West London

Skip straight to map. Skip straight to list.

The Coffee Spot Guide to West London

The BT Tower, as seen looking east from the area around Paddington Station.The Coffee Spot Guide to West London includes everything with a postcode starting with W. Other than the two central areas (East Central London and West Central London), this is the most compact of the London postcode areas, a thin strip extending from Soho in central London through the likes of Mayfair, Hyde Park and Notting Hill, then Shepherd’s Bush, Acton and Ealing, all the way to Hanwell, with a small extension to the south to take in Chiswick. If you think in railway lines, then it’s pretty much a wide strip either side of the Great Western Line out of Paddington.

I’ve got a fairly good covering of the Coffee Spots in and around Soho and Mayfair, while the area is also fairly well represented further west since I used to work at Sheldon Square by Paddington Station for almost three years. Even so, as with all of my guides, it should not be taken as, nor does it claim to be, comprehensive.

While you’re here, why not check out the rest of the Coffee Guides to London?


Header image: Hyde Park, looking north towards Lancaster Gate from the Italianate Gardens.


Coffee Spots

Algerian Coffee Stores

Algerian Coffee StoresI’m not going to say it’s the best, since I know there are very many fine purveyors of coffee beans in London, but put simply, the Algerian Coffee Stores on Old Compton Street is my (London) coffee retailer of choice. It has a massive range of coffee, plus various types of tea and an interesting selection of confectionery. If you don’t know what you want, just ask: the staff are very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.

The Algerian Coffee Stores also serves take-away coffee, which, naturally, is of the highest quality. It also happens to be one of the cheapest cups of coffee you’ll find in London. The only downside is that the coffee can only be served in takeaway cups, so if you’re going to have an espresso, don’t forget to bring your own cup.

Continue reading...

Artisan, Ealing

A "wheel of fortune" style wheel from Artisan, Ealing. When a customer gets enough stamps on a loyalty card, instead of getting a free coffee, a spin of the wheel is offered instead, with eight options ranging from a glass of tap water to a bag of beans or five free coffees.Located on Ealing’s busy New Broadway, with a neat set of tables on the pavement outside, the Ealing branch of Artisan celebrated its first birthday just a couple of weeks ago. Joining the likes of the long-established Electric Coffee Company and fellow newcomers, Café Zee, Artisan is helping make Ealing a place worth visiting just for the coffee.

The third of four Artisans, it follows the original, which opened its doors less than four years ago Putney. Each of the Artisans is very much its own place. This one’s long, although not particularly thin (it’s wide enough for three rows of tables at the back), full of upcycled furniture, wooden floorboards, bare plaster and lights shrouded in paper-bag lampshades. Right at the back is the Artisan Coffee School (which will be the subject of its own Saturday Supplement in due course), which doubles as extra seating when there are no classes going on.

The coffee is from London’s Allpress, with the ubiquitous Redchurch blend on espresso. Filter coffee comes through the V60, with beans from London’s Nude Espresso and Berlin’s The Barn. Food is an equal part of the offering, with decent breakfast and lunch menus, plus lots of cake!

Continue reading...

Attendant

The entrance to Attendant, in an old men's public lavatory on London's Foley Street.I’ve been to all sorts of coffee spots, in all sorts of places, but I don’t think that I’ve ever been anywhere quite as innovative when it comes the setting as Attendant. As the name hints, Attendant is in a (disused) Victorian (men’s) public lavatory on London’s Foley Street. If that sounds weird, it is, and yet it’s also genius.

The great thing about Attendant is that it’s kept most of the original fittings, incorporating them into the design. The result is a quirky, unique place. For some, that would have been enough, relying on the gimmick alone to draw in the punters. Not, however, Attendant, which has aimed firmly for the top of the speciality coffee market, going with local roasters Caravan, from up the road at Kings Cross. It also offers a wide range of sandwiches and cakes, again with an emphasis on quality and local produce.

Attendant is pretty small and, when I was there, it was very busy. However, a high staff-to-customer ratio, with a minimum three staff on duty during my visit, meant that everything was handled very smoothly. Ironically, for a café in an ex-public lavatory, there’s no toilet!

Continue reading...

Bar Italia

A legend in its own considerable lifetime, the family-run Bar Italia in Soho is the closest London gets to a typical, Italian espresso bar, which is probably why I like it so much. The espresso alone is reason enough to come here. It is, for me, pretty much perfect. Strong, very short, smooth and with just a hint of bitterness in the after taste: I really can’t imagine improving on it in any way.

The only problem is that while Soho is a great place, I’ve never had a particular reason to go there. It’s not on my way to anywhere or near anywhere I regularly visit. So, while I’ve been a visitor to Bar Italia for at least 10 years, I didn’t used to go there that often. However, for the last couple of years, I’ve taken to coming here specifically to treat myself, just for the love of the coffee. Really, I can’t give it any higher recommendation than that.

Continue reading...

Beany Green, Paddington

One of Beany Green's A-boards, promising Aussie Coffee, Home-made Banana Bread and FREE hugs!If you’ve talked to me at any length about being the writer of the Coffee Spot, you’ll know that the only downside is that I don’t really have a regular coffee shop I can call my own. The problem is, while I’m out and about, the desire to visit new places for the Coffee Spot trumps visiting old favourites. The closest I had to a regular was Bar des Arts in my home town of Guildford, until, that is, Beany Green turned up in Paddington.

Those who follow me on social media will probably be aware that I spend one day a week in Paddington doing my “proper” job. For a long time, this was a desert when it came to decent coffee. Then, in quick succession, Burito 8 started serving Climpson and Sons, the Can Do Coffee barge turned up and Beany Green opened.

Now, on my weekly visit to the office, I take KeepCup or JOCO Cup to visit Beany Green at least once a day (and usually two or three times). You would think, given the frequency of my visits, that I’d have sampled the entire coffee menu by now, but I usually have a flat white…

Continue reading...

Bica Coffee House

Bica, at Westbourne Park Station. A small serving hatch surrounding by green tiles.Tucked away in Westbourne Park tube station on the Circle and Hammersmith & City Lines, two stops west of Paddington, is the delightful Bica Coffee House. Having bemoaned the absence of top quality coffee in tube stations, I’ve now found two in as many months. However, unlike Piccadilly Grind, which I believe is a pop-up, Bica is here to stay.

Serving takeaway only, It’s a small spot, occupying what could have been an old booking office or kiosk. There is, however, a generous serving hatch and shelf, which is large and deep enough for a decent display of pastries and other baked goodies, as well as affording a view of the bright red two-group La Marzocco.

Unlike many coffee stalls/kiosks at stations, Bica’s commitment to excellence is there at the outset. The coffee is from east London roasters Nude Espresso and there are no 12-second extractions here, despite the steady stream of customers, while the milk is properly steamed, resulting in a great texture. There’s a decent range of espresso-based drinks: espresso and Americano, plus macchiato, cortado, flat white, latte and cappuccino. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s mocha and hot chocolate, plus tea of various types.

Continue reading...

Café Zee

The front of Cafe Zee on Ealing's New Broadway. The roaster can be seen at the back through the door.Café Zee is a recent addition to Ealing’s coffee scene, joining such established players as Munson’s and the Electric Coffee Company. It arrived in July 2014, opening a few weeks before Artisan, which is just across the road on the busy New Broadway, a few minutes’ walk from the station.

From the street, the sumptuously-appointed Café Zee catches the eye and it looks even better inside. Inspired by the Art Deco cafés of Latin America, it really does have a beautifully-done interior, the sort of elegance I’m used to seeing in the likes of Notes on St Martin’s Lane or Paris’ Angelina.

The other thing that catches the eye is the bold pronouncements of artisan coffee, roasted on the premises, which, I must admit, threw me a little. This kind of elegance is not something I normally associate with a café-cum-roaster (somewhere like Glasgow’s Papercup Coffee Company more readily springs to mind). However, head right to the back of the café and there you’ll find a modest 6kg Giesen roaster, surrounded by sacks of green beans.

However, there’s a lot more to Café Zee than mere elegance and freshly-roasted coffee, including a pretty decent menu and an exceptional cake selection!

Continue reading...

CanDo Coffee, Paddington

An A-board showing two stick figures talking. The first asks "So where do the profits go?" and the second answers "All our profits are spent on training and giving jobs to people that need it!". Underneath it says "100% non-profit coffee project using Monmouth espresso".I first discovered CanDo Coffee in 2014, when it popped up on a canal boat moored outside the rear entrance to London’s Paddington Station. However, that was a short-lived appearance and I heard no more about CanDo Coffee until word reached me that it had returned with a more permanent-looking pitch a little further down the canal in the direction of Paddington Basin.

I popped back to my old haunts a couple of weeks ago to check out old favourite Beany Green and also to track down the new CanDo Coffee. Tucked away on the tow path, it’s a delightful spot with a couple of outside tables, serving excellent Monmouth espresso, with a few treats thrown in for good measure. There’s also a motorised trike on the other side of the canal, but it’s only open from 07:30 – 11:30 on weekdays and I was too late to catch it.

June 2017: CanDo Coffee now uses Electric Coffee Company (and has done for some time, I've just been slow on the uptake).

June 2018: The second pitch has migrated eastward to Merchant Square, moprhing into a trailer along the way. It's also now open until 3 o'clock in the afternoon. You can see what I made of it when I visited in June.

July 2018: Matt, who was running CanDo when I visited in 2016, now has his own set-up in the City, the Lazy Coffee Cart.

Continue reading...

CanDo Coffee, Merchant Square

A lovely espresso made using Electric Coffee Company's Rocket 88 blend at Can Do Coffee on Merchant Square, served in my Kaffeeform cup made from recycled coffee grounds.CanDo Coffee was one of many speciality coffee places to spring up around my old stomping grounds of Sheldon Square/the back of Paddington Station once I’d stopped working there at the end of 2015. In the case of CanDo Coffee, it first made a brief appearance in a canal boat in 2014, before reappearing in 2016 with a permanent pitch by the canal outside the back entrance to the station. There was a second CanDo Coffee pitch just over the canal at the western end of Paddington Basin. This slowly migrated eastwards over the next two years, reaching Merchant Square and the Floating Pocket Park at the eastern end of Paddington Basin by the time I returned to the area for a week at the start of June.

Serving espresso-based drinks using the Rocket 88 blend from Ealing’s Electric Coffee Company, it was just outside my hotel, making a perfect early morning coffee stop on my daily walk to the office. CanDo Coffee serves principally takeaway customers and only has takeaway cups, so don’t forget to bring your own. However, if you do want to linger, there are several tables scattered around on the grass of the park.

Continue reading...

Crosstown Doughnuts, Soho

The Crosstown Doughnut logo from outside the coffee shop in Soho.In London, “Crosstown” is synonymous with “doughnut”. You can purchase these delightful creations from various Crosstown Doughnuts market stalls (I’ve visited both King’s Cross and Old Spitalfields) while they’re also available in several speciality coffee shops (again, from personal experience, Notes, King's Cross and Origin at the British Library). However, for the last year, you’ve been able to get them in Crosstown’s own coffee shop in Soho, where you can wash down your doughnut with some excellent Caravan coffee. Or Kokoa Collection hot chocolate if you’ve not had a sufficient sugar rush!

It’s a small place, with enough space for a doughnut-laden counter (right) and a five-person bar (left). However, it’s worth paying a visit, if only because I know of nowhere else where you can sit in such close proximity to so many superb doughnuts. Beware though: Crosstown only has takeaway cups, so don’t forget to bring your own.

Continue reading...

Curators Coffee Gallery

The Curators Coffee sign.I haven’t been to the original Curators in the City. The closest I got was walking past while thinking “wow, that’s small!”. In contrast, the second Curators, Fitzrovia’s Curators Coffee Gallery, is palatial in size. This comparison holds when considering the other Coffee Spots in Fitzrovia, where it vies with the likes of the tiny Mother’s Milk, through the (fairly small) Kaffeine, all the way up to the (not very big) Attendant and Workshop. Curators is so (comparatively) big that there’s a basement, and you all know my opinion of that!

Coffee-wise, Curators more than holds its own, the space giving it the freedom to offer a wide range of coffee. There’s a La Marzocco Strada dispensing the house espresso from Nude, alongside a regularly-rotating guest from various roasters (Nude included). At the other end of the counter, a neat row of Chemex (assuming the plural of Chemex is Chemex) awaits the call, each with its own scales and brass pouring kettle. There’s a choice of two filters, again from various roasters, with Nude and Square Mile predominating, ground by an EK-43, modestly kept in a purpose-built niche amongst the shelves of coffee kit on the wall behind the counter.

February 2016: I've now (finally) rectified my oversight and visited Curators Coffee Studio, the original Curators.

Continue reading...

Daisy Green

The letters DAISY, illuminated with light bulbs, with the DIY in green and the AS in redAt last! Normal service has been resumed. After three straight Coffee Spots visiting places in the correct order, the Coffee Spot returns to form…

Regular readers will know that ever since it opened, Beany Green in Paddington has been my local, since it’s on the other side of the square from my office. I’ve also visited the South Bank branch, a quirky little container at the south end of Hungerford Bridge.

However, until last week, I’d never been to where it all began, the wonderful Daisy Green, parent of all the little Beanies spreading around London. So, on Friday, I took the plunge, forsaking lunch at Beany Green, and made the relatively short walk to Seymour Street, where, just a stone’s throw from Marble Arch and two blocks down from The Borough Barista, I visited Daisy Green.

If you’ve never been, you’re missing out. There’s the same Beany Green goodness that I’m used to: coffee from The Roasting Party, a wide range of innovative food and a selection of Aussie-inspired cakes, all in the same quirky surroundings that make the Paddington branch so wonderful. At the same time, Daisy Green is very much its own place, as you will discover…

Continue reading...

Darcie & May Green

Some lovely latte art in a flat white to go, served in my Therma Cup at May Green in Paddington.Like my waistline when I eat their cakes, the Daisy Green/Beany Green chain is rapidly expanding. From its roots as a brunch spot at the original Daisy Green, through its various Beany Green coffee shops, the chain now encompasses everything from cocktails and craft beer to sit-down restaurants, all of which are combined in the (relatively) new Darcie & May Green. Opening late last year, they are a pair of canal boats, moored stern-to-stern on Regent’s Canal , in the heart of my old stomping ground around Sheldon Square. You’ll find them outside the back entrance to Paddington Station (this is the one down the right-hand side of the station by the Hammersmith & City/Circle Line).

May Green is a coffee shop by day and craft beer/cocktail bar by night, while Darcie Green is a restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are joined by a continuous rooftop deck that runs the length of both boats. The coffee, as ever, is by fellow-Aussies, The Roasting Party, with a traditional espresso-based menu available in both May & Darcie Green, while May Green has a takeout window if you need a quick pick-me-up on the way from the station to the office.

Continue reading...

Electric Coffee Company

A flat white in a classic black cup at the Electric Coffee Company in Ealing.When the history of the recent explosion in speciality coffee in London is written, lots of attention will be given to central London and the influence that the Kiwis and Aussies had on the scene. However, I hope a chapter or two is dedicated the London borough of Ealing, so often overlooked, and to the early home-grown pioneers such as Munson’s and today’s Coffee Spot, the Electric Coffee Company.

Sat right outside Ealing Broadway station at the end of the District and Central lines and on the mainline into Paddington, there’s really no excuse for not visiting the Electric Coffee Company (although one might ask where I’ve been in the almost three years since I started the Coffee Spot…). Half of the buses to Ealing also seem to terminate outside its doors, spilling out their passengers and almost begging them to go in for coffee.

For the last seven years, the Electric Coffee Company, with husband and wife Simon and Oksana at the helm, has been serving fine coffee to commuters and residents alike. In a recent development, it has also begun roasting its own beans (initially under the name Automaton Precision Roasters, but now under the Electric Coffee brand), in a dedicated roastery down in Sussex.

Continue reading...

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.

Continue reading...

Fade To Black

The Fade to Black logo from the front of the store on Uxbridge Road in Hanwell.A couple of weeks ago, I made a trip to southwest London, taking in the likes of Beanberry Coffee, Woof Coffee and The Press Room in Twickenham. At the end of my trip, I found myself in Ealing and, since I was there, I decided that I would carry on going west. Really west. All the way out to (wait for it…) Hanwell! Well, maybe not that far west, but, as London goes, quite far, and not exactly known as a hot-bed of speciality coffee.

What had dragged me onto the No 427 bus and out along the Uxbridge Road was the prospect of breakfast (and coffee) at the interestingly-named Fade-to-Black, which, since February, has been serving espresso using Ozone’s Empire Blend to the fine folks of Hanwell, with tentative plans to add a single-origin batch-brew. This is backed up with a decent breakfast/lunch menu, complete with sandwiches and a good range of cake.

Fade to Black has a simple, welcoming interior with windows on two sides and a range of seating, including window-bars, should you want to get some people-watching done. There’s also a spacious basement which, while normally off-limits, is used for functions and events such as yoga.

Continue reading...

Farm Girl Café

Thumbnail - Farm Girl Cafe (DSC_3484t)Down an interesting passageway, just off London’s Portobello Road, you’ll find a small, high-walled courtyard and, tucked away on the left-hand side, the wonderful Farm Girl Café. Occupying an amazing space, Farm Girl Café is a real delight. You can sit outside in the courtyard, where the only downside is that, due to the high walls, it doesn’t get the sun. While this means it can be wonderfully cool and shady on the occasional day that the summer decides to turn up, it can also be decidedly chilly. That said, I sat outside on my second visit in November and was fine.

Alternatively, sit inside, either in the main body of the café, or, if there’s a crowd of you, upstairs on the delightful mezzanine above the kitchen at the long communal table. The only downside of the interior is that it can get a bit loud, the beautifully-tiled walls acting as something of an echo chamber.

Farm Girl serves a substantial all-day breakfast menu, joined by a lunch menu from 11 o’clock. The coffee’s from old friends, The Roasting Party, using the standard Party Blend, decaf on the second grinder. Best of all, Farm Girl offers full table service.

Continue reading...

Kaffeine

Kaffeine on Great Titchfield Street on a rainy October day.Kaffeine is a legend in the London Coffee scene, one of the original Australian/Kiwi-owned coffee shops that some credit with kicking off the London coffee revolution of the last few years. Just around the corner from BBC Broadcasting House on Great Titchfield Street, Kaffeine is very much known by its reputation as somewhere where you get great coffee.

That’s just as well since Kaffeine’s offering is limited by its size. There’s no Wifi or power for the laptop/internet junkies and seating is at a premium, so Kaffeine is somewhere you come for the coffee, from Square Mile, and the atmosphere created by the friendly and knowledgeable staff.

However, don’t expect fancy pour-over options or Aeropresses with a choice of multiple guest beans. While Kaffeine is definitely third wave in its outlook (no buckets of milk with a dash of coffee here), the menu is espresso-based only. When it opened four years ago, there wasn’t much competition, but now with excellent coffee shops opening left, right and centre, including Attendant a few doors up on Foley Street, Kaffeine needs to be on top of its game to stay at the forefront of the London coffee scene.

Continue reading...

Kaffeine Eastcastle

The front of Kaffeine, door to the left, windows to the right, with a pair of benches in front of the window acting as tables.Kaffeine, with its original store on Great Tichfield Street, is something of a legend in London coffee circles, part of the first wave of Aussie/Kiwi (in this case, Aussie) influenced coffee shops to appear in the capital. The second Kaffeine, a hop, skip and jump away on Eastcastle Street, took a while in coming, but in 2015 it opened its doors, effectively reproducing the original’s successful model in a similarly-sized, but differently-shaped space. This one’s a simple rectangle, with the short-side facing the street, counter on the right, seating on the left. There’s also a window bar and a long bench outside on the relatively quiet street (although I was there on Sunday).

There’s the ubiquitous Red Brick from Square Mile on espresso, all the usual favourites on the menu (the largest drink is a 7.5oz latte) and the added bonus of a coffee-tasting flight. There’s also cascara, a selection of loose-leaf teas and a small range of soft drinks. If you’re hungry, there’s a limited range of three baguettes/brioche (which can be toasted) and three salads, which you can have individually or in combination. Finally, there’s a selection of cakes, including the Aussie staple of toasted banana bread.

Continue reading...

Kin

A large chalk drawing of an octopus saying "Yo Kin" in a speech bubble, above the handwritten details of Kin's filter of the weekI’m always on the lookout for something slightly out of the ordinary, so I thought it was about time that I paid a visit to Kin, in Fitzrovia. In a city dominated by big-name local roasters such as Allpress, Caravan, Square Mile and Workshop, plus a host of other, smaller roasters, it’s always nice to find something from out of town. In this case it’s Bristol’s Clifton Coffee Roasters, with Kin using Clifton’s seasonal EQ espresso blend, plus a single-origin filter of the week on batch-brew, using the ever-reliable Moccamaster.

Kin, which will be two years old at the end of May, is in good company in this part of Fitzrovia. It’s on Foley Street, just along from Attendant and around the corner from the original Kaffeine. Long and thin, it’s an impressively bright spot, helped by generous windows at the front and a large skylight at the back. The focus at Kin is as much on the food as it is on the coffee (and loose-leaf tea from London’s Postcard Teas). There’s breakfast (served until 11.30) and lunch (12.00 to 15.30), plus copious quantities of cake to fill that awkward half-hour gap (cake is also available at other times).

Continue reading...

Kioskafé

A stylised speech bubble drawn as a human face.Kioskafé is the latest venture by Monocle, which London coffee-lovers may know through its café in Marylebone (plus another in Tokyo). Kioskafé differs from its parent in that it’s a hybrid, a cross between a newsgent (the Kiosk part) and a café (the -afé part). On Norfolk Place, it’s also significantly further west (on a central London scale; we’re not talking west, as in Ealing, or, heaven forbid, Bristol, although both are easily reached through nearby Paddington station).

That’s right, Kioskafé is just around the corner from Paddington (and across the road from St Mary’s Hospital), where it joins a small but growing band of speciality coffee shops led by Beany Green and KuPP. Serving Allpress’ Redchurch blend on espresso, Kioskafé also offers some seriously good cinnamon/cardamom buns from Fabrique Bakery, which are well worth trying. I am, by the way, indebted to Adam, a fellow Beany Green addict, for putting me onto these and for reminding me that Kioskafé had actually opened.

An excellent takeaway option if you happen to be passing by, if you’re planning on staying, there’s a choice of a pair of window bars or one of the four tables in the surprisingly comfortable outdoor seating area.

Continue reading...

KuPP

The KuPP logo in red neon.KuPP is the latest addition to the area around Paddington Station, joining the likes of Beany Green in bringing speciality coffee to this part of London. KuPP, which opened at the end of March, is half-way down Paddington Basin, on the opposite side from Saint Mary’s hospital. All things to all people, KuPP is a Scandinavian-inspired bar, restaurant and coffee shop. Obviously, I’ll be focusing on the coffee shop, but having lunched there, I can also pass comment on the food. As to the bar, I shall leave that to those more qualified than me to judge. It looks impressive though!

KuPP occupies what, in coffee shop terms, is an enormous space. Think Caravan, King's Cross size, but with a more interesting layout. The bulk of KuPP is devoted to a large dining area, with fully-retractable windows that join it up to the outside seating along the quayside. Next to that, there’s a well-stocked bar and, at the far end, a (comparatively) small but beautifully-appointed coffee shop.

The coffee’s a bespoke blend, roasted by Bristol’s Extract Coffee Roasters. There’s a standard espresso-based menu, a second option on bulk-brew filter, plus tea from Canton Tea Co and Kokoa Collection’s hot chocolate.

Continue reading...

Milk Bar

Milk Bar, with the name written in Polish in the window. Naturally.It’s taken me ages to discover Milk Bar on Bateman Street, perched towards the northern edge of Soho. On the other hand, given that it’s recently come under new management (along with its older sister, Flat White), resulting in a bit of a shake-up, perhaps I timed it perfectly.

However, discover it I did, retreating there on an impossibly busy and bustling (ie perfectly normal) Friday night in London, where Milk Bar provided me with an oasis of calm. It’s not a huge place, just an L-shaped row of tables around a large counter, but it’s exactly what I was looking for.

The coffee’s all from Square Mile (currently espresso-only, but with plans for single-origin filter in the near future). Part of the shake-up has led to a re-vamped menu, featuring all-day brunch and a multitude of cakes, some made by the staff, as well as the introduction of decent, loose-leaf tea from Edinburgh’s Eteaket. You can also buy single-origin beans to take home.

The other thing that made me really warm to Milk Bar was the friendly welcome from assistant manager Kathryn and Liam, the barista, which seemed equally genuine for both regulars and first-time visitors such as myself.

August 2016: Milk Bar now serves coffee from Sweden's Drop Coffee Roasters, with bulk-brew and hand-poured filters joining the usual espresso offering.

Continue reading...

Over Under Coffee, Ham Yard

A lovely cortado, made with Assembly's seasonal espresso, a Washed Colombia, at Over Under Coffeee in Ham Yard and served on a yellow saucer.Over Under Coffee is a relatively new name in London’s speciality coffee scene, but one which I’d heard mentioned quite a few times. So, when I had an hour to spare and a desire to escape from the madness that is Piccadilly Circus, I made a beeline for the relative oasis of calm that is Ham Yard, home to the second of Over Under Coffee’s two branches (the other being out in Hammersmith).

It’s a relatively small spot, but that doesn’t stop it from offering an impressive menu. There’s the seasonal espresso from Assembly (which supplies all the coffee) along with a regularly-rotating single-origin on V60, Aeropress or, if you’re in a hurry, there’s a very reasonably-priced batch-brew option. There’s also a decent brunch menu from the kitchen at the back (which stays open until six o’clock), a decent selection of cakes and, on Wednesday to Saturday evenings, cocktails.

Continue reading...

Scarlett Green

Your Banana Needs You. One of the two deckchairs outside Scarlett Green in Soho.Regular readers will know that I’ve been following the rise of London-based/Aussie-inspired mini-chain Daisy Green ever since it opened a branch next to my office in Sheldon Square, Paddington. Since then, Daisy Green has grown rapid, first through its Beany Green coffee shops, and then through restaurants, such as Timmy Green in Victoria and Darcie & May Green, the narrow boats tied up outside Paddington Station.

Scarlett Green is the latest addition to the family, which now numbers nine coffee shops and restaurants. It follows in the footsteps of Timmy Green, offering a full table service for food (breakfast, lunch and dinner), plus wine and cocktails, while still remaining true to its coffee roots, serving a house-blend from long-time partners, The Roasting Party.

Scarlett Green is the biggest yet, occupying the ground floor and basement of a tall, narrow building on Noel Street, in the heart of Soho. Open from 07:00 to midnight, it’s there for your morning coffee and a late-night cocktail, plus everything in between. The décor, as ever, is by the talented Shuby Art, another long-time partner and collaborator. As well as the usual bananas, you can also find a large, pink teddy bear enjoying Bondi Beach.

Continue reading...

Sharps Coffee Bar Update

An Ethiopian Duromina from Workshop at Sharps Coffee Bar, beautifully presented in a glass carafe and a white, handless cup on a white china tray.Sharps Coffee Bar, on London’s Windmill Street, is one of a new breed of coffee shops sharing premises with other businesses. Historically it was bookshops, then bike shops, along with the odd record store and laundrette. And now barbers.

I first visited towards the end of last year but, having heard news of change on the grapevine that is twitter, I popped back a couple of weeks ago. However, for the second Wednesday running, I find myself writing a Coffee Spot Update where the answer to the question, “so what’s changed?” is “not much”.

At least, not yet, and not to the casual visitor. The seating is laid out a little differently from my previous visits, and the coffee menu (although not what’s on offer) has changed. Other than that, the sublime lines of the Kees van der Westen Spirit Triplette are still there, as is the Mahlkönig EK43 grinder. The same variety of coffee is on offer: espresso, bulk-filter and Aeropress, all with regularly-rotating roasters.

The main change is behind the counter, where David Robson, ex-Association Coffee barista and reigning Scottish Aeropress Champion, has taken over. Or, to use the modern jargon, the coffee will be curated by David.

Continue reading...

Soho Grind

The Soho Grind logo from the back wall of Soho Grind: the word Soho written in black script over GRIND in red capitals.Grind, which started with the original Shoreditch Grind, is a growing London chain of espresso bars by day and cocktail bars by night. Soho Grind was the second, and has since been joined by four others. For six months last summer, there was also the pop-up Piccadilly Grind, the only one I’d visited up until now.

Soho Grind’s a lovely spot: a long, narrow espresso bar upstairs and, in the evenings, a cosy basement which serves as cocktail bar/restaurant with full table service. There’s coffee, Grind’s own bespoke espresso blend, roasted down in Hove by the excellent Small Batch, plus tea and soft drinks. In the evening, there’s wine, a small selection of bottled beer, and cocktails, including a very fine Espresso Martini, one of the few alcoholic drinks I actually enjoy.

In keeping with its siblings, Soho Grind has a small range of (very good) cakes and sandwiches during the day, and a menu of small plates with an Italian theme in the evening. These are tasty, but not particularly filling. I had an excellent crostini with roasted red peppers, rocket and shaved pecorino, which I supplemented with some very moor-ish toasted almonds from the nibbles menu.

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).

Continue reading...

Sottoscala: Terrone at Pizza Pilgrims

The Terrone & Co logoFrustrated at the London Coffee Festival by the failure of the irrepressible Edy Piro to photobomb my pictures, I went looking for him a couple of weeks later. Having (finally) visited Terrone & Co at Netil Market at the end of last year (and not found him there either!), I decided to head for Kingly Court in Soho, where Terrone & Co (Edy’s Italian coffee roasting company) has an espresso bar called Sottoscala.

For those that don’t know, Kingly Court, sandwiched between Kingly and Carnaby Streets at the western edge of Soho (and just around the corner from Soho Grind), is a marvellous, enclosed courtyard surrounded on all four sides by three storeys of cafés, bars and restaurants, with balconies running around the first/second floors. On the western side of courtyard’s ground floor, you’ll find Pizza Pilgrims, and, attached to that, under the stairs, is Sottoscala. But was Edy there…?

Continue reading...

Tab x Tab

A flat white served in a handmade pottery cup, made with a single-origin Brazilian roasted by Bocca and served in Tab x Tab in London, pulled on a Mavam espresso machine, made in Seattle.Tab x Tab is the latest (and much needed) addition to west London’s speciality coffee scene, opening at the end of July on Westbourne Grove, not far from Paddington Station. The brainchild of husband and wife team Mathew and Charmaine, it brings top quality coffee to an area of London that has, up until now, been sorely lacking it. It’s also got a Mavam espresso machine, which, I believe, is just the second one in the UK.

The shop’s set back from the busy street, so you can walk past it if you’re not paying attention. Long and thin, with the long side running along Westbourne Grove, it’s a bright, open space with plenty of outside seating, features it shares with Treves & Hyde, the home of the UK’s other Mavam.

When it comes to coffee, Tab x Tab has teamed up with local roaster, Ozone and Amsterdam roaster, Bocca, which I’d not come across before. There’s a seasonal house-blend on espresso, plus a single-origin guest, joined by another single-origin on bulk-brew. Currently a selection of pastries and light bites are available, but as the kitchen behind the counter gets up to speed, expect a full brunch menu to appear.

Continue reading...

TAP, 114 Tottenham Court Road

The famous TAP bicycle above the door at the No. 114 branch on Tottenham Court RoadTAP, or Tapped and Packed as was, is a chain of three coffee shops (now four) in central London. The Tottenham Court Road branch was the first one I tried: I was there in February and again in April. Although TAP was packed (pun intended) and busy both times, I found it a lovely place to sit and chill for a while. I like its look and feel and love many of the little touches, such as the re-use of Black Treacle tins for sugar and jam jars for water. Milk for your filter coffee comes in dinky little glass flasks. Such small things please me.

TAP’s reputation is built on its coffee, particularly its single-origin beans which are rotated on a regular basis (perversely I had espresso; I know, I confuse myself at times). It also does a range of food and cake. Bizarrely, since I was there late on a Wednesday evening for my first visit when all the food was gone, I was told off by the staff and made to promise to come back at lunch time (which I did) so that I could see what else was on offer. You have to admire such passionate employees!

December 2017: TAP has been bought by the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs chain. I don't know what this will mean for TAP and whether it will retain its own unique character, so watch this space!

Continue reading...

TAP, 193 Wardour Street

The trademark (with a small t) bicycle hanging above the door at No 193 Wardour StreetTAP (Tapped and Packed as was) is a chain of three (now four) central London coffee shops. I featured No 114 (Tottenham Court Road) earlier this year and thought it was time for another, the flagship No 193 on Wardour Street. TAP’s reputation is built on its coffee, all roasted in the Probat at the back of No 193. If you want to see it in action, you’ll need to visit on Tuesday (which, ironically, I’ve never managed).

TAP regularly rotates its coffee, having no house blend. At the moment there are two espressos, a blend (for milk) and a single estate (to have black). There are three single origins on the V60 filter: a Guatemalan, an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and a Rwandan Musasa Ruli.

As well as the attraction of watching the coffee roasting, No 193 is a lovely place to sit and drink said coffee. It’s the largest of the three, long and thin, but well-lit by a generous supply of windows. Inside it’s all wood, with bare floorboards and white-washed walls. The only exception is the coffee counter which is metal (albeit with a wooden top). The atmosphere is rounded off with quiet music and the gentle hum of conversation.

December 2017: TAP has been bought by the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs chain. I don't know what this will mean for TAP and whether it will retain its own unique character, so watch this space!

Continue reading...

Taylor Street Baristas, Mayfair

Taylor Street Baristas in MayfairFor the past two years, Mayfair has been blessed with two very fine Coffee Spots: Everbean and this outpost of the Taylor Street Baristas chain (one of seven in London). Both are lovely, but in terms of coffee geekery, Taylor Street Baristas is the clear winner, with its house blend, guest espresso (both from Union Hand-roasted), guest filter (Climpson and Sons) and abundant tasting notes. There is also a small selection of food and a very appetising range of cake.

However, being good at (perhaps read “obsessive about”) coffee does not necessarily make a great Coffee Spot. Fortunately, Taylor Street Baristas has all the other attributes to be a success in abundance: good atmosphere, lovely surroundings and staff who are completely mad (in the nicest possible way)!

It could have been because it was the end of the day and the staff were cleaning up, but while I was there, the soundtrack was full of corny music, with the baristas singing along. It didn’t quite reach the heights of “Good Times” & “Don’t Bring Me Down” as sung by the baristas at Montréal’s Café Olimpico, but it was in the same league.

April 2016: Taylor Street has started roasting its own coffee, with the Mayfair branch taking it as the main espresso. While production ramps up, the other Taylor Street Baristas only have Taylor Street Roasted as guest espresso/filter, the exception being the Taylor Street Gallery, which has exclusively gone over to Taylor Street Roasted.

Continue reading...

The Borough Barista

The Borough Barista logoThe Borough Barista, confusingly (for me) nowhere near London’s Borough Market, is actually at the western end of London’s West End. It’s somewhere that I really don’t go very often, so while The Borough Barista has been on my radar for a while, I’ve not had any reason to visit. Until, that is, I landed some work in Paddington, about 20 minutes walk away, and decided it was high time I visited.

Not far from Marble Arch, The Borough Barista sits just off the busy Edgware Road on the corner of Seymour Street and the quieter Seymour Place. It’s fairly unassuming at first glance, but is lovely inside, an oasis of calm and excellent coffee in an area lacking both! With an espresso blend from Yorkshire roasters, Grumpy Mule, that seemed to have been specifically selected to suit my tastes, I can safely say that the espresso was one of the nicest I’ve had in a very long time!

My only problem is that I liked The Borough Barista so much that if I popped out one afternoon for a quick coffee, I’m not convinced I’d actually go back to work! Ever...

Continue reading...

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.

Continue reading...

The Meal Ticket

The flowchart drinks ordering menu at The Meal Ticket on Sheldon Square.When I first started working in Sheldon Square, behind Paddington Station, in the summer of 2013, there was nothing in the way of good coffee. Then came Beany Green in 2014, followed over the next couple of years by the likes of KuPP and Kioskafé. I stopped working there at the end of the 2015, at which point my office decided to upgrade its in-house café, bringing in Baxter Storey to run the operation, with coffee from Modern Standard. Not that I’m still bitter about that…

I didn’t quite escape Sheldon Square though, since my new job, which sees me travelling all over the world, also means I visit Sheldon Square about once a year, allowing me to keep tabs on the growing coffee scene, including the likes of Can Do Coffee and (the recently closed) Store Street Espresso. I was back there last week, when I found another crop of new places vying for my attention, including Darcie & May Green, twin barges tied up on the canal-side, another Can Do Coffee pitch and the subject of today’s Coffee Spot, The Meal Ticket, which was then into its third week of operation, serving Caravan on espresso and batch-brew…

Continue reading...

Workshop Coffee, Fitzrovia

The Workshop logo, a diamond inside a circle.The latest addition to the suddenly-expanding Workshop Coffee chain (now four and counting) is in fashionable Fitzrovia on Mortimer Street. Just around the corner from Broadcasting House, it joins a growing band of speciality coffee shops that include old stalwart, Kaffeine plus (relative) newcomers, Attendant, Mother’s Milk (now closed) and the recently-opened Curators Coffee Gallery. The one advantage it has over its near-neighbours, other than the novelty value of being new, is that it stays open until seven o’clock, making it the ideal spot to retire to before attending recordings of BBC Radio shows in the Radio Theatre at Broadcasting House.

Unsurprisingly, given that this is Workshop, the coffee is all from the Workshop roastery in Clerkenwell, with the Cult of Done house-blend and a single-origin on espresso plus a choice of two single-origins on filter (one bulk-brew and one through the Aeropress). There’s also decaf, loose-leaf tea and a small range of sandwiches and cake.

The new Workshop’s not a huge place, with the front half given over to the counter and the seating in a separate area at the back, the two connected by a short corridor. You might be able to squeeze 15 people in all told.

Continue reading...

Workshop Coffee, Marylebone

The front of Workshop Coffee, Marylebone, tucked away in St Christopher's Place.Workshop Coffee is one of London’s better-known (and original) roaster/café chains. Starting from its flagship branch in Clerkenwell, where, until recently, all the roasting was done, it’s slowly expanded, now with a total of four London coffee shops. I first really came across it (other than as a roaster) when it opened its Fitzrovia coffee bar in 2014, but I’ve taken my sweet time in popping into the other branches, finally making to the Marylebone branch last week. At some point I’ll have to drag myself over to Holborn and Clerkenwell, which has seen a few changes since the roaster moved out.

The Marylebone branch is on St Christopher’s Place, just a stone’s throw from the busy Oxford Street. Tucked away in the eastern arm (St Christopher’s Place is cross-shaped), it’s an oasis of calm, which is also open until seven in the evening. Simple in layout, there’s a bench along the wall providing most of the seating. The coffee offering is excellent, with two single-origins and decaf on espresso, plus two or three single-origins available through the Aeropress, with one of them on bulk-brew. If you’re hungry, there’s a wide selection of cake and a limited range of sandwiches.

Continue reading...

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 E postcode region, not just those Coffee Spots in the W region.

search provided by Store Locator Plus
Notes: