Taylor Street Gallery

A latte-art style fern above the words "taylor st baristas" with "finely crafted coffee" written underneath, all in white on a black oval.I’ve long been a fan of Taylor Street Baristas, one of London’s best-known mini chains. However, I came to Taylor Street through its much-loved (now sadly-missed) branch on Brighton’s Queen Street. Until last week, the only Taylor Street Baristas I’d visited in London was the equally lovely Mayfair branch. That I tracked down the diminutive Taylor Street Gallery (sometimes known as the Monument branch) is due to a chance encounter with the manager, Lisa-Laura, at this year’s London Coffee Festival.

Taylor Street was founded in 2006 by the three Tolley siblings, who run the company to this day. Until recently, a variety of roasters appeared at the various cafés, but Taylor Street now roasts its own coffee. While production ramps up, the Gallery’s the only one exclusively using Taylor Street Roasted, with other branches taking it as a guest espresso/filter.

The Gallery itself is a delightful place which seats about 20 in a slightly subterranean setting, with two more small tables outside in the narrow alley it calls home. Despite the size, there’s a single-origin on espresso, two more on filter (batch-brew or V60), the coffee changing every couple of days. There’s a decent range of cakes and savouries too.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Looking for good coffee near London's Monument? Then you're in luck...
  • ... for two streets away, down a narrow and unassuming alley (Botolph Alley) you'll find...
  • ... Taylor Street Gallery, perhaps the smallest of London's (sit-in) Taylor Street Baristas chain.
  • The A-boards really give it away...
  • ... although the sign projecting from the wall also helps.
  • The door is on the right, just in front of the first A-board.
  • And what a handsome door it is too!
  • Another look at the door, this time from the inside.
  • Talyor Street Gallery is not very big. This is the view from just inside the door...
  • ... and this is the view from in front of the one of the two windows.
  • Moving slightly to the left, this is the view from the corner...
  • ... while this is the view from the corner opposite the door. And that's it...
  • ... other than the stairs to the basement. Sadly there's no seating down there. Shame!
  • The three tables in the window are ideal for looking at the ankles of anyone sitting outside.
  • There's a communal table in the centre of the room, or a two-person one against the wall...
  • Plus there are two comfy armchairs and a coffee table in the far corner, opposite the door.
  • The final option is to sit at the counter. I tried that, but felt I was in the way...
  • ... so I decamped to the corner. The view from my table: what handsome legs that table has!
  • Meanwhile, the tables in the window have such slender, four-footed legs...
  • ... as does the coat stand by the door. The water bottles are a nice touch too. Help yourself.
  • I loved the Chemex, which had been reused as a vase.
  • I also, as is to be expected, loved the lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling.
  • There's something fascinating about a bare bulb, don't you think?
  • Or maybe it's just me.
  • Meanwhile, behind the bulb, the Gallery's philosophy is written on the wall.
  • I forgot to ask what this was...
  • Between the addicts' board and the door is this set of retail shelves.
  • There are bags of Taylor Street coffee for sale...
  • ... along with kit, including Keep Cups.
  • There's also a good choice of reading material!
  • For somewhere so small, there's a decent food selection.
  • Interesting combination of sweet and savoury.
  • There's more cake on the end of the counter.
  • So, to business. The small, curved counter packs an awful lot in!
  • The concise coffee menu also hides an impressive coffee range.
  • Taylor Street roasts all its own coffee for the Gallery. Details are on the wall!
  • Each coffee is a single-origin, with its location marked on the map, along with tasting notes.
  • The only exception is the decaf, which is roasted by Square Mile.
  • There's a regularly-rotating single-origin on the Synesso Espresso Machine...
  • ... and two single-origins on filter. There's either batch-brew or they'll make you a V60.
  • In goes the ground coffee (the EK-43 in the corner does the grinding)...
  • Then just add water...
  • ... and stir vigorously!
  • Then, once we've left the coffee to bloom, top up...
  • ... and leave to filter.
  • The coffee is served in a carafe, with a handleless cup. Plus a bottle of water.
  • My coffee, an Ethiopean Rocko Mountain, in more detail.
  • I was, by the way, very taken by the cup. The coffee was excellent too :-)
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Down a very small, narrow alley near London’s Monument, Taylor Street Gallery is not the sort of place that you would accidentally stumble upon. Unless, like me, you like exploring small back alleys in the City of London. However, in this instance, I was on a mission, having met the manager, Lisa-Laura, at this year’s London Coffee Festival, where she extracted a promise of a visit…

The Gallery has a slightly subterranean feel, the floor a metre or so below street level, where you’ll find a couple of tables in the quiet, narrow alley. You enter via a lovely, wooden door on the right, a couple of steps leading down into a single room. To your left, a pair of low windows let some light in, supplemented by numerous bare bulbs hanging from hooks in the low ceiling. Spacious is not a word that springs to mind when describing the Gallery; cosy is much more apt.

Given its size, there’s a surprising amount of seating. To your left, there’s a bench under the windows, with three square, two-person tables. The counter’s ahead of you, occupying the back right-hand corner, although it’s literally two strides from the door. You can sit at the counter on one of four stools, while the remaining seating occupies back-left quarter. There’s a two person table against the back wall, while the left-hand wall sports two sumptuous armchairs which flank a low coffee table. Finally, there’s a six-person table in the middle of the room. A wonderful spiral staircase leads temptingly down, but, alas, the basement contains a training room rather than more seating, although you can wander down to use the toilet.

The Gallery packs a lot in. There’s loose-leaf tea and food, plus a large shelving unit on the right-hand wall by the door, stacked full of coffee and coffee-making kit. The Gallery acts as a showcase for Taylor Street’s impressive range of coffee. There’s a single-origin on espresso, which changes every day (it was the Brazilian when I visited), and two single-origin filters. These change every day or two: the options during my visit were an Ethiopian Rocko Mountain and a Cyiya Lot 2 from Rwanda. These are batch-brewed in a Moccamaster, or, for a premium, the staff will make you one while you wait through the V60. You can even sit at the counter and watch it being made, although when I did that, I felt I was in the way of other customers who were trying to order. Maybe not something to be tried during the lunchtime rush!

Lisa-Laura gave me a samples of both filters to try while her colleague made me a V60 of the Rocko Mountain. If I’m honest, I probably couldn’t tell the difference in a blind taste-test between the Moccamaster and the V60.

Although I enjoyed the Rwandan, it suffered In comparison to the Rocko Mountain. This is one of those coffees that really evolves as it cools. At first, when hot, it felt a little thin, but then the fruity flavours really started appear. All the while, it was really smooth and well-balanced, but kept getting fruitier the colder it got. My Moccamaster sample went almost cold, by which time it had developed a really fruity kick, but without ever losing its balance.

2 BOTOLPH ALLEY • LONDON • EC3R 8DR
www.taylor-st.com +44 (0) 20 7283 1835
Monday 07:30 – 17:00 Roaster Taylor Street Roasted (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:30 – 17:00 Seating Tables, Armchairs, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 07:30 – 17:00 Food Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 07:30 – 17:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:30 – 17:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday CLOSED Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday CLOSED Power Limited
Chain Local Visits 22nd April 2016

You can check out the other branches of Taylor Street Baristas that I’ve visited:

Mayfair
The Shed (Shoreditch)
Brighton (now closed)


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