bridge station complex. You always get a friendly smile and some cool tunes as you wait for your cappuccino.

best takeaway coffee london

Spitalfields/Shoreditch

Department of Coffee and Social Affairs
6 Lamb Street, London. Open from 8am weekdays, Closed weekends. Wifi – No
Because you absolutely must have a great coffee while wandering around Spitalfields Market. Their management team includes the post of Head of Coffee and Training. So they take things pretty seriously on the quality front. Note – this this company has seven other locations around London

Allpress Espresso Bar
58 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch. Open from 7.30am weekdays, and from 9.00am on weekends. Wifi – No
New Zealand roasters Allpress are a favourite of mine since they opened their fantastic cafe in Melbourne. In London, they situated perfectly for a break mid shopping spree in hip Shoreditch.

great london coffee

Victoria/Westminster

Iris and June
1 Howick Place, London. Open from 7.30am weekdays and 8.30am on Saturdays. Closed Sundays. Wifi – Yes
If you are visiting some of the major tourist attractions such as Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, beware. This area is a coffee lovers desert except for this gem of a place between Victoria Station and Westminster.



Final thoughts

London is a big town and I have not covered all districts. If you find yourself in need of a coffee and are nowhere near these places. Or are throwing caution to the wind, here are my final tips on finding that elusive great coffee.

Extra coffee buying tips


  1. Beware the solo employee! There is not a lot of love going into coffee that is dispensed by the same person trying to manage the orders. This happens a lot in London and the coffee is usually disappointing
  2. When a regular size coffee is double the size of a large coffee everywhere else it is bound to be bad
  3. Pricing – can make your eyes water – expect to pay around 50p extra for soy/almond/rice milk
  4. When in doubt, ask for a flat white – the ratio of coffee to milk is much higher
  5. An Americano is something like a long black

If you are really desperate

You could do worse than Pret (a Manger) who use organic beans and milk however you are at the mercy of the barista skills in each store. I default to a flat white because otherwise they use a little too much milk for my taste.

My husband (of Italian background and therefore quite fussy on this matter) swears Marks and Spencer do a great takeaway latte


London coffee: for better or worse

The coffee culture in London is improving rapidly. But we are still a long way from the standard I’ve seen in other major cities. A friend pointed out recently that most baristas (and I use that term guardedly) are trained on the job in the UK. What could go wrong? You can’t get a hospitality job in Australia without having done barista training these days and I think that goes a long way to improving the overall quality of coffee available.



A word of warning fellow Australians

It appears we have a reputation for being coffee snobs. Shocking I know. Recently while I was getting my hair cut, the client next to me in the salon went on a 15 minute rant about obnoxious Aussies and their flat whites. All I can say is when you are paying over £2.50/$5 for your cup of joy you have a right to be picky


I’ll be updating this list as I make new discoveries so do let me know if you know of a great coffee spot in your favourite part of London.



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Where to find great coffee in London

More posts on getting out and about in London

If you are hungry check out – Top 5 chain cafes and restaurants in London
How to shop Oxford and Regent Streets
One of my London Loves – Shopping for scarves at Liberty

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30 Comments

  1. 15th June 2016 / 12:05 AM

    That’s a great list of coffee places in London, Katy. I loved Caravan at Exmouth market and Monmouth near Borough market.

    • 15th June 2016 / 10:28 AM

      Thanks Ahila. I think we have similar taste ?☕️

  2. 17th June 2016 / 9:29 AM

    I want to thank you for being so picky, Katy. Your fastidiousness will make sure none of the rest of us ever end up having a bad coffee again! I love the cafés in Soho but the one on the list that most appeals is Pennethornes – love the decor.

    • 17th June 2016 / 9:36 AM

      It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it! Let’s catch up at Pennethorne’s soon Clare ?

      • 17th June 2016 / 9:38 AM

        Oh yes please! Preferably before the kids break up for the Summer Holidays..

  3. 22nd June 2016 / 5:16 AM

    I didn’t use to like coffee while I was growing up. My mom is not a coffee drinker so we never had it in the house. I started to drink it when I got married and enjoy it now. Agree that what you are getting has to be good for a $5 price.

    • 22nd June 2016 / 9:10 AM

      Thanks Ruth. I’ve definitely become more of a connoisseur as I got older. I used to have 2 sugars in my coffee which is almost the same as having a hot milkshake!

  4. 5th July 2016 / 8:03 AM

    I think I should totally save this for my fiance! He’s not big into tea like I am and would definitely need this for the next time we’re in London visiting family! #CityTripping

    • 5th July 2016 / 9:10 AM

      Hope it is useful. London is still so hit and miss when it comes to coffee

  5. 5th July 2016 / 8:47 AM

    Wonderful, sumptuous pictures too. My two coffees a day are a real treat so I can totally relate to you there. I’ll try to keep this for next I’m down. #citytripping

    • 5th July 2016 / 9:09 AM

      I’m a 2 coffee a day girl too. Any more and I’m bouncing off the walls like a toddler who has drunk half a litre of lemonade!

  6. 5th July 2016 / 2:54 PM

    I’m a passionate coffee lover and need at least two cups of coffee every day…. This is really a informative article & great image work…. Love the places too….

    • 6th July 2016 / 8:42 AM

      Thanks for the lovely comment Willie! Hope you enjoy your two cups today 🙂

  7. 5th July 2016 / 6:05 PM

    Coffee culture really has taken off in all parts of the world! I visited Hong Kong recently and noticed it was the same there, as well as here in Toronto. I love coffee shop cafes and the ones you’ve written about sound like ones I would love to visit in London 🙂 #citytripping

    • 6th July 2016 / 8:41 AM

      Good to know you can get great coffee in Hong Kong too, thanks Deb. Hope you manage to visit London soon.

  8. 6th July 2016 / 10:26 PM

    I am with you all the way – except the milk. I usually have two coffees a day and am very grouchy without them. There’s nothing worse than handing over a few pounds for something weak or burnt or generally not amazing. As I like mine black and strong, it’s easy for it to be mouth puckeringly bad! I have been to a few (Mmmm the cakes in Princi) and have a meeting lined up at Caravan – hurrah! Thanks for joining up with #citytripping

    • 7th July 2016 / 8:15 AM

      Ooh enjoy Caravan. The coffee is excellent so you won’t have a black coffee disaster. So are the breakfasts. One of my favourites.

  9. 6th July 2016 / 11:16 PM

    What a fantastic list! A lot of caffeine went into the creation of this post. I’m definitely saving it because there is nothing worse than bad coffee – can’t stand it when it gets burnt. Interesting that your hubby rates M&S! Love your tips too. Thank you for linking to #citytripping

    • 7th July 2016 / 8:28 AM

      Yes, I should have disclosed.. this post brought to you by arabica beans 🙂 My hubby is vehemently against anything trendy so I think this is a good solid tip 🙂

    • 7th July 2016 / 10:56 PM

      ooh, that is an interesting tip. I’ve always thought of Bond Street as a bit of a desert in terms of refreshments. Thanks Catherine

  10. 9th July 2016 / 8:34 AM

    I’m not in London often but I shall seek out one of these next time I’m there. I enjoy a cup of coffee but I’m not that well educated about it. Maybe a cup of the proper stuff will help?! At the very least I can enjoy it and know that it’s Aussie certified 🙂 #citytripping

    • 9th July 2016 / 11:19 AM

      Ha ha! Thanks for dropping by Claire. I will make it my mission to get you hooked 🙂

  11. 2nd November 2016 / 1:48 PM

    These are AWESOME – I’m in London for a week next week and will definitely check these out!

    • 2nd November 2016 / 1:57 PM

      Thanks Mandy! We cannot have you being decaffeinated!

  12. 5th November 2016 / 8:47 PM

    Thanks for this Katy. I will bookmark it for next time I’m in London.

    • 6th November 2016 / 2:07 PM

      Glad you find it useful. We coffee lovers need to stand together 🙂

  13. 29th December 2016 / 6:20 PM

    Great list! You must get down to Bermondsey Street near London Bridge. It’s a hidden gem and the coffee culture is awesome. Fuckoffee is really cool, has a bitcoin machine, a lot of personality and great coffee. Hej is my fave- amazing coffee and good vibe. There is also a small one called watch house which has tasty coffee but at a slightly steeper price.

    • 31st December 2016 / 10:11 AM

      Thanks Jen! I thought I had included Fuckoffee actually.. hmmm I think it’s in my galleries post. We both have excellent taste in cafes. Cheers to that and thanks for stopping by

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