Bean & Wheat

The front of Bean & Wheat, a Coffee & Beer Shop on Old Street, London.Bean & Wheat is one of several London-based ventures by chef/restaurateur Adam Handling, who made his name by trying to eliminate waste in his establishments. Bean & Wheat started life in 2017 in Spitalfields Market, when it was a coffee shop and delicatessen, but moved to its current location on Old Street (literally backing onto The Frog Hoxton, one of Adam Handling’s restaurants) earlier this year, at the end of July. Originally the concept was coffee (bean) and bread (wheat), but it’s recently expanded its offering to include craft beer (also wheat, sort of).

The intersection of speciality coffee and craft beer is slowly growing, but with the exception of Bristol’s Coffee + Beer, I can’t think of another speciality coffee shop doing what Bean & Wheat is doing. Plus Bean & Wheat has gone one better, allowing you to drink the aforementioned beer on-site (Coffee + Beer only has an off-licence).

As well as the coffee and alcohol, Bean & Wheat also sells bread, plus there are breakfast and lunch menus, plus a selection of cakes. The coffee, by the way, is from Union Hand-roasted, with the old favourite, Bobolink, plus a guest as well as decaf on espresso.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • This small shop front, on London's Old St, did a surprisingly good job of catching my eye.
  • Once it had my attention, the A-board did the rest, pulling me into the long, thin interior.
  • The door mat provides a nice welcome. And let's you know where you are.
  • Inside, the seating stretches away down the left-hand side, the beer on the right.
  • Some of the eclectic mix of tables along the left-hand wall...
  • ... and some of the many, many bottles and cans of beer.
  • Further back comes the counter, on the right, and more seating on the left.
  • The counter, in more detail.
  • Finally, beyond the counter, is this cosy seating area...
  • ... with its long, four-person sofa running along the back wall.
  • A view of the seating from the back, starting with the tables opposite the counter...
  • ... and this four-person table in particular.
  • After another pair of two-person tables, there's a row of six tables...
  • ... starting with two of these four-person tables...
  • ... and ending at the door with this two-person table.
  • The walls, meanwhile, are decorated with various artworks...
  • ... including some rather interesting pictures...
  • ... such as this one.
  • Meanwhile, at the back, there's more graffiti-style art.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • There is, unsurprisingly, rather a lot of alcohol.
  • There are bottles of beer, cans of beer...
  • ... whole shelves of beer...
  • ... and even corners of beer. And don't think I don't see you in there, bag of coffee!
  • More beer...
  • ... small beer...
  • ... and even coffee beer!
  • More coffee beer.
  • There's even wine at the back, although I think that might be for the restaurant.
  • Down to business. The counter is all the way down at the back...
  • ... although the lunch and breakfast menus (I was too late for both) are on the tables.
  • The coffee menu, by the way, is on the wall behind the counter.
  • ... in front of which, appropriately enough, is the espresso machine...
  • ... next to its pair of grinders.
  • ... and a wide selection of cake.
  • I started with an espresso, made using the Bobolink Brazilian single-origin...
  • ... which I paired with a massive slice of apple toffee cake.
  • I followed that up with a decaf flat white.
  • Nice latte art.
  • I also took a bottle of the small beer home with me to try...
  • ... along with a bottle of cider.
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Bean & Wheat is on the north side of Old Street, towards its eastern end, just south of Hoxton Square. In Shoreditch on other business, and with an hour to kill, it was a chance discovering, literally seeing it from across the road as I walked along. Initially the name, then the A-board, caught my eye, an impressive feat given how small the shop front is, no more than a glass door on the left and a large picture window on the right.

Bean & White is long and thin, widening almost imperceptibly as it goes back, with the seating at the front, on the left, while the counter is at the back, on the right, with another, cosier, seating area beyond that, right at the back. A row of six mismatched tables starts at the door, running down the left-hand wall. The first four are two-person, while the last two, with rounded ends, each seat four. Opposite them, the right-hand wall is lined with rows and rows of bottles and cans filled with beer, the occasional cider making into the mix.

Next comes the counter, on the right-hand side, till at the front, facing down the shop, while on the long side, parallel to the right-hand wall, come the cakes, followed by the La Marzocco Linea espresso machine. Opposite the counter are two square, two-person tables followed by a round four-person table. Beyond that, Bean & Wheat opens out a little to the left, where you’ll find more seating, a long, four-person sofa lining the back wall, with a coffee table in front of it. Finally, off to the left, next to the wine chiller, there’s a small, square two-person table.

Part of the motivation behind Bean & Wheat extending into beer was to provide a relaxed place where people could try various beers, etc, but somewhere that wasn’t a pub or bar (at one extreme) or a more formal setting like a restaurant (at the other). Based on the atmosphere during the day I was there, I’d say Bean & Wheat has nailed it. I’m not really qualified to comment on the beer, although I spotted a few coffee beers, as well as some low-alcohol beers, one of which I took home to try, along with a bottle of cider. The latter I enjoyed, but the former, sadly, tasted very much like beer, which is unfortunate since I really don’t like beer.

Turning to things I do enjoy, Union Hand-roasted’s Bobolink Brazilian single-origin was on espresso, along with Cococa, a Burundi single-origin, which, annoyingly, I missed, otherwise I would have tried it. Instead I had an espresso, served in a lovely cup, and made with the Bobolink, an excellent, well-balanced coffee which I know well. The breakfast and lunch menus, which can change on a daily basis, looked really interesting, but I was a little too late for both. Instead I went for a massive slice of apple toffee cake, which, on reflection, was a little too sweet for me. I followed this up with a rich, creamy decaf flat white, which I really enjoyed.

If you are looking for something a little different than your average London speciality coffee shop, particularly if you are into your beer, then I would recommend giving Bean & Wheat a go.

321 OLD STREET • CITY • EC1V 9LE
www.beanandwheat.co.uk +44 (0) 20 3813 9832
Monday CLOSED Roaster Union (espresso only)
Tuesday 07:00 –18:00 Seating Table
Wednesday 07:00 – 18:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 18:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:00 – 18:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 07:00 – 18:00 Wifi Free
Sunday CLOSED Power Yes
Chain No Visits 17th August 2018

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