East Central London

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The Coffee Spot Guide to East Central London

The dome of Saint Paul's Cathedral, London, as seen from the south west.The Coffee Spot Guide to East Central London includes everything with a postcode starting with EC, which encompasses the City of London and the areas immediately to the north of it, such as Clarkenwell and Shoreditch. As such, it captures much of the heart of London’s coffee scene, from the narrow, winding lanes in the heart of the city to the hipster enclave of Shoreditch.

As with all these guides, this is not, and does not claim to be, a comprehensive guide to the coffee scene in East Central London. While you’re here, why not check out the rest of the Coffee Guides to London?


Header image: The City of London skyline, seen looking east along the Thames late on a summer’s evening.


Coffee Spots

Alchemy Café

Details of the Nicaraguan La Venus Filter Coffee, complete with tasting notes, available from the Alchemy Cafe.After finally managed to visit Durham’s Flat White after many years of trying, I found myself in the City of London last week, walking past another stalwart of Britain’s speciality coffee scene, Alchemy. A roastery (based in Wimbledon) with a single coffee shop in the narrow lanes south and west of St Paul’s Cathedral, Alchemy just pre-dates the Coffee Spot. It’s another of those places that I’ve been aware of for as long as I’ve been doing the Coffee Spot, having wandered past on several occasions, thinking that I must go in. Sadly, the timing has never been right. So when I wandered past last Thursday, in I went.

The Alchemy Café occupies a bright, square space on the corner of Ludgate Broadway and Carter Lane. It’s an area that is now well-served by speciality coffee shops, but Alchemy’s one of the stalwarts, having first opened its doors in 2013. As nice as the space is, the real draw is the coffee, with two options on espresso, plus a single-origin on pour-over and another on batch-brew. There’s also cold brew, various teas plus a selection of cake and savouries, while Alchemy’s complete range of beans is available in retail bags.

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Artigiano Espresso, St Paul's

The Artigiano Espresso Logo, a capital A in gold on a slate-grey circle, with the words "Eat & Drink * Work & Play * Coffee & Food * Wine & Beer" written around the edge.In typical Coffee Spot fashion, I have visited the branches of Artigiano Espresso in reverse order, starting with the most recently opened in Exeter, at the start of this year, before moving onto the (now sadly closed) branch on New Oxford Street a month later. It then took me the rest of the year to get around to visiting the original Artigiano Espresso, located directly north of St Paul’s Cathedral on Paternoster Square in the heart of the City of London. And just in time too, since there’s another Artigiano opening in Reading on Wednesday!

If you’ve been to either of the other Artigiano Espressos, the original will look very familiar. It’s the smallest of the three, even taking into account that it’s split over two floors, with a lovely, cosy basement. Very much a coffee bar during the day, catering to city workers, it turns into a wine bar in the evening, and a very successful one at that if the Friday night I went past was anything to go by (it was heaving!). I turned up the following Saturday morning for breakfast: again, timing was on my side, since Artigiano has only recently started opening at weekends.

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Association Coffee

Association Coffee as written on the window in the store on Creechchurch LaneAssociation Coffee, on Creechurch Lane in the heart of the City of London, joins a very select list of L-shaped coffee shops (from memory, Le Lapin Pressé, The Borough Barista and Darkhorse Espresso), although in fairness to the others, Association actually looks like two shops with the dividing wall knocked through. In theory, that should leave us with a square, but the back half of the second shop has been walled off by a large mirror behind the counter, thus creating the L-shape.

Serving up a variety of Square Mile coffee on espresso and Aeropress, Association is one of those places that I’ve visited a couple of times without ever having the time/opportunity to write it up for the Coffee Spot. So, when I had a couple of hours to kill on the day of the tube strike, I thought it was high time that I rectified this oversight.

Association is also a place I associate with fellow coffee blogger, Kate Beard (aka A Southern Belle in London), since the previous two times I was there, it was to meet up with her. So it was no great surprise when, completely unannounced, she walked in halfway through my visit!

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Beany Green, Liverpool Street

A flat white at Beany Green in Broadgate Circle, with the latte art holding its pattern all the way down to the bottom of the cup.The latest Beany Green, the fifth to date, is in the newly-refurbished Broadgate Circle, just northwest of Liverpool Street Station. It’s a lovely setting, perhaps Beany’s most ambitious yet, but goes back to Beany’s roots, replacing a hole-in-the-wall takeout operation that, for the last couple of years, had served coffee to Liverpool Street from just across the way from the new location.

At first sight, the new Beany’s quite small, just large enough for four tables and a couple of window bars. However, just like the original Daisy Green, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. For starters, if you skip the front door and go around to the right, you’ll find two dedicated takeaway windows which are an excellent idea. Even better, if you keep on going, you’ll come out on the Beany Balcony, overlooking the interior of Broadgate Circle. On a sunny day, there’s no better spot!

All the usual Beany features are here: super-friendly staff, excellent espresso-based coffee from The Roasting Party, fresh flowers on the tables, an obsession with bananas and deckchairs, quirky artwork from Shuby and innovative food. Add to that beer, wine and cocktails and you’re on to a real winner!

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Bea’s of Bloomsbury Farringdon

Bea's of bloomsbury, from the sign hanging outside the Farringdon branch.Today’s Saturday Supplement (yes, I know it’s a Wednesday; shush!) is a two-for-the-price of one deal: a visit to the third Bea’s of Bloomsbury outpost at Farringdon, and an update of sorts on the original Bea’s of Bloomsbury on Theobalds Road.

Having written about the original Bea’s and then the second outpost in St Paul’s within the first four months of the Coffee Spot’s life, I’ve taken my time to get to the third, and latest, of the Bea’s of Bloomsbury Empire of Cake. In fairness to myself, the Farringdon branch (or Mini-Bea’s as I like to call it) wasn’t actually open when I wrote about the first two. Even so…

Tucked away opposite Farringdon station in a curiously-shaped little building that’s almost all windows, there’s not a lot to Bea’s. Certainly it’s not the sort of place you go for a sit-down afternoon tea (unlike the other two). Although a pair of benches graces the pedestrianised street outside (with an excellent view of the Cross-rail excavations), this really is a takeaway coffee-and-cake kind of place, with a major emphasis on the cake (although there are sandwiches as well). Mind you, I expect nothing less when the company's motto is “life is short, eat more cake”!

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Bea’s of Bloomsbury St Paul’s

Having been to Bea’s of Bloomsbury’s original branch and spiritual home in Bloomsbury, it was inevitable that I would end up in Bea’s of Bloomsbury’s St Paul’s branch (hereafter referred to as “Bea’s of St Paul’s” to avoid confusion). And so it was that one misty, grey, autumn day, I found myself in the shadow of St Paul’s at One New Change, the home of Bea’s of St Paul’s. Well, it would have been rude not to go in…

If you haven’t already worked out from my previous post that Bea’s is all about the cake, you really haven’t been paying attention. The St Paul’s branch is no different in that respect. Atmosphere-wise, someone described Bea’s of St Paul’s as more posh, but for me, the feeling was more modern. Or perhaps contemporary would be a better word. Bea’s of Bloomsbury has a cosy, old-fashioned  tea-shop feel, where you sit cheek-by-jowl with the cakes, whereas at St Paul’s up on the mezzanine level, you are slightly more detached. The cake tastes just as good though!

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Caravan Exmouth Market

The Caravan logo from the sign outside the original Exmouth Market branch.Caravan is a rather successful chain of three coffee shop/restaurants, with a significant in-house roastery, supplying coffee shops all around the country with a variety of blends and single-origins. However, this is where it all started back in 2010 on the corner of London’s Exmouth Market. This is the original Caravan, which is still going strong, coffee shop by day, restaurant by night, serving excellent coffee and food throughout the day. Unlike others of its ilk, such as Notes and Grind, both of which now roast their own coffee, Caravan was a roaster from the start and, indeed, the original roaster is still down in the basement at Exmouth Market.

Caravan sits on a sunny, south-facing corner, windows on two sides, outside seating spilling out on Exmouth Market itself. Inside, coffee excellence is taken as standard, with a blend and single-origin on espresso, two more on pour-over and a third on batch-brew. However, Caravan is also about food, with table service to match. There’s an excellent, extensive breakfast menu until 11.30, with an all-day menu of small/large plates from noon. At weekends, brunch takes over from 10 until four. There’s also beer, cider, cocktails, spirits and a massive wine list.

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Curators Coffee Studio

A nine-leaf tulip latte-art pattern in a classic white cup, seen from above.Fitzrovia’s Curators Coffee Gallery has long been a favourite of mine, a convenient stopping off point when going to the BBC Radio Theatre for recordings. However, until the start of this month, in typical Coffee Spot fashion, I’d never been to the original, the Curators Coffee Studio in the heart of the City of London. I’d been past a couple of times, but I’d always been in a hurry and, like last week’s Saturday Short, New Row Coffee, I’d always been put off by the (lack of) size. The loss has been all mine…

Curators, as the name “studio” suggests, is small, no more than a rectangle on a corner, principally catering to the office takeaway trade (it’s shut at the weekends). Despite this, if you’re staying in, the coffee is served in proper cups and there’s a neat window-bar/table, plus some handy seating outside.

The coffee is from Nude Espresso, who provide the house-blend, while there’s also a guest espresso (from Square Mile while I was there), plus decaf and bulk-brew (another Square Mile during my visit). If you’re hungry, Curators has a limited, but decent, range of cakes and sandwiches, plus, as the benches outside proudly proclaim, breakfast.

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Exmouth Market Grind

The right-hand side of Exmouth Market Grind, looking out onto Exmouth Market, it's doors flung open in the warm, May weather.Exmouth Market Grind, which opened earlier this year, is another recent addition to the Grind empire, which started with Shoreditch Grind. Since then, Grind has grown and evolved, morphing from its roots as an espresso bar by day, and cocktail bar by night, to include roasting its own coffee and adding substantial breakfast and all-day menus at the likes of London Grind.

Exmouth Market Grind falls into this latter category, as much a restaurant as it is a coffee shop. In this, it’s in good company, sitting diagonally across from that Exmouth Market institution, Caravan. The breakfast menu contains all the usual favourites, such as smashed avocado, various eggs on toast, pancakes, French Toast and more the traditional full English breakfast (plus a vegetarian version). The all-day menu takes over after noon, with small plates, a variety of interesting mains and a selection of salads. And, of course, there’s coffee, with a seasonal house-blend plus a single-origin on espresso.

This is the brightest, most open of all the Grinds that I’ve been to, and also the quietest. If there’s one thing I’ve struggled with when it comes to Grind over the years, they can sometimes be too loud for me.

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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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Ground Control

A shot of the Ethiopian Coffee Company's seasonal blend in a beautiful blue cup at its Islington cafe, Ground Control.I first became aware of the Ethiopian Coffee Company not long after starting the Coffee Spot, when I discovered its stall at the Southbank Centre Food Market (which I’ve still not written up, despite visiting the market last weekend!). Back then the Ethiopian Coffee Company had a coffee shop which, if memory serves, was in Bow, but was in the process of moving to new premises in Islington. Since then I’ve enjoyed the Ethiopian Coffee Company’s coffee in Liverpool, for example, at Coffee & Fandisha, but I’ve never made it to the “new” coffee shop.

Four years on, and the new coffee shop, which goes by the name Ground Control, is not so new anymore, but I’ve finally managed to pay a belated visit. As the name suggests, the Ethiopian Coffee Company only roasts coffee from Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. There’s a monthly blend on espresso, a single-origin on pour-over, plus a wide selection of tea from Cardiff’s Waterloo Tea. If you’re hungry there are toasties and cake, all served in a delightful, compact spot with almost as many seats outside as in. It’s so lovely, in fact, that you’d be justified in asking what took me so long…

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Lazy Coffee Cart

A lovely flat white in my Global WAKEcup coffee mug, made with a Colombian single-origin from Curve Coffee Roasters by Matt at The Lazy Coffee Cart.Abchurch Yard in the City of London, has been home to various coffee carts over the years, including Flat Cap (old Cannon Street site) and, most recently, Feijoa Tree. However, at the start of June, Matt took over the pitch, a lovely young man who I met in 2016 when he was in charge of the CanDo Coffee kiosk in Paddington.

Currently, Matt has a fairly simple set-up, with a single mobile stand sheltering under a large umbrella. There’s a single-origin espresso from Curve Coffee Roasters, along with a decaf from Caravan, served from a basic espresso menu, although, in a neat twist, everything costs £2.50. Matt also has matcha all the way from Japan, a small number of cakes and retail bags of various single-origins from Curve. It’s takeaway cups only, so don’t forget to bring your own, although there are some seats if you want to hang around.

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Look Mum No Hands! Old Street

Look Mum No Hands! sign, proclaiming itself as a Cafe, Bar & (Bike) Workshop.To celebrate the Tour de France, which enters its last week today, I thought it was about time I visited one of London’s most famous cycling cafés, Old Street’s Look Mum No Hands!. Ironically, I wrote about Look Mum No Hands! South Bank pop-up this time last year, with an update last month, so I really was overdue a visit to where it all started.

Towards the western end of Old Street, Look Mum No Hands! occupies a long, low building on the north side of the street. This being Look Mum, it’s one of the most bike-friendly places I’ve been: lots of bike-rack space out in the courtyard, a free pump for anyone wanting to top-up their tyre pressure and, just inside the door, a bike workshop.

That said, let’s not overlook the café side of the equation. With coffee from Square Mile, Look Mum No Hands! holds its own in an area dominated by top-notch coffee shops. There’s no pour-over or fancy options, just straight-forward espresso, loads of cake and a decent selection of other drinks. This backed up by a comprehensive food menu, served throughout the day, from 7.30 in the morning to 10 o’clock at night.

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MacIntyre Coffee

The store front of MacIntyre Coffee on St John's Road, London.MacIntyre Coffee, on St John Street, just south of the Angel tube station, is the permanent home of what was originally a pop-up in Shoreditch, followed by another at Old Street Roundabout. Heritage aside, what makes MacIntyre stand out from the crowd is the equipment: home to one of (I believe) just four Modbar espresso and steam installations in London, it’s also the only UK speciality coffee shop that I know of which uses the Alpha Dominche Steampunk machine for filter coffee and tea.

There’s not a lot to MacIntyre, just a simple rectangular layout, window at the front, counter at the back, seating at bar along the right-hand side, all of which puts the focus firmly on the coffee, which is supplied by Modern Standard. There’s a single-origin on espresso and another through the Steampunk, the grinding done on demand by the ubiquitous EK-43. The options change every week or two, while there’s a wider selection of beans for sale.

The coffee is backed up with a selection of breakfast options baked on-site. There are pastries, cookies and sandwiches, most of which are gone by lunchtime, plus Mörk hot chocolate from Australia and an interesting selection of loose-leaf tea.

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Origin, Charlotte Road

A glass Kalita Wave Filter sitting on a glass Kalita carafe which itself is on a pair of black Acaia scales. The ground coffee has been put in the filter paper, ready for brewing.Once upon a time, it was quite hard to get Cornwall’s Origin Coffee Roasters in London, with Selfridges being your best option, along with Artigiano Espresso. These days there’s also the likes of Jika Jika on Euston Square and now, there’s Origin’s own café on Charlotte Road in Shoreditch (where else?). This is very much a flagship café, designed to showcase Origin’s considerable range of coffee, particularly the single-origins. It also doubles as Origin’s London training base, with a large training room in the basement below.

It’s not a huge space and it’s remarkably uncluttered, leaving the focus firmly on the coffee, something which is reinforced by reversing the normal order of things on the counter. A typical coffee shop puts the cake/food first so that customers will file past it on their way to order, hopefully tempting them as they go.

At Origin, the cake is tucked away at the far end of the counter and the prime spot, clearly visible through the window, is the filter bar. Here pour-over coffee is prepared in full view of anyone who wants to sit and watch, as well as anyone wandering past on the street outside. Now that’s a statement!

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Prufrock Coffee

Seen outside Prufrock Coffee. I'm not quite sure what it is, but I like it!Prufrock Coffee on Clerkenwell’s Leather Lane, sits at the edge of the City of London, near the border with Camden and Hackney. It’s one of those legendary names in London coffee, with an equally legendary director in Gwilym Davies, along with Jeremy Challender and Klaus Kuhnke. Of course, if you don’t move in London coffee circles (I don’t really; I’m not convinced I’d recognise Gwilym if I fell over him!) then all this means nothing, leaving Prufrock to stand or fall by its success as a coffee shop.

Given how busy it was during my visit, I’d say it was doing fairly well in the success stakes. The clear focus is on the coffee, which comes from London’s Square Mile (no great surprise, given its links with Gwilym). There’s Red Brick and an Ethiopian Debllo single-origin on espresso and a pair of single-origins on pour-over, one through Aeropress (Buzira from Burundi) and the other through V60 (a Juan Ticona from Bolivia).

There’s a limited cake range, with breakfast (until 11.30) and lunch (until 15:30), all prepared in the small kitchen behind the counter. While I was there, the smell of toasted banana bread kept wafting over; for once I resisted.

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Rosslyn Coffee

The clock at Rosslyn Coffee where it's always coffee time.The City of London has always had good coffee as long as you know where to look for it. Initially, this was from a handful of pioneers, such as Alchemy Café and Taylor Street Baristas, but these days there seems to be great coffee springing up everywhere! One of the latest additions is Rosslyn Coffee on Queen Victoria Street, which opened in February this year. Other than its excellent coffee, Rosslyn’s claim to fame is that it’s in a building owned by Sir Alan Sugar.

Although a new name to speciality coffee, the team behind it, an Aussie-Irish duo, have years of experience behind them, having originally met working for Caravan (more Aussie connections). Although Aussie owned/inspired cafes are often known for their brunches as much as their coffee (eg Beany Green, Caravan), here at Rosslyn, the focus is on the coffee, combined with Aussie hospitality. There’s a house-blend, guest and decaf on espresso, a single-origin guest on pour-over (via the Marco Beverage Systems SP9) and a bulk-brew using a second single-origin. Although you are welcome to stay, Rosslyn is not really a place for lingering, with limited seating/standing at a series of window-bars that line the space.

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Shoreditch Grind

The Shoreditch Grind logo, written on the wall of Shoreditch Grind.Shoreditch Grind is where London’s rapidly-expanding Grind chain (to-date, six, with a seventh coming next month) began in 2011, on the north side of London’s famous Old Street roundabout. In true Coffee Spot fashion, I’d already visited a couple of the other Grinds (the now-closed Piccadilly Grind and the still-going-strong Soho Grind). With that in mind, I decided it’s about time the Coffee Spot features the Grind mother-ship…

Although all the Grinds are different in terms of layout and atmosphere, this is the (successful) template that all the other Grinds follow, establishing the now-familiar formula of coffee by day and cocktails by night, along with an impressive (and evolving) food offering. This includes a full breakfast menu (served, as it should be, until three in the afternoon), sandwiches, cake and, in the evenings, small plates and more recently, pizza.

Grind will be roasting its own coffee in the near future, but for now Hove’s Small Batch fulfils that role, roasting the bespoke, seasonal house-blend (used in milk drinks), single-origin (used for espresso & short/long blacks) and the decaf, which all grace Grind’s espresso machines. There’s also Sandow’s cold brew on tap and a well-stocked bar for those evening cocktails.

January/May 2017: Grind is now roasting its own coffee. You can see what I made of it at London Grind (January) and Exmouth Market Grind (May).

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Taylor Street Baristas, The Shed

The opening times, and a grinning skull, taken from the door of Taylor St Baristas, The Shed.Taylor Street Baristas, one of London’s best-known mini-chains, seems to specialise in quirky locations in slightly out-of-the-way places, such as the Taylor Street Gallery, tucked away down an alley behind Monument. The Shed, as its Shoreditch branch is known, is arguably harder find, and is one of the oldest Taylor Street Barista branches.

Housed in an actual garden shed, it’s well-named: a tiny, intimate spot, where the outside seating, in the shape of multiple tables and chairs, easily outnumbers the four seats inside, which are at two bars, one in the window between the two doors and one along the back of the left-hand wall.

Despite its size, The Shed has a decent range of coffee, with two options, plus decaf, on espresso, a single-origin on bulk-brew, and a selection of loose-leaf teas from London’s Postcard Teas. This is backed up with various breakfast goodies and cakes throughout the day.

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Taylor Street Gallery

A latte-art style fern above the words "taylor st baristas" with "finely crafted coffee" written underneath, all in white on a black oval.I’ve long been a fan of Taylor Street Baristas, one of London’s best-known mini chains. However, I came to Taylor Street through its much-loved (now sadly-missed) branch on Brighton’s Queen Street. Until last week, the only Taylor Street Baristas I’d visited in London was the equally lovely Mayfair branch. That I tracked down the diminutive Taylor Street Gallery (sometimes known as the Monument branch) is due to a chance encounter with the manager, Lisa-Laura, at this year’s London Coffee Festival.

Taylor Street was founded in 2006 by the three Tolley siblings, who run the company to this day. Until recently, a variety of roasters appeared at the various cafés, but Taylor Street now roasts its own coffee. While production ramps up, the Gallery’s the only one exclusively using Taylor Street Roasted, with other branches taking it as a guest espresso/filter.

The Gallery itself is a delightful place which seats about 20 in a slightly subterranean setting, with two more small tables outside in the narrow alley it calls home. Despite the size, there’s a single-origin on espresso, two more on filter (batch-brew or V60), the coffee changing every couple of days. There’s a decent range of cakes and savouries too.

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The Fleet Street Press

The A-Board from The Fleet Street Press: a hand-written sign say "Great coffee" with an arrow pointing towards the coffee shop and another arrow, pointing the other way, labelled "Corporate coffee".My visit to The Fleet Street Press was an exercise in going from the sublime to the ridiculous, since I had just come from the soaring, glorious space that is The Wren, to the small, intimate series of spaces that make up The Fleet Street Press. Really, the two of them are like chalk and cheese, representing the two extremes of coffee shop spaces, and yet I love them both.

The Fleet Street Press fills a fairly awkward, long, thin space at the start of Fleet Street, opposite the Royal Courts of Justice. Spread over two floors, the highlight is a cosy basement, stuffed with sofas and armchairs, although upstairs, with its bright, window seats, bar opposite the counter and intimate nook at the back, is pretty decent too.

Talking of decent, The Fleet Street Press serves a bespoke seasonal house-blend (The Press Blend) on the espresso machine, roasted by Caravan, plus regular guests and a daily-changing single-origin on filter. Add to that a wide range of loose-leaf tea from London Leaf and award-winning hot chocolate from Kokoa Collection and you’re onto a winner. And I’ve not even mentioned the wide range of cakes and the friendly staff…

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The Wren

An outline image of a Wren, inside a white chalk circle, the symbol of the coffee shop, The Wren.Set in the soaring nave of Christopher Wren’s St Nicholas Cole Abbey, The Wren’s quite possibly the most delightful coffee shop setting I’ve had the pleasure to step into. The only relevant question is what took me so long, since it’s been on my list from the day it opened!

Situated between St Paul’s Cathedral and the Thames, the church is accessed via a flight of steps, leading up from the busy dual carriageway that is Queen Victoria Street. You can sit outside if you like, either at a small, shady cluster of tables, tucked away around a corner at the bottom of the steps, or on the large, sun-drenched terraced at the top. For me, however, the real pleasure is in the gloriously spacious interior.

The coffee is from London’s Workshop, with the seasonal Cult of Done blend on espresso and rotating single origin beans on the V60 filter. Loose-leaf tea is from Merseyside’s Brew Tea Co and there’s a range of soft drinks. At lunchtime, there’s a choice of quiche, salad, soup and sandwiches, while for breakfast there are pastries, toast and granola. The food offering is rounded off with a small but interesting cake range.

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To A Tea

From the menu of "To A Tea" with the slogan "Take Time for Tea"You’ve got to love the attitude of the owner, Stas Leonidou, and the whole ethos of To A Tea. Anyone who is prepared to have three different hot water boilers, each set to a different temperature, so that he can brew the perfect cuppa depending on the type of tea, has to be admired. And I don’t even drink the stuff.

To A Tea is my kind of place. Forget that he’s got the emphasis wrong (tea, not coffee), forget the cakes (they’re excellent by the way), forget the friendly atmosphere, the comfortable chairs, the superb staff. Anyone who takes this much care and shows this much passion about what he does deserves to succeed.

Well, actually that’s not entirely true. If you showed this much passion and then made lousy tea, you’d deserve to fail, but To A Tea does everything right, including the coffee. Go there, drink the tea and coffee, eat the cake, make the business thrive. Oh, and tell Stas that he needs to open a branch in Guildford!

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V69

The front of Bespoke Cycling on Milk Street in the City of London, home of V69.The association between coffee and cycling is a long and honourable one. V69 is one such example, having opened in 2016, part of the growing speciality coffee scene in the City of London. It occupies a large counter with a limited amount of seating just inside the door of the Bespoke Cycling shop on Gresham Street, between St Mary-le-Bow church and the Guildhall. If you don’t want to go inside, there’s also a takeaway window that opens directly onto the street.

The coffee is from Margate’s Curve Coffee Roasters and London’s Workshop, plus occasional guests, with a range of single-origins on espresso (one each) and pour-over through the V60. There’s also a daily option on batch-brew through the Moccamaster. The milk, meanwhile, is from Estate Dairy, with non-dairy alternatives in the shape of oat, soy and almond milks. If you’re hungry, there’s a breakfast menu, plus a selection of cakes.

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Wild & Wood, London Wall

A lovely, creamy piccolo in a classic espresso cup, seen from above on an over-sized floral saucer.Wild & Wood is something of a pioneer in London’s speciality coffee scene. When it opened in 2008, the number speciality coffee shops in London could still be counted just using your fingers and toes. It’s also one of the first Coffee Spots I ever wrote about, Wild & Wood having been a regular haunt of mine in the years before I started the Coffee Spot. I also revisited it in April last year.

For seven years, Wild & Wood went about its business in its own uncompromising way from a small shop on New Oxford Street. Then, earlier this year, the building was cleared for redevelopment and Wild & Wood was left homeless, much to the consternation of its many fans and regular customers.

However, this particular story has a happy ending as, at the end of August, Wild & Wood reappeared on London Wall. Those who fear that the move will have ruined Wild & Wood needn’t worry: owners Bozena and Kit have pretty much transplanted Wild & Wood, keeping the same atmosphere and attitude that made it so popular.

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Map

If you don’t like lists or just want to see where everything is, you can use the map to find your way around. Note that this shows the closest 50 Coffee Spots to the centre of the EC postcode region, not just those Coffee Spots in the EC region.

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