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.
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.
December 2018: The Fifth Taste was a runner-up for the 2018 Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Award.
|EALING COMMON TUBE STATION • UXBRIDGE ROAD • LONDON • W5 3LD|
|www.instagram.com/the_fifth_taste/||+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|
|Chain||No||Visits||10th August 2018|
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