Some people say you can’t get a decent coffee in London. To them, I shake my head and ask, “when was the last time you were there?” The coffee culture of London has changed dramatically in the last five years, or so. And I may be biased by saying so, but you have Australians and New Zealanders to thank for that (I am a bit of both).
These days you don’t have to travel far to get yourself a decent drop. You may have to search a little, but they are becoming easier to find. If you just take a few more minutes to hold onto your caffeine urge, walk straight past the stock-standard coffee houses of Nero or Pret A Manger, then you will be surprised what lurks down the next alleyway.
Here is a list to get you started.
The list is ever evolving and growing – just like the coffee culture in London.
Shoreditch Grind – A recording studio and espresso bar rolled into one. Could it be any cooler? One of the definite cool-kids-on-the-block and now not just one the one block, as Shoreditch Grind’s ‘Grind’ brand has expanded to nearly every corner of the city: Bond Grind, Piccadilly Grind, Soho Grind… Situated at the top of Old Street tube stop, you can’t miss it. And if it’s late in the day, why not swap your coffee for a cocktail; they’re equally as good.
Google the Grind and find one close by…and get movin’
213 Old Street, EC1; shoreditchgrind.com
Ozone Coffee Roasters – You would be forgiven for forgetting where you were as soon as you walk through the doors: London, New York, Europe…?
The industrial layout of counter seating and booths could transport you anywhere. Owned and run by a New Zealand couple (Taranaki to be exact), they do everything from breakfast to afternoon delights. The eggs benedict on bubble and squeak cakes are hard to pass up; second in line was the kedgeree.
The food is classic but done well. And the coffee… you can’t fault; they also roast their own beans on site. There’s plenty of seating available but weekend brunch is extremely popular: get in early.
11 Leonard Street, EC2; ozonecoffee.co.uk
Nude Espresso – So you’ve finished trawling through the Spitalfields Markets and the caffeine sweats have started. Fear not, Nude is close by. This small buzzing cafe will give you a big bear hug as you enter. The friendly staff (mostly Australian and New Zealanders… no surprises there… again) provides fast and efficient service. A selection of hot meals are available along with your trusty sweet treats to accompany your coffee.
26 Hanbury Street, E1 (new retail roaster at no 25 and also a branch in Soho); nudeespresso.com
Allpress – Take a stroll down the cobbles streets in the heart of Shoreditch – Redchurch Street – and you’ll come across another local coffee institution. As you enter this corner cafe you’re greeted with the grind and churn of freshly roasted beans. The space is filled with a mix of high tables, counter seating and low tables.
A variety of beans are offered and the staff, knowledgeable in their trade, will be able to find the perfect fit for you. Not the place to go if you’re after a hearty lunch but their sweet offerings are the perfect accompaniment to a morning / afternoon tea date.
58 Red church Street, E2; allpressespresso.com
Fresh salads, sandwiches and treats are the meals de jour at Kaffeine. Oh, and good coffee. With limited seating I would avoid Kaffeine during lunch times, unless you don’t mind sitting on someone’s lap. A single wooden bench is positioned outside and bench seating inside facing the glass. The perfect pit stop for people watching and a pick me up.
66 Great Titchfield Street, W1W; kaffeine.co.uk
One of the original movers-and-shakers of the change to the coffee culture in London, Flat White is still going strong. A traditional hole-in-the-wall cafe; simple food offerings executed well. If you’re in the heart of Soho, set your GPS to Flat White and take in the hustle’n’bustle action of busy street of Berwick Street.
17 Berwick Street, W1F (also sister Milk Bar, 3 Bateman Street, W1D); flatwhitecafe.com
Australians love brunch, and if you’re after a good ol’ traditional Australian brunch, Lantana is the place to be. The classics are on offer: corn fritters, smashed avocado with poached eggs. And the coffee, no question about it, you’ll be satisfied.
13 Charlotte Place, W1T; lantanacafe.co.uk
Where is your favourite coffee shop in London?
Planning a trip to London? Check out Kaleidoscopic Travel, your go-to travel booking website.