Recently a friend was over from New Zealand on holiday, one of the first things she posted on Facebook was about how rubbish the coffee in England is.
I felt the same when I first arrived, and to get a decent coffee or — dare I say it — a flat white, you were limited to a few random Kiwi cafes dotted around London. Times have certainly changed though, and (if replies to her status update are anything to go by) London is becoming a coffee lover’s dream. I thought I would go about highlighting some of the best places to get a good coffee in London as there is no reason why anyone should be drinking Starbucks every day.
First off, I generally judge a café on their ability to create a delicious flat white. It has to be the right temperature, texture, have a good flavor and they get extra marks for a nice picture in the froth. One of my favorites in London is my local café Reily Rocket – an antipodean café out the back of a motorbike shop in Dalston serving awesome brunches and excellent coffee. Probably one of the better flat whites around. Temperature and flavor are always perfect and they take great care in providing delicious coffee. They also sell Kiwi treats like Peanut Slabs and Cherry Ripes, so for anyone missing NZ it’s worth a visit.
Heading further into Shoreditch, you have the newly opened Forge, which does a good brunch along with great coffee. Did I mention that it’s £6 for unlimited Prosecco while eating? They use Allpress coffee as well, so you are getting the Kiwi connection while enjoying your boozy breakfast. I highly enjoyed my Kippers and Eggs washed down with 5 glasses of Prosecco, so I would get in quick before they stop this offer.
Brick Lane also has a few great cafés, but you can’t go past Nude Espresso for great food and excellent coffee. I have had one of my all time favorite brunches here. Truffle and scrambled eggs on toast. They also have a great selection of cakes and baked sundries and it’s been one of my go to places for a good quality flat white for years. They sell lots of coffee-making equipment and it gets pretty busy on weekends for brunch.
A bit more central you have the classic antipodean café Flat White, which has been serving good quality coffee since I first arrived in London over 7 years ago. They do awesome flat whites and I don’t think I have ever had a bad coffee from these guys. They are in a great location in the heart of Soho, so it’s pretty convenient if you are ever in the West End to stop by for a quick coffee.
The only chain that’s going to make the list has to be Taylor St, and it’s not really a proper chain yet with the likes of Starbucks or Café Nero etc. It has antipodean roots, and their 3 shot flat white will blow your mind and keep you buzzing for a good couple of hours. They have branches in canary wharf, the city, Mayfair and even Brighton now — so basically unless you live in the sticks you should be able to find one.
There are many more fantastic places serving awesome coffee such as Climpson and sons, Street Coffee , Caravan and the old school Bar Italia among others. As you can see, London actually has plenty of options to choose from. Just remember stay away from the evil chains. Well, Costa isn’t so bad in an emergency, but you should always be able to find yourself a good Flat White. I think most Londoners are now warming to the fact that good coffee shouldn’t be something you only get abroad.
Next week I’ll take a look at the best brunch spots around!