Hot on the heels of Origin opening its coffee bar in the British Library foyer comes a full Origin coffee shop, located just outside the Library on the Euston Road. This is now the fourth Origin outlet in London, with the first, on Charlotte Road, opening only last year. These join the two long-standing shops and the roastery back in Cornwall.
Long and thin, the Euston Road branch offers more seating options than the foyer, plus it attracts the passing trade, whereas the coffee bar in foyer was only really known to Library visitors. As an added bonus, there’s a kitchen at the back, enabling Origin to offer expanded breakfast and lunch menus to go with the familiar doughnuts and cakes.
The coffee offering, meanwhile, is very similar, although the Kalita Wave has supplanted the Aeropress as the filter method of choice, while a gorgeous-looking three-group Kees van der Westen provides the espresso. Here there’s a choice of the Pathfinder seasonal house-blend plus a single-origin, with another single-origin on batch-brew and two more on pour-over. Although both branches usually offer the same beans, switch-over can occasionally vary. This is all backed up by an impressive retail range, featuring numerous single-origins.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Euston Road opened at the start of September, cunningly timed to coincide with my departure for my around-the-world trip. I therefore made it a priority to call in as soon as I returned, quite literally in fact, taking the tube from Heathrow to King’s Cross, then hauling my huge rucksack the short distance down the Euston Road for some welcome-home coffee.
The coffee shop occupies a long, thin space at the front of the British Library complex to the right of the main entrance, just before the junction with Midland Road. Set back slightly from the busy Euston Road, it’s recessed even further, allowing for a matching long, thin outdoor seating area, which is largely protected from the rain. There are five two-person tables, underneath the windows running the length of Origin.
You enter from the side at the far left-hand end, double doors occupying almost the entire width of the (admittedly narrow) coffee shop. Inside, a 10-person window-bar runs from wall-to-wall along the front, mirroring the tables outside, while the counter runs parallel to this along the back wall, starting at the entrance to the kitchen (at the opposite end from the doors) and extending almost all the way to the entrance, leaving just enough room to your left for a set of retail shelves, holding bags of Origin coffee for sale.
The counter’s layout is rather simple, taking its lead from the store. The first thing that greets you, perched on the left-hand corner, are the doughnuts and lemon curd tarts, followed by the sandwiches. Then comes the till and a small area where the pour-overs are made. Finally, after the grinders, a Nuova Simonelli Mythos 1 (Pathfinder blend) and the ubiquitous EK-43 (everything else), comes the gorgeous Kees van der Westen, which James, my barista, tells me is as beautiful to work on as it is to look at.
Origin’s flagship Charlotte Road branch makes much of its pour-over bar, where you can sit and watch your coffee being made. Here that’s not really possible, but Euston Road still serves plenty of pour-overs, even during the week. Whereas a Charlotte Road Kalita Wave takes six minutes, Euston Road has cut this down to three minutes without noticeable loss of quality, achieved by vigorous pouring and agitation, combined with a much finer grind.
Since I was just off the plane from Chicago, with a serious case of jet-lag, I wasn’t being too picky, forgoing the single-origin espresso or the new Kalita Wave recipe, figuring that subtly would be lost on me. Instead I settled for a Pathfinder flat white. Smooth, rich and well-balanced, it was the perfect welcome-home coffee.
Had I read the menu more carefully, I would have paired this with toast for breakfast, but I’d been awake for 20 hours at that point and in my befuddled state, I reasoned that it couldn’t possibly be breakfast time. As it turned out, I had arrived just before the 11am cut-off for breakfast, so I could have had a couple of slices of the excellent toast with raspberry or rhubarb & ginger jam. I only realised my mistake when another customer, who came in after me, ordered it. To make up for my disappointment, I grabbed a bag of the Brazilian Londrina CO2 decaf to take home with me.
December 2016: Origin, Euston Road was a runner-up for the 2016 Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Award.
|96 EUSTON ROAD • LONDON • NW1 2DB|
|Monday||07:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Origin (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 18:00||Seating||Window Bar, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 18:00||Food||Breakfast, Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||07:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 18:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa, Amex|
|Saturday||09:30 – 17:00||Wifi||No|
|Sunday||11:00 – 17:00||Power||No|
|Chain||Regional||Visits||15th October 2016|
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