If you’ve been in London long enough, you start to hear the same big brand names in coffee. But over the years a pocket of specialty brewers have come to the forefront of the London java scene and begun a real craze for fresh, full flavours from around the world. These days, shops toil over roasting their own beans and baristas see latte designs as an art form. You can even enrol in café-hosted brewing classes and learn how to mix the perfect cappuccino, if you haven’t already got a handy machine to do it for you.
As ever, when it comes to coffee in London, you’ve got a lot of choice, especially among top specialty brewers. And most of them boast their own shop-specific blends, no two cups across cafés are the exact same. The next question is, where to begin? To make things a little easier, we’ve done the sifting for you, scoping out great brews and the best places to drink them.
This café is an easy favourite because of their wide selection of brews, whose beans come from around the world and are constantly changing, even showcasing guest roasters from the UK on weekends. They even shape their cup sizes to fit the flavours, ensuring nothing is too watered down or concentrated. The staff here are experts, so make sure that if something you find inspires a question, ask away.
Tucked away in the massive maze that is Brixton Market, Federation Coffee is a stall whose creamy lattes are the stuff of dreams, made with beans from the local Campbell & Syme. Like anything in the market, there’s limited seating and you’ll probably find a decent-sized queue during peak coffee hours, but that first sip will make everything worth it.
Another huge player in the local specialty coffee scene, Monmouth has made its name with coffee beans from around the world that are roasted at the café’s own facilities right here in London. As seating is limited and demand of those full-bodied brews is high, grabbing a takeaway coffee here is usually best. If you’re lucky you can grab the bench out front that is the ultimate place to enjoy a drink and watch the world go by.
If you’re looking for a low-key atmosphere to enjoy your coffee in, Prufrock is your place. Here, you’ll find a nice open space with ample seating that draws Londoners on their laptops. Prufrock also doubles as a barista training school whose classes include a latte art workshop, so you know the quality of your brew will be top notch and beautifully-presented.
A little off the beaten path, Brickwood has caught our attention not only because of its amazing blends but because of its cosy neighbourhood feel and incredible brunch spread. It has its own unique Brickwood brew by Caravan Coffee in Kings Cross called the "Market Blend," whose taste is uniquely chocolatey with fruit finishes. Hot drinks here pair wonderfully with Brickwood's spin on the classic full English or fluffy toast topped with smashed avocado.
What is your favourite coffee establishment in London?
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