I'm no fan of malls, but they're good now and then - especially during torrential downpour or on a cold winter day. It's next to impossible to escape the endless hustle and bustle of Westfield Stratford, but tucked into the corner of the Great Eastern Market you can find Grind Coffee. Plush leather seats, warm lighting and open concept dining can be found in this welcome retreat from the insanity of this shopping metropolis. Highly experienced baristas work here; Grind even offers barista courses for all coffee geeks out there.
The first time I visited Grind they hadn't yet started serving their own roast. That has since changed and the quality is indeed noticeable. The baristas here use a La Marzocco Strada MP with 3M Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration. I've had flat whites and cappuccinos there served with their own Caveman House Blend beans. Good thing I was out of coffee at the time - I was so impressed with this blend that I bought some for my french press. Unlike many cafes, Grind is only happy to grind the beans for whatever method.
From their website: "Our blend is prominently South and Central American with slight hint of Indonesia. We make sure that our beans are as fresh as they can be when they end up in our grinders. They are roasted in small batches three times a week." Nothing to complain about, in other words.
They've got a scrumptious bakery section too. The croissants are not too dry, not too heavy (I had a ham and cheese croissant for lunch). Extremely decadent chocolate brownies (I had to get half to go). Haven't tried the focaccia yet but they have a decent variety. All bread is baked fresh by the Flour Station.
Another bonus this place has going for it is the merchandise section. Something that hasn't really caught on in the UK (unlike in Canada or the US) is the use of travel mugs. It's nice to see Grind advocate the selling of travel mugs in order to reduce waste.