From the independent roasters to the bespoke barista training academies, the bustling artisan coffee scene in London is continuously expanding. It’s difficult to write such a short guide and narrow down the options to this one small list (there are at least five books that I’ve come across solely dedicated to coffee in London!) but I’ll do my best. Below are five of my favorite spots to get your caffeine fix in London.
1. Monmouth Coffee Company
Monmouth Coffee Company is like the mothership of specialty coffee in London. They first opened in 1978 in Covent Garden (where they still have their small cafe) and roasted their beans in the cramped basement for 30 years. Since then, they have moved their roasting operation to Bermondsey, where they have a tasting room open on Saturdays from 9am to 1:30pm. They have an additional location at the Borough Market, as well. Monmouth has a wide variety of single origin beans with natural process or standard roasting options. One of my favorite things about Monmouth is that they make pour over samples for you to taste before purchasing beans.
Covent Garden – open Monday to Saturday (closed Sunday), 8-6.30pm 27 Monmouth Street
London WC2H 9EU
The Borough – open Monday to Saturday (closed Sunday), 7:30-6.00pm 2 Park Street
London SE1 9AB
Bermondsey – Saturdays only, 9-1.30pm Unit 4 Discovery Estate
London SE16 4RA
The best flat white I’ve had so far in London was at Kaffeine. However, they also boast the best cortado outside of Spain. The owners were inspired by the coffee culture in New Zealand and Australia. They have two locations, one in Soho and another in Fitzrovia. Both options have a well-trained staff who are meticulous about making coffee. They even have their own barista school. Good vibes, great coffee.
Soho – Monday to Friday 7:30am-6.00pm; Sat 8.30am-6.00pm; Sun 9-5.00pm 15 Eastcastle Street
London W1T 3AY
Fitzgrovia – Monday to Friday 7:30am-6.00pm; Sat. 8.30-6pm, Sun 9-5.00pm 66 Great Titchfield Street
London W1W 7QJ
3. Workshop Coffee
Worskshop Coffee is another independent roaster with five different locations, each with a different feel. They have a great relationship with the farmers and exporters of their beans. Most of their coffee is from Africa and parts of Central and South America. They offer espresso drinks as well as pour overs.
Several locations, open 7 days a week at week at varying times
Prufrock is a mecca of everything coffee from their carefully sourced beans and artisan caffeinated drinks to their coffee gear and accoutrements. They do not roast their own beans in house, but do have a curated selection that changes with the seasons. The owners are passionate about what they do and it doesn’t go unnoticed. They have a training center that offers programs and courses such as a home barista class, introduction to latte art, private barista coffee training and general coffee practice sessions. They also have options for organic, locally sourced food at their cafe.
Prufrock – Monday to Friday, 7:30-6pm; weekends 10am-5pm 23-25 Leather Lane London EC1N 7TE
5. Curators Coffee Gallery
Curators Coffee Gallery prides themselves on serving “the best” coffee using the best equipment. As their name suggests, they carefully source their coffee and espresso beans based on what’s in season. They also serve seasonal food from local suppliers—fresh pastries, avocado toast, vegetable side dishes, inventive salads, breakfast options and such. They have a cafe in Fitzrovia and a concession stand near the Leadenhall Market.
Curators Coffee Gallery – Monday to Friday, 7.30–6pm; Sat/Sun, 9– 5:30pm 51 Margaret Street Marylebone London W1W 8SG
Curators Coffee Studio – Monday to Friday, 7.30-5.30pm (closed Sat/Sun) 9A Cullum Street London EC3M 7JJ
photos: Mary Bell, Hugo Sousa