The coffee culture in London has evolved to be just as important as the handbag you carry or the jeans you wear. And while you find tattooed baristas and fashion-focused clientele in many a coffee house across the capital, the indication of a top-notch café is in where they source their beans and how they prepare your brew. Pick one from these favourites, and delicious Java and a hip setting are guaranteed.
You arrive early at Caravan because this Exmouth Market coffee house often has queues stretching out the door. The espresso derives from a blend of 100 per cent Arabica beans that is meticulously tweaked according to season. You choose a short cortado for maximum body, and your fellow caffeine fiend picks one of the mightily delicious filter coffees. You then make a beeline for the bistro-style chairs by the window, intent on doing some people-watching.
Bring your laptop or your brunch-loving friends to Ozone. This coffee house is a stone’s throw from Silicon Roundabout, so it’s a favourite amongst entrepreneurial types and achingly hip East Enders. The industrial interiors and piles of Caffeine Magazine are the epitome of Shoreditch cool, and you pick up on the alluring coffee house aroma and artisan vibe. You sit beside hessian sacks of coffee beans in the downstairs roaster to enjoy a bowl of granola and a latte served in a pretty glass.
Situated in London’s Square Mile, the clientele at Alchemy is a mix of coffee connoisseurs and suited bankers, all in search of the best cup. It’s modestly sized, but their baristas are the real deal. Plus they’re coffee gadget geeks, so they have lots of accessories you want to take home. You order their popular Guatemala blend and choose from three measures of hot milk while your date goes for the trendy AeroPress. You can’t help but buy a V60 and a bottle of Ethiopian cold brew to go.
You heard Talkhouse served some of the best Workshop and Square Mile coffee in London, so you want to find out if these bold claims are true. The spacious layout of “Scandi-chic” sharing benches means you won’t be hurried out when you’re in the mood for a lazy Saturday brew. Your date recommends you try the cascara, a cold brew made from the pulp of the coffee bean, which you find delightful and refreshing. You and your date order some chocolate brownies to go with your drinks, and they’re so good, you’re tempted to go back for more.
Lively music and the churn of coffee grinders grab your attention when you find the Nude Espresso coffee house off Brick Lane. The baristas feel like your best friends, and there’s a comfortable yet minimalist style throughout. You’re impressed with their flat white, made using their East Espresso signature blend. And you’re won over by the delicious Portuguese “pasteis de nata” tarts. This coffee house is hip, yet instantly feels like your home away from home.