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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.
London coffee prices are shockingly high. You can pay as much as £4 for a latte in this town. So it had better be a good one.
Therefore, 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.
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.
London coffee guide by location
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. It’s the best in London by my latest reckoning and my favourite Kings Cross coffee shop.
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.
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. I think it’s the best coffee shop in Soho.
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.
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 shopping 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.
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, it was one of the first Australian style coffee shops in London.
Covent Garden Grind
42 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London. Open from 7.30am weekdays, 9am on weekends. Wifi – Yes
Tucked down a laneway as you walk toward The Strand, the Grind group’s Covent Garden branch is a great place to stop and recharge before resuming shopping and site seeing activities.
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. Covent Garden coffee shops don’t get better than this.
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.
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 – but their London Bridge coffee shop is my favourite.
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.
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 are situated perfectly for a break mid shopping spree in hip Shoreditch.
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 on coffee in London
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 recommended coffee 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) – found on every corner – 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
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 update this list regularly 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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