Top 10 Coffee Shops in London

top 10 coffee shops

Antipodean know-how and joviality invigorate the landscape for the top 10 coffee shops in London. Baristas from New Zealand and Australia transform waves of rich espresso and smoothly textured steamed milk into lattes so velvety you can barely see a bubble. Two Kiwi imports, Ozone Coffee and Allpress Espresso, have recently opened roasteries and coffee shops in London.

Yet it’s home-grown talent that represents the cream of the crema: Two of the last four World Barista Champions are British and work in London: 2007 winner James Hoffmann is co-owner of Square Mile Coffee Roasters, an artisan roaster supplying beans to half of the top 10 London coffee shops. 2009 champion Gwilym Davies co-operates the Prufrock Coffee Shop on Leather Lane, now the best coffee shop in London, as well as the “Prufrock” coffee trolley he and partner Jeremy Challender rolled into the menswear boutique Present. And Monmouth Coffee maintains world-class standards for sourcing, roasting and brewing beans while supporting small-batch indie roasters just getting into the act.

top 10 coffee shopsWhen this list was first posted in April 2009 I cautioned that the British capital wouldn’t be a coffee capital until the taste for excessively milky coffees receded and the best coffee shops looked beyond espresso to filter coffees. Those conditions have been met. In the months ahead we can expect to see more and more London coffee shops and even restaurants following the example of wonderful Caravan and roasting their own beans. More roasters and with it, a  greater diversity of roasting styles, can only benefit an already thriving coffee scene.

London’s top 10 coffee shops (see map) nurture a close-knit community of cafenatics who circulate around East London and the West End and cheer on each other. That fluidity can extend to the baristas. Their restlessness speeds staff turnover, making it problematic to position any one coffee shop atop another on this top 10 list. Barista skills are a main consideration in choosing the top 10, ahead of shop atmosphere and behind only coffee quality and consistency. To qualify as a coffee shop, coffee must be its primary focus. This eliminates from consideration cafés where food takes priority over coffee, however good their coffee service may be.

The top 10 coffee shops in London

1. Prufrock Coffee

top 10 coffee shopsThe first bricks-and-mortar coffee shop operated by Gwilym Davies. Previously the 2009 World Barista Champion was pulling shots at two street carts and, more recently, an espresso trolley rolled into the menswear boutique Present. That trolley remains, but at the Prufrock coffee shop there is room to follow the action drip by drip at the brew bar or sit at tables and chat, read, work or pretend to work as Davies, partner Jeremy Challender and their accomplished baristas fuss over the details, small and smaller, that go into producing a truly great coffee with featured and seasonal beans from Square Mile. The lower level is home to the London Barista Resource & Training school, which may be reserved for barista training, cafe consultancy and hen nights.

Prufrock Coffee Shop – 23 Leather Lane, EC1
Prufrock at Present – 140 Shoreditch High Street, E1

 

2. Notes Music & Coffee

top 10 coffee shopsNotes does not compel you to compare espressos brewed from the beans of the Square Mile and world-class guest roasters. You’re not required to analyse the results of pressure profiling enabled by its La Marzocco Strada espresso machine. You’re not forced to sit at its brew bar, an homage to the tasting counter at the May-July 2010 pop-up Penny University, and try three filter coffees meticulously brewed by the syphonV60 and drip pot (woodneck) methods. You don’t have to shop for CDs and DVDs, or sit comfortably for hours listening to them. You don’t even have to tie your visit to cultural attractions around nearby Trafalgar and Leicester Squares and, with the beautiful new location, Covent Garden. All you need to do is go.

31 St Martin’s Lane, WC2
36 Wellington Street, WC2

 

3. Monmouth Coffee

pour-through bar at Monmouth CoffeeThe great pioneer of pour-over filter coffee is so central to the Convent Garden area it almost seems as if the sundial pillar at Seven Dials is points north down the street that lent the coffee shop its name. Its velvety lattes are made with organic Jersey milk from Jeff Bowles in Somerset, making it one of the few coffee shops anywhere that takes its milk as seriously as its coffee. The best and maybe also the worst that can be said about London’s long-running, highest-quality roaster is that it hasn’t been influenced much by recent trends. Snug tables hidden in the rear must often be shared, when two knees can already seem two too many. The larger Monmouth outside Borough Market, with its pour-through cone filter bar, communal table and improvisational street theatre (otherwise known as a queue), is a must stop before, after and midway through visits to the food market. Monmouth’s Saturday annex has moved further east along the Bermondsey rail arches from its Maltby Street roastery to Spa Terminus.

Monmouth Covent Garden – 26 Monmouth Street, WC2
Monmouth Borough Market – 2 Park Street, SE1
Monmouth Bermondsey – 148 Spa Road, SE16

 

4. Milk Bar/Flat White

top 10 coffee shopsMilk Bar may share the same coffee and New Zealand lineage as Flat White, its older Soho sibling, but that doesn’t stop its devotees from insisting the spinoff is superior to – and cooler than – the original. While I can fault neither the espresso drinks nor the top baristas at either shop I fully understand such loyalties. Personally I’d rather the Milk Bar’s Matt not know when I am at Flat White, just as I’d prefer Flat White’s Cameron be kept in the dark about my visits to Milk Bar. Rest assured, at both shops the outstanding macchiato is made from the same custom espresso blend by roaster Square Mile, marked with the same three-swirl signature and delivered with the same Antipodean good cheer.

Milk Bar – 3 Bateman Street, W1

Flat White – 17 Berwick Street, W1

 

5. Tapped & Packed

top 10 coffee shopsRathbone Place, LondonIdentified only by the “No. 26″ and “No. 114″ on its shopfronts, Tapped & Packed fills its grinders with two custom espresso blends from the West Midlands roaster Has Bean, a more nuanced one for espressos and americanos and a punchier one to cut through the milk in flat whites and lattes. Filter coffee, though less prominent than it the past, is brewed with great, drip-by-drip care. The best option of may relate to the length and quality of your coffee break: T&P’s finicky baristas are fine with quickies, sending you away with a takeaway cup inside a minute, yet encourage you to overstay your welcome at inviting tables, quiet corners and, at No. 114, glorious picture windows.

26 Rathbone Place, W1
114 Tottenham Court Rd, W1 

 

6. Nude Espresso

top 10 coffee shopsNude was launched as a calming retreat from the outrageousness – and outrageously bad coffee – of Spitalfields and Brick Lane. Its new location, tucked into a quiet corner of leafy Soho Square, provides sanctuary from the insanity – and insanely bad coffee – of Oxford Street. The beans are roasted at Nude’s Brick Lane roastery, while the warm hospitality and milk-texturing techniques are exported from New Zealand and Australia. If you want the naked truth, Nude’s standing offer of a complimentary coffee with every 250-gram bag of coffee beans purchased is a no-brainer from both directions: If you’re buying beans you might as well have a coffee. If you’re having a coffee you might as well buy some beans.

Nude Espresso Spitalfields, 26 Hanbury Street, E1
Nude Espresso Soho, 19 Soho Square, W1

7. Workshop Coffee

top 10 coffee shopsWorkshop may have started life in London as the Melboune import ST ALi, both in name and inspiration, but its coffee beans are transformed from green to brown in a roaster positioned some 10 metres behind the handsome Slayer espresso machine that fronts this brick-walled Clerkenwell duplex. With a choice ringside seat you can hear the roaster with one ear and the espresso machine with the other. The very good quality of the espresso drinks and filter coffees is on an upward trajectory, both here and at the satellite coffee bar formerly known as Sensory Lab in Marylebone, just north of the Oxford  Street department stores.

27 Clerkenwell Road, EC1
75 Wigmore Street, W1U

 

8. Dose Espresso

top 10 coffee shops Owner/barista James Phillips has moved his curvy red La Marzocco FB-80 espresso machine one door down on Long Lane into larger quarters split diagonally in a sharp design by Velorose. But it is the increase from 18 to 25 square metres that is most impressive to regulars thrilled to have a place to actually sit with coffees meticulously prepared with Square Mile beans. So will Phillips now change the name of his coffee shop to Doubledose? “Um”, he replies, “no”.

70 Long Lane, EC1

 

9. The Espresso Room

the espresso roomThe overworked perfectionist behind this truly indie coffee shop offers proof you don’t need to have Antipodean ancestry to be an unflappably affable London barista. We’ll ignore the fact that British owner/operator Ben Townsend spent 8 years in Melbourne, acquiring Australian citizenship along the way. In his narrow shop, Ben fastidiously pulls every shot of Square Mile espresso as if it were lifesaving: Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital would be wise to prescribe 3 per day to their patients.

31-35 Great Ormond Street, WC1


10 Kaffeine

kaffeine coffee shopKaffeine charges £2.50 for a latte, which, given the high rents for office space in Fitzrovia, has to be regarded as one of the great values in London. It’s a great spot to take a kaffeinated meeting or respite, with Square Mile beans extracted from Synesso Cyncra espresso machine. No, caffeine is not spelled with a K in Australia and New Zealand, from whence the owners and baristas came.

66 Great Titchfield Street, W1


View Top 10 Coffee Shops in London in a larger map

About Daniel

Food critic and events leader Daniel Young is the "Young" behind young&foodish

Comments

  1. Manaboutworld says:

    Great post Daniel. Thanks so much for introducing me to Flat White, Dose and Taste of Bitter Love. Would be really useful to get their addresses attached to this article.

    I’d like to nominate Tom-Tom on Elizabeth Street. As far as I understand they roast their own beans, sourcing from a mix of the same estates as Monmouth (their Kenyan also comes from the great Gethumbwini Estate) and other places that they don’t share with Monmouth.

  2. rockinghorsef says:

    Also, Brick Lane Coffee source their own organic fairtrade beans from Papua New Guinea – you can buy a bag of beans in the shop too, they’re really good for a classy home brew.

  3. Dan says:

    @rockinghorsefiona Are the baristas at the relocated Brick Lane Coffee always so bored and sluggish or did I catch them at a pre-caffeine moment?

  4. pscobie says:

    Great article. Certainly given me a few more places to visit.

  5. oliver says:

    i cant believe you did not put LJ coffee on the list!! try it

  6. Dan says:

    I have tired LJ Coffee House (3 Winnett Street, Soho) and enjoyed its coffee. Its omission from the list illustrates how difficult it has become to crack the top 10.

  7. SAM says:

    Has anyone tried out the coffee from the coffee cartel based down on Chiswel Street near the Barbican……they are roasting their own and its definatly worth cheacking out……….

  8. Helen says:

    Great to see such a comprehensive list for the London coffee connoisseur… you’ve got most of favourites there and a few that are on my list to try

  9. James says:

    you’re gonna have to edit the Taylor St. Baristas post there mate- they’ve killed the Starbucks!

  10. Dan says:

    James – Can you lend me a hankerchief? I need to wipe away the tears. Thanks for the alert.

  11. Sarah Meehan says:

    Just stumbled on your site – Love it! Been reading through the coffee posts and have to agree with Oliver about LJ Coffee House – for me it goes beyond coffee. The atmosphere, staff, owner and the coffee make this my fav. place. Love the list though – will try the two places on your list I’ve not been to yet!

  12. Greedy Diva says:

    Great post. Foxcroft & Ginger (just down from Flat White in Soho) is now another one to add to the list (they handle the Monmouth beans well). I tried to sample the Scooterworks coffee, but the hopeless service and half dead cat walking around the room put me off.

  13. loulabelle says:

    Oohh! like minded people. I love great coffee! Usually use Illy and Monmouth but was recently recommended coffee from Colombian Coffee Trail. Tried La Marqueza a caramel tasting coffee. Deliiiicious…….. The best I’ve had and so good I didn’ even need to add milk or sugar – great for my diet!

  14. Dan says:

    greedydiva – Alarmed to hear about your experience at Scooterworks. I will stop by the coffee shop ASAP (and unannounced) to see if this reflects a severe decline or merely a bad day.

  15. Dan says:

    Greedy Diva – Would Scooterworks be listed among London’s top 10 coffee shops if judged solely on the quality of its coffees? Maybe not. But spurred by your comment I returned to Scooterworks this morning and was reminded why I like it so much. It’s someone’s retro fantasy of a roadside caffè you might find in the Italian countryside if its original owner was a hoarder or some Felliniesque visionary who anticipated the advent of ebay.it back in 1948. The barista smiled not once but twice as he literally pulled a very good espresso from the creaky old Faema lever machine and I suffered no allergic reaction to the three cats (half-dead or otherwise) in residence.

  16. alicejs says:

    Very pleased to see Kaffeine here without Lantana (latter is nice, but apart from slow-motion service and too-cool-for-school attitude at times, most importantly: coffee is often no longer being made properly!) – I LOVE the one-size only, properly strong coffees you get in Kaffeine. And you spell it with a K in Sweden.

  17. Kai says:

    Really looking forward to visiting some of these places – I love and need my coffee! May I add a personal favourite? Wild & Woods is a little wood-panelled gem, tucked out of the way on New Oxford Street. Great coffee, low prices and just a great place to while away hours reading. http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&rls=com.microsoft:en-US&q=Wild%20and%20Wood%20London%20coffee&aql=&oq=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl

  18. Hi there,

    Love the site! I’m contemplating whether I’m brave enough to venture solo to one of your Pizza Tuesday events. Nothing to do with you, more to do with my personality!

    Anyway, I have to second Kai’s suggestion. I love Wild & Wood. They use Monmouth coffee, I think their prices are really good, and Kit and Bozena are always nice and friendly. It’s a great place to just chill out. They don’t bother me even if I’ve been sitting down for the last half hour just reading, and when I do feel like chatting, they happily indulge me.

    I’ve brought a couple of friends here, and we all feel that it’s London’s version of Central Perk… without the clumsy waitresses!

  19. Sam Bessey says:

    Caffe Vergano surely belongs on this list too?!

  20. Dan says:

    Sam – Caffè Vergnano hard to beat if you’re in london and prefer classic italian espresso blends.

  21. Noel says:

    Hi Daniel,

    I have recently set up a coffee shop in Edinburgh. We have a good local roaster supplying our beans but I’m always on the look out for ways to improve, create something special, and keep my growing little tribe of regulars happy! Your post is very helpful in that it supplies the names of the Roasters supplying your top 10 locations. I have made contact with a couple of these guys this week and had a nice call from Union today. Hopefully I’ll be able to do some business with these guys. If you have any little tips on the key things which drove your choice in selecting the above Coffee Shops I would love to hear them.

  22. chris hayes says:

    Won’t disagree with any of your choices, but my favourite shop of any kind in London is the Camden Coffee Company on Delancey St, NW1. A coffee shop as they used to be, before the word barista entered our language and we enjoyed coffee for what it is – not for the putative ‘status’ it projects on us.

  23. Ich war erst einmal in London leider ohne Kaffee!
    Aber das nächste mal werde ich mir die Tipps zu Herzen nehmen!

    Danke,
    Simon

  24. Gastro1 says:

    Never understood why good coffee is concentrated in an area from the East End to Soho.

    Will we every get good coffee in Chiswick , Fulham ,Knightsbridge , Chelsea , Kensington or even Battersea and Clapham – I know for a fact that many of the people who consume in the above top 10 actually live West and South West London.

  25. Daniel Young says:

    High rents? Herd mentality maybe? Or just prophesies that become self-fulfilling.

  26. It’s more of an overambitious wheelbarrow than a shop, but I have *never* had a better coffee than the ones made by young Fabio over at Flat Cap Coffee Company in Strutton Ground Market.

    The only thing that kept me from losing my sanity after moving out of the Victoria area was that my new office is within easy walk of Monmouth, Vergnano, Lantana, Wild & Wood, Milk Bar, etc.

  27. Zain says:

    Dan, you have to try this place, best sandwhiches AND coffee in the city http://www.gracestpauls.com/ – tell phil (flat cap owner/barista) zain sent you! :)

  28. David Holmes says:

    There a really nice coffee inside a cloths shop in Old Street.
    It is called ‘Present’ and the coffee is being made by award winning baristas!
    http://www.gilka.co.uk/2010/12/29/present-a-mens-clothes-shop-with-an-amazing-coffee/

  29. Daniel Young says:

    David – I agree, Gwilym Davies’ coffee trolley inside Present, a menswear boutique on Shoreditch High Street (near Old Street), is fabulous. I mentioned it in the intro to this post and I also wrote about “Prufrock Coffee“, as it’s known, here and here.

  30. lewis carter says:

    I always make coffee for myself and i regularly to ROSIE & JAVA coffee merchant in Richmond-upon-Thames. You can visit their website for more information at rosieandjava.com

  31. Julie says:

    The Front Room in Stroud Green [ Finsbury Park] does a mean coffee & carrot cake . Reminiscent of a sixties hippie cafe it entices everyone. Patisserie Valerie Soho & Marylebone has cakes to die for.

  32. Graham@Newscorp says:

    I’ve recency come across a great new Cafe shop in Elephant & Castle, called Chatica. They make tasty empanadas – which is a South American pasty made from corn, meat & chicken. They use Colombian coffee beans for all their coffee’s. Only place in this area that serves flat white coffee.

    I think their website is http://www.lachatica.com

  33. Brian Rose says:

    As a Brooklynite whose comes to London every summer, I greatly enjoyed this list. Despite the coffee renaissance going on in NYC, I still think London is a bit ahead in terms of the quality of its baristas and some remarkable roasters.
    Though I spend my month in London living near Maida Vale, far from coffee nirvana of East London, I would like to recommend the wonderful coffee cart Indie Coffee, located on 50 Church Street in the unlikely venue of Church St. Market. Operated by Peter Duggam and serving (at least they were last summer) Square Mile’s seasonal espresso roast, the cart is a little jewel in the barren coffee wastelands of West London.
    Though it may not qualify for your top ten (there’s no seating or drip coffee), I think it’s well worth visiting.

  34. Daniel Young says:

    Brian – Thanks for the tip. Give this native New Yorker a shout if you’re back in London this summer.

  35. Fi says:

    Ones you need to include:

    Morgan & Melrose, Primrose Hill
    Lantana, Fitzrovia
    Cocorino, Marylebone
    Fernandez & Wells, Soho

  36. Daniel Young says:

    Farah – Good suggestions, thanks. I know Lantana and F & W pretty well and love the fior di latte gelato at Cocorino. Must try Morga & Melrose. I’d ask you, however, to review the bold print – it’s the Top 10 (not 15 or 20) Coffee Shops – and the fine print:

    To qualify as a coffee shop, coffee must be its primary focus. This eliminates from consideration cafés where food takes priority over coffee, however good their coffee service may be.

  37. matija says:

    agree with Greedy Diva, Foxcroft & Ginger is a win.

  38. Nic Wise says:

    Definitly missed Department of Coffee and Social Affairs in Leather Lane. Can’t have them all, I guess.

    As for coffee in (south) west london, there are a few:

    Sacred in White City (only reason to go in there aside from Apple)
    Barossa on New King St, Parsons Green

    and I’m told Grind in Putney Bridge is good, but I’ve not managed to get there to try it yet.

    Now, if someone would open up a few more around Hammersmith…. please.

  39. Daniel Young says:

    Nic – I welcome your suggestions and discoveries. But as you note it is a top 10, not a top 20. Or 50.

  40. Leroy says:

    Great post. I disagree with Monmouth though as the quality of their shots are consistently poor (at least in Borough Market).

    They don’t seem to clean their equipment between shots, which is why their espresso tastes dirty and bitter. Next time pay attention to how often they use a cloth to clean their porta-filters. In fact see if you can even spot a cloth by the barista station.

    St. Ali are a good new addition to the scene.

  41. Ella says:

    coffee federation in brixton village is ausome , they roast there own coffee have amazing snacks and its in brixton market which i love

  42. Mimi L'Amour says:

    I love this list. I must say I am certainly not a connoisseur on coffee. However, I would like to wave my little flag and support my little old local coffee shop down the road: ‘Fix’ coffee on whitecross street. It is such a pleasant little retreat for me when I just want to get out and relax a bit. I am such a lazy-cat, and I just pop over on occassions to say that I got out of the house on weekends!

    Typical me rooting for the newby and the underdog in the list of all lists! must be because I have never understood, and most likely never will understand ranking lists hehe :)

    Here it is:

    http://www.fix-coffee.co.uk/

    161 Whitecross St
    Islington, Greater London EC1Y 8, UK

    anyone deciding to make their way down there give me a shout and I will try tagging along!

  43. Cecilia says:

    Grind Bar, lower richmond road… best flat whites ever. Look no further!!

  44. Matt says:

    Daniel – thanks for the article, I’ve now got a few new places to seek out and try. Have you been to Grace near St. Paul’s? It’s my ‘local’ and well worth a trip to see Phil (doesn’t roast his own but imports some lovely beans from Italy) and enjoy an amazing sausage roll with a morning cuppa joe. http://www.gracestpauls.com

  45. Daniel Young says:

    Matt – Thanks for the tip. I do not know Grace and will try to check it out as time allows.

  46. Lethers says:

    I agree with Cecilia. Grind Coffee Bar definitely has the best flat whites. Only Dose and Kaffeine come close. Grind puts Putney well and truly on the coffee map.

  47. antipodean says:

    Dalston been treated to new amazing coffee shops over the last year…
    Tina, We Salute You,
    Betty’s
    Mouse and De Lotz

  48. Sam Crocker says:

    Just came here to put forward my local favourite but looks like Mimi beat me to the punch! You guys definitely need to check out Fix coffee on Whitecross street before you run the next one of these. They make a mean flat white though I would also strongly recommend trying the Banana Frappe (with coffee in, sounds gross but it’s not) or their Vanilla Latte. Friendly staff, free internetz, and outstanding coffee. Definitely in my top 3 for LDN (including Monmouth for Quality and The Espresso Room for attention to detail).

    Thanks for pulling this together though! Definitely got some new shops to check out soon!

  49. Carly says:

    Gastro1 – have you tried Lola and Simon? It’s between Hammersmith and Chiswick.

  50. Mischa says:

    I totally agree with Brian Rose, Indie Coffee cart is great. I’m a fellow coffee lover living in West London. I’d recommend the Cortado, a Spanish style espresso topped up with just the right amount of milk. Also wanted to mention The roastery on Wandsworth Rd in the Battersea area. It’s usually teaming with prams (especially on the weekends), but the coffee there is always worth it. Finally, definitely agreed on Milkbar/Flat White, just wanted to add that they are the only cafe I know that serves Bonsoy, an excellent dairy alternative if you are vegan, lactose intolerant or prefer soy for whatever reason. You pay a nominal extra fee (can’t remember how much, but it’s worth it considering 1L costs around 3.99 from most health food shops).

  51. Jamie Kitson says:

    You should try Grace on Creed Lane near St Paul’s. They do excellent sausage rolls and brownies too.

  52. Max says:

    Too much hype and just mere write up rather than focus on what coffee shops do well what they do not. Buzz words galore: bad. The coffee scene very recently seems largely dominated by promotional work and cleverly enough David manages to promote himself.
    Personally I wish he would stick to “Now he leads the action as creator and host of event nights in London” and leave it to people to search and compare actual tasting notes among themselves

  53. Oliver Jones says:

    LJ Coffee House in Soho is my favourite. The individually produced filter coffee in your own personal little brewer are really great plus their single origin coffee changes frequently. You should check them out. End of Old Compton Street – behind the theatres…forgotten which street its on ;-}

  54. Mark Schaschke says:

    Completely agree with Prufrock, would put Lantana and Caravan in there too.

    Can’t wait to try St Ali :)

  55. Noor Mahmud says:

    I want to share a couple of the best coffee places in London, since you seem to possess a genuine interest in the java drink. I would highly recommend Cafe Oporto on 62 Golborne Road and the Coffee Plant on 180 Portobello Road. Cafe Oporto is a Portuguese cafe, so not only do you savour the rich and frothy taste of the coffee, but you can also treat yourself to a typical Portuguese sweet! A bica or a galao are the regular requests in this classic Portuguese cafe.

    The Coffee Plant is a great, less traditional and more of an informal cool vibe on Portobello Road. However, this place is serious about java from the diverse coffee selection that one can purchase at the back! They are categorised by light, medium and dark roast… Moreover, they have coco, which if you put a touch of into your coffee, it is literally a match made in heaven… a taste of summer!

    Both cafes are phenomenal venues that serve an incredible cup of coffee, where one can enjoy amongst the locals in a friendly, informal vibe.

  56. Daniel Young says:

    Noor – Thanks for the recommendations. I happen to know both these establishments and do not agree with your views on their respective coffees. Both may be great neighbourhood haunts – the vibe at Coffee Plant reminds me of San Francisco. But neither serves an incredible cup of coffee.

  57. Tom Bonasera says:

    Just had a nice flat white at Allpress Roastery Cafe E2 (http://bit.ly/pIDimo). My first time there, but I was impressed.

  58. Brockley Newbie says:

    I’m going to add Browns of Brockley to the list, an unknown coffee shop in an unknown but lovely corner of SE London. They do the best Flat White I have ever had and amazing cakes and bagels. Loved by the locals.

  59. S says:

    Completely agree with Maxs comment. A wearily unoriginal write-up. What flies in America…

  60. Jerry says:

    Shame Prufrock have left Woodhouse. A bigger shame there aren’t more good coffee shops in west London :( please let us know if it’s just because you don’t get round there or if there aren’t any that are good enough

  61. Cristian Führich says:

    Swap Monmouth, Nude and Flat White for Sensory Lab, Speakeasy and Dark Fluid!

  62. Henry says:

    Sadly, Prufrock at Woodhouse is no longer… walked past there yesterday and the coffee machine is gone.

  63. Jessy says:

    Hi
    Im a bit of an expert on drinking soy lattes and a great place you don’t have
    is Blanche in Hammersmith W6 0EA. Always great

  64. Daniel Young says:

    Jessy – My experience on drinking soy lattes is next to zippo, so I must trust you on this.

  65. Have you been to the new coffee house in Portman Village? The Borough Barista definitely is up with the Top 10. A must visit.

  66. SP says:

    Prescribe coffee, to sick children? Hmmm.

    The Espresso Room took over once the wonderfully pokey used-bookshop had to close its doors. Therefore I detest the Espresso Room and it’s cleanliness and hipsterness.

  67. Mabel says:

    If you love the sweeter and smoother flat white or cortado at Present, you might like to try a new coffee set up at strangely a gallery/ shop at Goldenlane Estate on Goswell Road near Barbican Tube station. They have a lever machine from Naples and has two single origin beans on offer which is rather unique.
    Coffee wise? May not be as complex as your top 10 because probably from the use of single origin beans but it is as heavenly as I enjoy coffee from your selections.
    In case you are curious, they are call Coming Soon Coffee, at Exhibit.

  68. Leanne says:

    Unashamedly biased but it really is brilliant to see Nude on this list! The other 9 are equally worthy too! Respect the Bean…

  69. Elise says:

    The Affogato Bar in Fenwick Department Store is good. I think their are only two (?) in London. I was in the store not long ago just browsing, and kind of came up to it by accident… It’s on the third floor and completely hidden. But, the coffee/ vanilla ice cream is delicious. Obviously not the same kind of small individually owned coffee shops as on your list, but, as a coffee lover myself, it’s definitely one to check out!

  70. gread post and nice coffeeshops

  71. laura says:

    Federation in Brixton Market is by far the best coffee I’ve had in London thus far. Also roasting their own beans now. Extra goodness. And the food is fantastic too.

  72. Daniel Young says:

    Laura – I know and love Federation but was not aware they were now roasting their own beans. I’ll be sure to return ASAP. Thanks for the alert.

  73. With quality coffee shops like this being obviously popular (Go to any of the places listed above and you’re likely in for a wait!), you have to wonder why chains do so well.

    Go support your local independent coffee shop I say! Keep up the good work Daniel.

  74. Thanks a lot for this little guide! Pretty refreshing to read about these venues in a different light. I wrote my own post about London coffee shops a few days ago http://tracetheorangeline.blogspot.com/2012/02/best-start-to-your-day-monmouth-borough.html

    Hope to read more about other shops soon!

  75. Francesco Cossa says:

    Have u ever heard of Caffe` Vergnano ?

  76. Daniel Young says:

    Francesco – Yes, I know Caffe Vergnano. I’ve been to their coffee shops in London as well as in Turin.

  77. pamayoga says:

    Yr missing out a lot of East London top coffee joints….Climpsons on Broadway Market,, L’eau la bouche on same strasa, also does a good flat white. Pacific Social Club, Clapton E9, and the fantastic Wiltons on Wilton Way, E8

  78. Daniel Young says:

    Pamayoga – I’ve been to two of the coffee shops you’ve mentioned, each several times, and must make it to the others. Thanks for recommendations. Meanwhile, which of my top 10 coffee shops would you suggest I eliminate to make room for some or all of yours?

  79. Keith says:

    My favourite is The Counter in Hackney Wick, ran by a Kiwi, Tom Seaton, the flat white there is one of the best I’ve had in London and the breakfasts, especially the fry up with home made tomato chutney, baked beans and the little skinny sausages are excellent. Well worth a trip over to the Wick for… He also runs The Container Cafe, overlooking the Olympic site on the Greenway, which doesn’t have as wide a variety of food and is normally a bit busier on a sunny weekend day, but the coffee is still ace.

  80. Andy K says:

    Might be worth checking out the recently opened Ozone on Leonard Street – a long-running outfit from New Zealand I believe…

  81. Andy K says:

    Maybe worth trying the new-to-London Kiwi outfit Ozone on Leonard Street? It’s good coffee!

  82. Daniel Young says:

    Good suggestion, Andy. I’ve been to Ozone and am planning many many return trips.

  83. Markit says:

    The Association is my new fav. Also Taylor St Baristas and Caffe Vergnano (good for a chain). Flat White is not my cup of tea and dont rate Monmouth at all!

  84. tommi says:

    why are all on them east of hyde park? Who caters to the coffee crazed sloanies??

  85. Matilda says:

    The Association, EC35AY is my new favorite too Markit!
    This website needs updating!!!!
    Wonderful to have such great coffee in square mile.
    Fantastic coffee and fantastic environment to enjoy it in
    A must for all.

  86. Daniel Besen says:

    Guys you’ve got to try this place !!! If you’re used to coffee in Melbourne then you’re going to love The Association in Creechurch Lane, EC35AY. . . It could be said that it has better coffee than Melbourne Australia !!! 2 thumbs up.

  87. Lilly says:

    Coffee Plant is not good at all in my opinion. I had an awful, milky, bland coffee from there, served with a surly attitude, never going back. People who recommend this place obviously don’t know good coffee if it hit them in the face. Gwylim’s coffee is still the best of the best, but I also rate Nude coffee as I sometimes find Square Mile hit and miss.

  88. Mike says:

    Have you checked out the algerian coffee store in Soho.
    It is tiny but as you can drink coffee in there it is definitely a coffee shop.
    definitely my favourite (though I confess havent tried many on this list)
    http://www.thecoffeelocator.com/trending/around-the-world/algerian-coffee-store-londons-hidden-gem

  89. andrea collett says:

    Princi on Wardour Street is a must for your top coffee shop list. When I tasted the ricotta cake there I couldn’t believe that anything so beautiful existed.

  90. Rachel says:

    I was really disappointed with the coffee at Flat White/Milk Bar for the price you pay for the amount and taste, let just say I was hugely disappointed and wont be paying them another visit.

  91. Anna Ifanti says:

    We have been regulars to Allpress, Prufrock, Nude and the Albion as we lived in bethnal green for 5 years. We are now in Bow and prefer to get our coffees at the Pavillion in vicky park, the Counter cafe in Hackney wick and Muxima, an amazing independent cafe in bow.
    Despite how good coffee the former establishment pride themselves in making, there’s something fundamentally wrong when they charge £5.40 for a small flat white and a long black….

  92. john says:

    Is the Scooterworks Cafe still on Lower Marsh St.? I’ve heard about it but have never been there.

  93. Unlike This says:

    Allpress, Notes, Ozone and Prufrock are my all time favorites!

  94. Renan Ferrer says:

    Dose Espresso with James Phillips owner is the best of all in my opinion! The atmosphere is intimate and very tasty. The other particulars I did not know.

    Thanks for sharing with us!

    Cheers

    Renan Ferrer

  95. Eugene Chiu says:

    Time to update the list mate, I see none of the Coffeesmith establishments on your list (Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, Chancery Coffee, Speakeasy, Liberty of Norton Folgate), all great coffee shops serving Climpson and Sons coffee as their house blend and a weekly changing featured espresso.

    Another strong contender is 2months+ Alchemy Cafe in St.Pauls, which is currently my favourite, their Ethiopean Tchembe is the best fruity single origin espresso I have tasted, espresso blends rotates frequently too.

    By the end of the day, you need to take into considerations the barista making ur drink as well, obviously not all of them are similarly skilled hence the same place could vary. I had a flat white in Prufrock before which tasted like latte.

  96. Eugene Chiu says:

    Notes used to be great, but I felt that their pricing at their Covent Garden shop is ridiculous nowadays, their flat cap vendors seemed to be less enthusiastic nowadays and the coffee they brew aren’t as good as I remember them few years back.

  97. Sean Hughes says:

    Bar Italia in Frith St Soho – proper italian coffee made by Italians, opened in 1949 and thankfully few hipsters. Proper London.

  98. ger weller says:

    Would recommend Coffee Connoisseur in Church St W2 they have great Italian coffee and the Baked Potato is oven baked not microwaved .

  99. sue says:

    Coffee recommendations certainly seem to get people going – on the likes and not likes. You’ve certainly got a good response positive and negative Daniel. Personally i think Ben’s Espresso Room serves up consistently great coffee. He’s a great teachers too. I did a day barrista course with him back in 2010. Keep it come in…..

  100. Ian Harvey says:

    I think this list needs an update. Probably fair five years ago when posted.

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