Craving Coffee

The Craving Coffee logo, from the wall of the coffee shop in Tottenham.Craving Coffee celebrates its fourth birthday this year, a pioneering outpost of speciality coffee in northeast London, which is not somewhere I venture very often. While Craving Coffee has been on my list for a while, I am indebted (again!) to my friend, Daniel Stevens, who gave me the excuse to visit. A café, bar, community hub and evening social, Craving Coffee is also an art gallery, where different artists exhibit each month. And this month (August), exhibiting for the first time, is Daniel, who held his launch party on Friday, the excuse I finally needed to drag myself out to Tottenham and visit Craving Coffee.

When it comes to coffee, Craving Coffee uses Climpson and Sons, with the Baron blend on espresso, plus decaf and (usually) a single-origin on pour-over through the V60. During the day, there’s an extensive menu, including breakfast, lunch and cake, with all the meals cooked in the open kitchen behind the counter. This closes at 4pm, but on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it re-opens in the evening as Craving Coffee hosts a different pop-up each week as the Tottenham Social. Finally, Craving Coffee is fully licenced, with a three-page menu feature beer, cider, wine and spirits.

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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.

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Fix 126

A flat white in a glass from Fix 126, sporting particularly impressive latte art.The sister branch to Fix Coffee, a long-standing Shoreditch coffee shop which first opened its doors in 2009, Fix 126 arrived not long after on Curtain Road. Serving a bespoke espresso blend plus a single-origin V60 pour-over (both from Climpson and Sons), Fix 126, like its roaster, flies a little bit under the radar, quietly doing its own thing, while, over the years, more illustrious names have popped up on neighbouring streets.

A bright, airy space, with exposed-brick pillars between the numerous windows and a lovely, wooden floor, it has the “hipster coffee shop look” nailed, except Fix was doing it several years before it was trendy.  The layout is simple and uncluttered, with communal tables in the centre, window-bars around two of the four walls and a cosy little nook at the back.

That I made it to Fix 126 at all is down to fellow blogger, Jess, of EastingEast, who invited me to a pre-London Coffee Festival breakfast, a proposition I agreed to with unnecessary haste, before regretting as I dragged myself out of bed on Saturday morning an hour earlier than was strictly necessary. However, all was forgiven when I discovered what a gem Fix 126 is.

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Climpson and Sons Café

The front of the Climpson and Sons Café, with the recessed door offset to the right and with wooden benches on the pavement in front of the windows.Located between Cambridge Heath and London Fields stations on the suburban line out of Liverpool Street, and just a stone’s through from the Climpson and Sons roastery (at Climpson’s Arch), the Climpson and Sons Café on Broadway Market is a lovely little spot. The most sensible approach is from London Fields Station, from where you can head directly across the open, green space that is London Fields, heading south until you hit Broadway Market, a delightful street of local shops, cafes and restaurants, several of which spill out onto the pavements. Trust me, this is a much more picturesque approach than wandering the streets from Cambridge Heath…

Coming from London Fields, you’ll find Climpson and Sons a few doors down on the right. It’s not a huge spot, roughly square in layout, with the counter taking up the back third of the store, the front two-thirds given over to seating. Unsurprisingly serving Climpson and Sons beans on espresso and filter, there’s also a comprehensive range of beans for sale. A decent cake selection is joined by breakfast and lunch menus until three o’clock. Impressively, given how busy it is, Climpson and Sons still manages to serve food at the weekends.

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Birdhouse

A fine Climpson & Sons espresso in a glass from Birdhouse.Birdhouse is one of those semi-legendary coffee houses of south London, a part of the capital which is still a bit of a closed book to me, despite my whizzing through it often enough on the train. However, when I knew I was going to be in the area with a few hours to kill, I took the trouble to find out where Birdhouse actually was.

I was surprised to learn how close to Clapham Junction it is; a mere five-minute walk from the southern entrance of the station, heading away from Clapham High Street and up Saint John’s Hill. Then again, I very rarely leave the station, not even changing trains there very often (the last time was to go to Coffee Affair), so perhaps my ignorance shouldn’t be that surprising!

What I’ve been missing is a delightful little place, all decked out in yellow and grey with coffee from Climpson and Sons and tea from Cardiff maestros, Waterloo Tea. There are also bocaditos (no, I didn’t know what one was either; as I discovered, it is Cuban for sandwich) and cake, so ideal for popping out to if you have a long wait for your train.

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Everbean

Everbean written in a cursive script, blue on brown, with the outline of a bird on the aCompared to some parts of London, Mayfair is a bit bereft of decent coffee, but for the last couple of years, Everbean, along with fellow long(ish)-time resident, Taylor Street Baristas, has been filling the void, supplying the suits and shoppers of the area with fine coffee. I’d been aware of Everbean for a while, but never had the opportunity to visit. Ironic then that I was actually heading for Taylor Street Baristas on Brooks Mews when Everbean jumped out at me as I passed by.

Located in an interesting-shaped building (it used to be a hairdressers), tucked away on the pedestrianised Avery Row, Everbean is a lovely spot, although it took me a second visit before I really fell for the place. Serving no-nonsense Climpson and Sons coffee, along with a wide range of tea and a good selection of cake, sandwiches and other savouries, Everbean has a dedicated band of customers and on both my visits was consistently busy.

Seating is in a mezzanine level above the counter or downstairs on a large, round, communal table or a bar that runs along the inside of the bay window. There is also a table outside if the weather is nice.

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