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Published October 9th 2012
Discover London's world-class coffee scene
Top 10 London Coffee Shops Countries like Australia and New Zealand have traditionally had stronger coffee culture than England, where a "cuppa" tea, has long been the queen, the king, and the lubricant of the national social atmosphere. Upon arrival, expats from these countries have been confronted with two feelings: disappointment in London's coffee and nostalgia for a good flat white.
Coffee lovers, rejoice! London's coffee landscape has undergone a revolution over the past 5 years.The change started at home in the UK, with the talent of two World Barista Champions James Hoffmann (2007) and Gwilym Davies (2009) -both British- who pioneered world-class coffee making in London.
This cradle of first-rate coffee scene attracted several Antipodean baristas who saw the opportunity in London to grow the landscape into something similar to that in Australia and New Zealand. The British capital's incipient coffee scenario was the perfect breeding ground for perfectionism and experimentation with caffeinated drinks, and, as a result, today the city is the avant-garde capital of coffees par excellence. Indeed, some of the best cafés at an international level are located in the city of London. You just need to know where to find them…
Prufrock Coffee The cup of coffee from this shop is supreme: rich coffee flavour, smoothly milky and a delicious taste as a whole. The brand was founded by Gwilym Davies. After winning the competition, Davies –British- disappeared from the public scene and took an espresso trolley into the menswear boutique Present. There he made exquisite coffee drinks without letting the press know where he was. Today, the original coffee shop still stands at Present, located in 140 Shoreditch high Street E1. The success of this unique idea led to the opening of a bigger coffee shop, "Prufrock Coffee Shop" in 23 Leather Lane, EC1. The brand also offers Barista Training to initiate professional people with an urge to make high quality coffee.
The coffee I tried was in Prufrock at Present. The manager of Prufrock at Present, Jessie Fay –originally from Sydney-, was the one who prepared it. A blissful piece of heaven - probably the best coffee drink I have ever tried. Some customers confessed they travel from far away just to have one of the wonderful drinks offered.
The coffee beans used are from Square Mile Coffee Roaster
The coffee beans used are from Square Mile, which has been voted the best coffee brand in the UK. Square Mile Coffee Roasters is an artisan roaster whose co-owner is World Barista Champion James Hoffmann. Square Mile Coffee Roasters supplies most of the shops listed in this artcile.
Prufrock at Present: 140 Shoreditch High Street, E1 Prufrock Coffee Shop – 23 Leather Lane, EC1
This fascinating coffee shop is the ideal meeting place for friends or people who love to read their newspaper over some exquisite coffee with exotic and delicious treats. Kaffeine's owners and baristas –originally from Australia and New Zealand- have brought from Down Under the best coffee-making skills plus a variety of divine cakes and pastries. The assortment of cakes is probably one of the best in London, perfect for a Swedish Fika. A sponge cake from New Zealand called Friand was a revealing experience in every delightful bite, bursting with a delicate taste of coconut and almond.
The specialty of the place is Flat White - £2.50-, but there are many options of coffees that are the perfect match to the treats offered. The coffee beans are also from Square Mile; in this case, it was a blend of coffee beans from 3 countries: Guatemala, Kenya and El Salvador.
There is a large range of delicious Antipodean cakes offered at the coffee shop
Tapped and Packed (n.114)
For the London-based expats from the USA, Tapped and Packed is good news. With a reason "americano" or American coffee is prepared by adding hot water to an espresso. And it is no surprise that many Americans like their drink black with no milk to taste the flavour of the coffee in its entirety.
Tapped and Packed or 114 offers one of the best coffees in the city and its specialty is Filter Coffee from Kenya. The flavour is intense: a combination of red wine, plums and white grape. Undeniably, the quality of the coffee ingredients in this place is superb. The main focus is the flavour of the coffee per se, which will delight the most demanding palates.
A coffee cake and a filter coffee from Kenya at 114 coffee shop
The menu states: "Our ambition is to inspire a new coffee drinking culture, where the quality of ingredients rule and the craft of the barista is recognised". The café also offers a good range of savoury meals, and cakes. I tried the coffee cake, which I recommend to anyone who visits the place.
The café has an interesting and fun design with a bicycle on the top of the door frame while a cut tree stump stands in the middle of the square-shaped establishment. The large glass windows give the place a sense of amplitude plus an amazing view.
114 Tottenham Rd, W1
Notes Music & Coffee
This indie shop promises a magical experience in its name "Notes". Cafés with books is not a novel ideal, but with music it sounds like fresh and fun invention. The drink I tried was a Flat White. Granted! It takes great skill to make the design with the milk and the coffee on top, which is either my favourite or in my top 2 -refer to picture at the top of the page. I tried the coffee with a delicious friand, which was a fantastic combination.
Located near Leicester Square (31 St Martin's Lane, WC2)
Notes follows the trail of high quality coffee tradition, with the finest beans from a seasonal blend of Square Mile Coffee Roaster.
The place is located in a vibrant place, Covent Garden, where jazz nights promise to enchant bohemian coffee experiences. If anyone wants to attend a coffee event, the head barista Fabio will be running a range of events to teach attendees to make great coffee at home. These include Home Brewing Masterclass (including homebrewing kit) for 35 pounds on October 20th from 10am to 1pm and on November 24th from 10am to 1pm. For those who like combining caffeine with alcohol, the Irish Coffee Class costs 25 pounds and it runs on October 24th at 7.30pm and on November 15th also at 7.30pm. To book a class, go online at notes-uk.co.uk or in store.
31 St Martin's Lane, WC2
36 Wellington Street, WC2
This coffee shop is widely known for its delightful coffee and its exciting location in the heart of Soho. Flat White is one of the most famous Antipodean coffee shops in London and for long it has been a meeting point for Australians, New Zealanders and everyone who enjoys a fantastic artisan coffee from Down Under.
Workshop Workshop used to be called St Ali, which came to London from Melbourne. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, break, second-breakfast, elevenses… this place has it all. The café offers customers to feel back in Oz, given its amazing coffee, delicious Australian food and great spaciousness.
Workshop started in London as the Melbourne import St Ali
Following the Antipodean tradition, the place has its own coffee roaster to bring awesome artisan caffeinated drinks to the British capital. Any type of coffee here is good: espresso, filter coffee, cappuccinos and lattes. A great ambience, awesome drinks and food - you simply have to go.
The Espresso Room
If you are looking for an espresso with an intense and rich flavour, The Espresso Room is the place to go. This establishment is a unique coffee bar located in Bloomsbury. The coffee used is Square Mile Espresso and customers can also enjoy teas, cakes and sandwiches. To stay in or to go, one espresso from this place revitalise customers while awakening and pleasing their senses.
31-35 Great Ormond Street, WC1
07760 714 883
Headed by New Zealander Chef Miles Kirby, this spacious restaurant offers a myriad of unique dishes. I tried a small plate of Grits, girolles, pecorino and truffle oil for 6.50, which had a novel and exquisite taste. Caravan has its own roaster and you can get a world-class Flat White for 2.60. Located near King's Cross Station, Caravan is the ideal place to eat and enjoy coffee with family and friends.
A flat white and a Kiwi dish called made of grits, girolles, pecorino and truffle oil
N11-13 exmouth market London EC1R 4QD
If you go to Italy, buy the cheapest coffee drink you find for there is no bad coffee in Italy. Away from the crazy crowdedness of London, there is an Italian coffee shop in Nothing Hill called Melograno Alimentari. Tasty coffee drinks and pleasing treats. You can almost hear the hoarse voice with an Italian accent from The Godfather saying "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli" when you step into the store. These delicious, creamy Italian pastries called "cannoli" in Melograno are simply to die-for. The mounth-watering coffee is also from Square Mile Coffee Roasters. A wise choice!
A rustic Italian decoration gives the place an exotic ambience that accompanies Mediterranean savoury meals and a selection of wines. So far, there is only one Melograno Alimentary in London, but it looks promising and surely it will expand soon.
Originally from Auckland, Allpress Espresso is a popular café in Australia and New Zealand. This Antipodean coffee shop has recently opened a coffee shop in Shoreditch where they roast their own beans. The ingredients come from different places with good coffee beans: Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Papua New Guinea, plus a Redchurch blend. The place offers a variety of delicious treats, out of which, the cream cake is the reigning treat.
Allpress Espresso, an Antipodean café with its own coffee roaster
Love in a Cup: Espresso Bar
This Australian coffee shop did not make it to the countdown, but I added it because the drink was good and the service was goodand quick. For any London-based Aussie who walks around the East side, near Adgate East Underground Station, there is a place where you can pop in and get a coffee drink made like they do it back at home.
15 Osborn St, London, E1 6TD
What is a Flat White? (from Flat White Café webpage) Flat whitenoun/Austral. Flaat whyette /NZ flet wyte/ 1 An antipodean style coffee which is served as a strong shot of espresso served in a small cup with textured milk; a damn good strong coffee. Flattienoun. Colloq. Flat white; I'm gonna smash back a couple of flatties bro /NZ/ mate / Austral./