The Fifth Taste

Details from the A-board outside The Fifth Taste at Ealing Common station.I’m not sure why, but I have a soft spot for coffee shops in railway and/or tube stations, so The Fifth Taste, which is in Ealing Common Tube Station on the District and Piccadilly Lines, has been on my radar since it opened in June last year. The only thing that has stopped me is that I don’t get out to Ealing much, but when I was doing my West London swing last month, I made sure to stop by.

There’s not a lot to The Fifth Taste. It’s in the ticket office, tucked away to the left, much in the mould of Bica Coffee House at Westbourne Park or the sadly missed Piccadilly Grind at Piccadilly Circus. Serving a choice on espresso, plus batch-brew, all from old friends The Roasting Party, there’s also a selection of pastries. Unsurprisingly, it’s takeaway cups only, so don’t forget to bring your own.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Ealing Common Tube Station: early 1930s station architecture at its best.
  • There's not much sign of what lies within, except for this A-board on the pavement outisde.
  • This points the way into the large, spacious ticket hall, where The Fifth Taste is clearly...
  • ... visible on the left-hand side next to the ticket barriers.
  • There it is, looking resplendent in the early afternoon sun.
  • The layout is simple: till on the right, collection point on the left.
  • The till, with various offers to tempt you.
  • The corner behind the till is interesting, with one wall filled with used loyalty cards...
  • ... and the other wall having a lovely mural/menu (Drake was the previous espresso blend).
  • There are also some cakes and pastries: sadly not many were left by the time I got there!
  • I started off with a flat white in my Eco to Go cup, made with the Captain Blend...
  • ... followed by another made with the Party Blend (successor to the Drake).
  • Just for good measure, here's a mocha in a glass with some gorgeous latte art...
  • ... which is defintely worth a second look.
Ealing Common Tube Station: early 1930s station architecture at its best.1 There's not much sign of what lies within, except for this A-board on the pavement outisde.2 This points the way into the large, spacious ticket hall, where The Fifth Taste is clearly...3 ... visible on the left-hand side next to the ticket barriers.4 There it is, looking resplendent in the early afternoon sun.5 The layout is simple: till on the right, collection point on the left.6 The till, with various offers to tempt you.7 The corner behind the till is interesting, with one wall filled with used loyalty cards...8 ... and the other wall having a lovely mural/menu (Drake was the previous espresso blend).9 There are also some cakes and pastries: sadly not many were left by the time I got there!10 I started off with a flat white in my Eco to Go cup, made with the Captain Blend...11 ... followed by another made with the Party Blend (successor to the Drake).12 Just for good measure, here's a mocha in a glass with some gorgeous latte art...13 ... which is defintely worth a second look.14
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The Fifth Taste is definitely set up for the morning commute, opening at an eye-wateringly early half past five each morning (seven o’clock on Saturdays, closed on Sundays), with everything done and dusted by early afternoon. As a result, the majority of the customers are morning commuters. Sadly Ealing Common is on the Uxbridge branch of the Piccadilly Line rather than the Heathrow branch, otherwise I might be tempted to call in on my way back from Heathrow after an early morning flight.

The set-up is very simple, with the counter off to the left before the ticket gates in the large, heptagonal concourse. Effectively a long, rectangular hole in the wall, there’s wooden panelling at the bottom and a projecting wooden counter where you can sit at one of two bar-chairs. You order from the till at the far right-hand end, then most customers grab their coffee from the window at the far left-hand end, next to the La Marzocco GB5 espresso machine, and off they go.

However, this is a shame, since the team are really warm and friendly. I met Vas, the co-owner, and he was happy to chat with me (admittedly it was one o’clock in the afternoon), but even so, the baristas pride themselves on knowing their customers and Vas very much sees The Fifth Taste as a community hub. He’d love to do more, including opening later in the afternoon and offering more food, but he’s limited by the (lack of) space.

When it comes to coffee, there are two options on espresso, both seasonal blends from The Roasting Party. The Captain is used for milk-based drinks, while the Party is offered for espresso. I started off with a flat white in my Eco To Go Cup, the Captain going very well with the rich, creamy Estate Dairy milk. As we got chatting, Vas (who had no idea who I was), made me a second flat white on the house, using the Party blend, just so that I could compare them.

Although I know both blends quite well, I was really surprised how much difference there was between them. Both work really well in milk, but the Captain is much bolder, coming through strongly, while the Party is subtler, resulting in a much more mellow cup. There’s also a single-origin batch-brew (an Ethiopian during my visit), for those who really are in a hurry.

EALING COMMON TUBE STATION • UXBRIDGE ROAD • LONDON • W5 3LD
https://thefifthtaste.co.uk +44 (0) 7932 858068
Monday 05:30 – 13:30 Roaster The Roasting Party (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 05:30 – 13:30 Seating Counter
Wednesday 05:30 – 13:30 Food Cakes
Thursday 05:30 – 13:30 Service Counter
Friday 05:30 – 13:30 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 08:00 – 16:00 Wifi N/A
Sunday CLOSED Power N/A
Chain No Visits 10th August 2018

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