For the past two years, Mayfair has been blessed with two very fine Coffee Spots: Everbean and this outpost of the Taylor Street Baristas chain (one of seven in London). Both are lovely, but in terms of coffee geekery, Taylor Street Baristas is the clear winner, with its house blend, guest espresso (both from Union Hand-roasted), guest filter (Climpson and Sons) and abundant tasting notes. There is also a small selection of food and a very appetising range of cake.
However, being good at (perhaps read “obsessive about”) coffee does not necessarily make a great Coffee Spot. Fortunately, Taylor Street Baristas has all the other attributes to be a success in abundance: good atmosphere, lovely surroundings and staff who are completely mad (in the nicest possible way)!
It could have been because it was the end of the day and the staff were cleaning up, but while I was there, the soundtrack was full of corny music, with the baristas singing along. It didn’t quite reach the heights of “Good Times” & “Don’t Bring Me Down” as sung by the baristas at Montréal’s Café Olimpico, but it was in the same league.
April 2016: Taylor Street has started roasting its own coffee, with the Mayfair branch taking it as the main espresso. While production ramps up, the other Taylor Street Baristas only have Taylor Street Roasted as guest espresso/filter, the exception being the Taylor Street Gallery, which has exclusively gone over to Taylor Street Roasted.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Although it’s only the second Taylor Street Baristas I’ve been to, it was instantly recognisable. Partly due to the clear branding, it’s also due to the look. The logo, the subdued colour palette, the preponderance of brick and wood: all say Taylor Street and make you want to step inside. None of this, I’m sure, is by accident.
When I interviewed Andrew Tolley (one of the three siblings who founded and still run Taylor Street Baristas) for Caffeine Magazine, one of the things that he told me was that the first step was to get customers in through the door. This is something that Taylor Street Baristas have mastered, with some of the most visually appealing coffee shops I’ve come across.
Stepping inside, the visual appeal continues. Taylor Street Baristas is long and thin, but beautifully appointed with wooden furniture, whitewashed walls and ceiling, and a slate-tiled floor. It all makes for a very warm and welcoming place, well-lit by windows at the front and at regular intervals along the side. The majority of the seating is provided by recycled church pews which run almost the full length of the left-hand wall. Each pew is equipped with an equally handsome table in front of it. Opposite is the counter, constructed of a similar dark wood and running along the last two thirds of the right-hand wall. This is fronted by a beautiful old dresser which seems to serve no purpose other than to look gorgeous. Which it does exceedingly well.
I was already somewhat familiar with Taylor Street Baristas’ coffee from my visit to the Brighton branch. The house-blend, Union Hand-roasted’s Rogue Espresso, had been a little too fruity for my palette (although the current Rogue is different from the one I tried in Brighton; on the other hand, the tasting notes suggest it’d be even fruitier!). Instead I tried the guest espresso, Los Lajones from Panama, another offering from Union. This one was more to my taste: not too sharp, with a nice mouth feel.
One difference between the Brighton and Mayfair branches is the filter coffee. Whereas the (much bigger) Brighton branch has pour-over and/or Aeropress options to go with a bulk-brew filter, Mayfair just does bulk-brew. Currently this is a guest from Climpson and Sons, a Thai coffee called Doi Chaang. This sounded very intriguing, but I was already too caffeinated, plus I was rather too late in the day. I’d love to try some though!
Of course, as my friend Claire keeps reminding me, a coffee-blogger cannot live by coffee alone: cake is also required. Having had rather a lot of cake that day, I compromised and went for a Brownie bite: all the yumminess of a full-sized brownie, but in a manageable bite-sized portion. I’m very glad I did: it was very rich, chocolaty and gooey, pretty much the perfect brownie. I’m not sure I could have managed a full-sized one!
A final word about the staff, for, as much as anything, staff make a place. While this is recognizably a Taylor Street Baristas with many similarities to the Brighton branch, it’s also very much its own place. This is largely down to the staff who were some of the happiest I’ve seen, cheerfully going about their business and obviously enjoying their work.
|22 BROOKS MEWS • LONDON • W1K 4DY|
|Monday||07:30 – 17:30||Roaster||Taylor Street Roasted (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 17:30||Seating||Tables, Church Pews, Bar, Bench outside|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 17:30||Food||Cake, Sandwiches|
|Thursday||07:30 – 17:30||Service||Counter|
|Friday||07:30 – 17:30||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||CLOSED||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Chain||Local||Visits||9th December 2013|
Why not check out the other branches of Taylor Street Baristas that I’ve visited:
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