Notes, Canary Wharf

Amazing latte art in my JOCO Cup at Notes, Canary Wharf.It took a while, but speciality coffee has reached Canary Wharf, and, having got here, it’s not going away. There are now two branches of both Taylor Street Baristas (Canary Wharf and South Quay) and coffee shop/roaster, Notes. Although I’ve already written about Notes in Crossrail Place, today’s Coffee Spot, on the concourse of Canary Wharf tube station, was the first I came across when, back in September, I innocently wandered through the ticket barriers and thought “ooh, look, a Notes”.

Sadly I only had my phone, which wasn’t up to adequately photographing somewhere which is entirely underground. It was only last week that I was able to return, proper camera in hand, at a time when there weren’t customers queuing out of the door!

Although small (and with no seats), the Canary Wharf Notes thinks it’s just as big and important as its much larger siblings. While there’s no wine or beer, there are impressive breakfast and lunch menus, a good selection of cake and coffee-kit/beans for sale. The coffee’s what it’s all about though: serving only single-origins, all roasted in-house, there’s espresso plus bulk-brew, and, surprisingly, Canary Wharf consistently serves the best coffee that I’ve had at Notes.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Notes, on the concourse of Canary Wharf tube station, just before the ticket barriers.
  • On the outside, looking in.
  • The moment, when you step inside, and all three baristas look at you...
  • A quick tour, starting at the far end, where all the food is.
  • The end wall also houses a chalk board with details of the day's coffee.
  • Underneath, from my afternoon visit in December, sandwiches and salads...
  • ... and from my morning visit in September, pastries and more breakfast-themed items.
  • There's also a lunch menu on the wall; very impressive for somewhere so small.
  • Underneath the lunch menu is a decent and tempting selection of cake...
  • ... next to which are more goodies: fruit, biscuits, cookies and chocolate. Plus the tills.
  • Like most Notes I've visited, there are two espresso machines.
  • Nice takeaway cups...
  • ... which are put to good use next to the machines, explaining the various drink sizes.
  • We finish our tour by the door, and the handy takeaway station.
  • Since I was there just before Christmas, there were a lot of goodies on sale...
  • ... such as all these Keep Cups next to the EK-43, which grinds for the bulk-brew filter.
  • More KeepCups and some bags of coffee.
  • This being Notes, its story is bound to be painted up on the wall somewhere. Here, in fact.
  • I loved the lights which hang above the counter.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • The menus are on the cupoards behind the counter, in true Notes fashion.
  • Meanwhile, the particular choice of beans (all single-origin, roasted in-house) are chalked up.
  • Just to prove that they change, here's the selection from September.
  • Retail bags for three of the filters, plus the espresso.
  • Other bags were fetched for me to see: this is the 4th filter & the one that was actually on.
  • This is, I think, a special filter just for Christmas...
  • ... while this, I believe, is the next espresso in the rotation, so it might be on by now.
  • Talking of which, time for some coffee.
  • In December, I took my Frank Green Smart Cup for a flat white. Look! Latte art!
  • Talking of which, I had this in my flat white when I took JOCO Cup to visit in September.
  • It's worth a second look, don't you think?
  • It also held its own: thiis was two minutes later when I'd got to the bottom of the cup!
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The first of two (for now?) branches of Notes at Canary Wharf, it’s located on the left-hand side of the station concourse, just before the ticket barriers (unless you’ve arrived by tube, when it’s on the right, just past the ticket barriers). There’s not a lot to Notes, just a counter running along the back of a long, thin unit, which is entirely glass-fronted. This is just as well, since there’s no natural light, other than what spills in down the (very long) escalators and into the soaring concourse, its ceiling high above you.

The doors are at the left, pitching you up next to the first of two espresso machines. Long and narrow, you order at the far end and it can sometimes be a bit of a dance to get past the waiting crowds. Once at the far end, you can also pick up a cake or a sandwich, but then it’s back to the espresso machines to wait for your coffee and shuffle around to let everyone else pass. It could really do with another door (entrance) to the right, leaving the original (on the left) as an exit. It would improve the flow no end.

Although small, this Notes is the most coffee-focused I’ve been in. While I’ve enjoyed my coffee at other Notes, such as King’s Cross and Crossrail Place, it can be a bit hit-and-miss. Canary Wharf, however, has nailed it every time I’ve been there. I’m not sure why this is; perhaps, because it can be so busy, the best baristas get sent there, or maybe it just has the most coffee-obsessed staff (they’re super-friendly by the way). Regardless of the reason, the consistency has been excellent.

As well as espresso (one single-origin, plus a Square Mile decaf), Canary Wharf has a choice of three or four single-origins on the bulk-brewer. While at other Notes I’ve sometimes struggled to work out what coffee is on, at Canary Wharf, the beans are chalked up on a blackboard. The espresso changes every month or so, while the filters are rotated in small batches throughout the day.

On my first visit, I had the perfect flat white, smooth and at just the right temperature. The wonderfully-steamed milk held the amazing latte art to bottom of cup. I also had a traditional cappuccino, although other than being 20p cheaper, I’m not sure what the difference was! The milk might have been slightly foamier, but nevertheless it was very smooth and equally delicious! Both were made with an Ethiopian single-origin. On my return, I had an equally impressive flat white made with a Guatemalan single-origin. If I worked at Canary Wharf I’d be down there every day!

December 2015: Notes won the 2015 Coffee Spot Award for Best Takeaway Coffee and was a runner-up for the 2015 Award for Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station.

UNIT 5 • CANARY WHARF STATION • LONDON • E14 5AB
http://notes-uk.co.uk +44 (0) 20 7519 6886
Monday 06:30 – 19:00 Roaster Notes (espresso + bulk-brew filter)
Tuesday 06:30 – 19:00 Seating N/A
Wednesday 06:30 – 19:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 06:30 – 19:00 Service Counter
Friday 06:30 – 19:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 09:00 – 18:00 Wifi London Underground Wifi
Sunday 10:00 – 17:00 Power No
Chain Local Visits 6th September, 18th December 2015

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