Lever & Bloom

My flat white in my Ecoffee Cup on a lovely patterned tile at Lever & Bloom.Lever & Bloom is a coffee cart on the corner of Byng Place in Bloomsbury, London, with the magnificent Church of Christ the King as its backdrop. Come rain or shine, Lever & Bloom is open throughout the year from eight to five, five days a week, serving top-quality espresso, the shots pulled on a lovely lever machine.

Lever & Bloom has been on my radar for a couple of years now, ever since it moved onto its new pitch in fact, but it wasn’t until yesterday, on my way to Euston Station, that I was able to actually stop by and say hello to Mounir, the owner. Serving Climpson and Sons’ Baron on espresso, there’s also decaf, a range of Birchall teas and a small selection of cakes, all made by Mounir’s wife. Needless to say, it’s takeaway cups only, so don’t forget to bring your own.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Lever & Bloom, on Byng Place in Bloomsbury, with the marvellous backdrop of the church.
  • This is the view you get if you approach from the east in the direction of Gordon Square...
  • ... while this is the view head on.
  • In close up, Lever & Bloom, seen from the south...
  • ... and here, from the east.
  • And finally, the view from the back. Such a very red van.
  • Lever & Bloom, with seating in front and behind, the church looming over everything.
  • The seating (and telephone boxes) in more detail.
  • So, to the important part, Lever & Bloom itself.
  • The menu and sign on the door point you in the right direction.
  • And here's Mounir, hard at work!
  • The table in front acts as a counter and display for the cakes. Here, cinnamon buns.
  • And here, Babka. Or there would have been, if they hadn't all been eaten already!
  • There are also soft drinks, kept cold in this tub of iced water.
  • The concise menu tells you all you need to know.
  • There's also a selection of tea, plus soya milk if you need it.
  • Once made, your coffee appears here, around the back of the van.
  • It's laid out for you on this beautifully-patterned tile.
  • This isn't mine, by the way. Someone ordered an Americano, plus milk.
  • I love watching espresso machines, particularly lever ones, in action.
  • The Izzo Pompei machine primed and ready for action.
  • Step one, pull down on the lever, which floods the chamber with hot water...
  • ... and compresses the spring in the piston. Builds up the muscles too!
  • Next, release the lever, but carefully, which starts the extraction.
  • The handle then rises of its own accord, the spring driving the water through the group head.
  • While the espresso extracts, it's time to steam the milk.
  • All the while, the lever is rising, the pressure slowly dropping.
  • Almost done.
  • I love watching espresso extracting...
  • ... although being outdoors means that the wind can play havoc with your streams!
  • Finally, I love the thumb-operated steam switch. Neat idea!
  • I'll leave you with my flat white in my Ecoffee cup.
  • Check out that latte art. And the amazing tile!
  • Latte art that lasts: the milk held the pattern to the bottom of the cup.
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Unusually for a motorised coffee cart, Lever & Bloom is housed in a small, red miniature four-wheeled box van rather than the more typical three-wheeled Piaggio Ape. The council-owned pitch, in the northwest corner of Byng Place, puts Lever & Bloom firmly in university territory, with UCL to the north and Birbeck and SOAS to the south.

Lever & Bloom is beautifully laid out. There’s a pair of tables, each decorated with old coffee sacks. One stands in front of the hatch in the side of the van, acting as a counter/display stand for the homemade cakes. The other’s off to the right, at the back of the van, where your coffee appears, carefully presented on a beautifully-patterned tile. The lids are also here, as well as the card payment terminal.

The hatch itself is open, revealing a two-group Izzo Pompei lever espresso machine, plus a ginder, which is about all that there’s space for in the back of the van. In a sign of the times, Lever & Bloom’s till is a large tablet on a ball-and-socket joint, mounted on the frame of the van. The hatch, by the way, provides some protection from the elements, as does a large parasol at the corner of the van.

Although it’s takeaway only, there are some seating options. They don’t technically belong to Lever & Bloom, but there’s nothing stopping you from taking your coffee and sitting there if you like. Firstly, there’s a row of benches behind Lever & Bloom in the shadow of the church. These are interspersed between three old-fashioned red phone boxes, which go well with Lever & Bloom’s colour scheme. There are also some wooden tables with chairs out front on the broad pavement, which are excellent options, particularly if you want to catch the sun.

Lever & Bloom uses Climpson and Sons’ Baron, a seasonal offering which is currently a naturally-processed Brazilian from the Daterra Estate. I had this as a flat white in my Ecoffee Cup, making for a lovely, rich, chocolately drink. I always take my hat off (sadly I rarely wear one, so wasn’t able to do this literally) to anyone who can consistently make coffee outdoors. In this instance, I was particularly impressed with Mounir’s latte art, the milk holding the pattern to the bottom of the cup.

I also had one of the cinnamon buns baked by Mounir’s wife to take on the train with me, made with a lovely, rich, sweet, chewy dough. As well as cinnamon buns, there are also Nutella and hazelnut babka, so popular that they’d sold out by the time I’d arrived. You can also find banana bread on occasion and brownies in the winter.

BYNG PLACE • BLOOMSBURY • LONDON • WC1E 7JJ
leverandbloomcoffee.co.uk +44 (0) 7400 133131
Monday 08:00 – 17:00 Roaster Climpson & Son (espresso only)
Tuesday 08:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables, Benches (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 17:00 Food Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 17:00 Service Counter
Friday 08:00 – 17:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday CLOSED Wifi N/A
Sunday CLOSED Power N/A
Chain No Visits 23rd May 2017

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One thought on “Lever & Bloom

  1. Lovely review, thank you for sharing! There is something about coffee made well at a coffee cart, especially in the summer, sitting in the sun, that just makes the drink more special and flavourful, especially if it is made as artfully as you describe. Next time we’re in London we will have to come check out Lever & Bloom!

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