London coffee guide: Where to find great coffee in London

great coffee in London

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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.

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.

London coffee guide 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. It’s the best in London by my latest reckoning and my favourite Kings Cross coffee shop.

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.

london coffee guide

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. I think it’s the best coffee shop in Soho.

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 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.

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, it was one of the first Australian style coffee shops in London.

Covent Garden

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.

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. Covent Garden coffee shops don’t get better than this.

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 – 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.

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 are 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.

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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

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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 – hello Copenhagen and Amsterdam, not to mention my beloved Italy.

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

[wc_testimonial by=”” url=”” position=”left”]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

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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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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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MummyTravels

31 thoughts on “London coffee guide: Where to find great coffee in London

  1. Clare Thomson says:

    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.

  2. Ruth says:

    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.

    • Katy says:

      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!

  3. Lolo says:

    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

  4. tots2travel says:

    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

    • Katy says:

      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!

  5. Willie Murphy says:

    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….

  6. Deb Che says:

    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

  7. Cathy (MummyTravels) says:

    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

    • Katy says:

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

  8. Elizabeth (Wander Mum) says:

    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

    • Katy says:

      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 🙂

    • Katy says:

      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

  9. Claire at Tin Box Traveller says:

    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

  10. Jen says:

    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.

    • Katy says:

      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

  11. Will Hanran says:

    Hey Ketty,

    Thanks for this info. I am going to visit London after 2 months for my business meeting. I’ll definitely try to visit this place. Thanks once again Ketty!

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