When I first moved to London ten years ago, London’s coffee scene did nothing to impress this self-confessed coffee snob from the coffee-mecca of Melbourne. There were a handful specialty coffee haunts scattered across London such as Flat White in Soho, but you had to be in the know to track down your quality caffeine fix.
Back then, if you happened to discover the rare and precious gem of a quality coffee purveyor, you’d find it jam packed wall to wall with antipodeans such as myself. We’d flock there to get the kind of caffeine buzz that only the best baristas, using the best roasted beans, can brew up.
Nowadays, thanks in part to the antipodean influence as well as the invention of the hipster, London’s coffee scene is thriving. I’m in a constant state of caffeine-induced jittery paranoia, which is the tell-tale sign that I’m getting decent coffee on a regular basis. It’s a small price to pay.
So, visitors and locals alike, no longer do you need to pin down the closest Kiwi or Aussie expat to interrogate them for their coffee recommendations. The choices are plentiful and widespread. And after extensive research, trial, error, caffeine-paranoia and sleepless nights, I share with you my top tips for the best of the best in London:
Soho is awash with quality coffee. My personal faves, based on the quality of the coffee as well as atmos are:
Soho Bikes is a bike workshop, but so much more. At the front of the shop is a very chilled cafe, serving up consistently great coffee with zero pretension. For me, the quality of the “people watching bench” out the front is often indicative of the quality of the coffee inside, and Soho Bikes has one of the best. My favourite spot for overall coffee experience.
Soho Bikes: 26 Berwick St, Soho, London W1F 8RG
Anyone who follows my Instagram (@suzannedelahunty) will be familiar with my #fridayflatwhite. It’s where I snap my Friday flat white in my sartorial splendour du jour and post it on Insta. I generally take it at Soho Grind, where the baristas are cool, the coffee excellent, and the downstairs turns into a speakeasy of an evening (get your espresso martini here, and the caffeine-fuelled good times continue).
Soho Grind: 19 Beak St, Carnaby, London W1F 9RP
department of coffee and social affairs – sherwood street
For coffee on the run, make a pitstop at the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs on Sherwood Street. There is not much seating here at all, but its glossy green interior, efficient service and quality brews are the perfect antidote when you’re running late but need a fix.
Department of Coffee and Social Affairs: 15 Sherwood St, Soho, London W1F 7ED
Fernandez and wells – denmark street
Quality coffee with a Spanish touch. Its the place to take your time over your latte and enjoy the mediterranean atmos.
Fernandez & Wells: 1-3 Denmark St, London WC2H 8LP
I occasionally venture outside of the Soho bubble to experience life in other neighbourhoods. Not too far away, neighbouring Covent Garden is usually my first coffee pitstop…
One of the original and still best is Monmouth Coffee. It’s still got it, and “it” is decent coffee and a great people-watching bench out the front. The perfect place to position yourself on a sunny afternoon.
Monmouth Coffee: 27 Monmouth St, London WC2H 9EU
Beautifully decorated in muted tones of teal, salmon and dusty blues, Workshop Coffee in Fitzrovia is one of the most aesthetically pleasing places to throw back a flatty or two. Fortunately, the coffee here is exceptional. Kudos to the skilled baristas who make it (and make my day as a result).
Workshop Coffee: 80A Mortimer Street, London W1W 7FE
London’s design district would not function without a steady supply of quality coffee. My top reccies are:
caravan exmouth market
Not only does Caravan do a mean coffee, but you can also partake in the kind of antipodean brunch fare that will conjure up memories of your last visit to Melbourne. Treat yourself.
Caravan: 11-13 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4QD
Light and airy interior, relaxed atmos and decent brunch menu. What’s not to love about Prufrock Coffee?
Prufrock Coffee: 23-25 Leather Ln, London EC1N 7TE
East London – it’s where hipsters were invented. It is also an area of London that is no stranger to well-brewed coffee. With a lot of choices, I have to identify one as my favourite though:
Run by Kiwis, Embassy East is a top spot for whiling away a morning over a properly made coffee. It’s a chilled little neighbourhood haunt, frequented by locals, with a solid brunch/lunch menu.
Embassy East: 285 Hoxton St, London N1 5JX
Any other recommendations? See you in the comments below!