The front of Finisterre, with a three-part window, part-glazed door to the right. There is bench on the pavement in front of the window and an A-board next to the door.Finisterre is a surf shop, a surf shop which, for the last four months, has been home to a lovely little espresso bar. Tucked away on Earlham Street, between the busy Seven Dials and the even busier Cambridge Circus at the intersection of Charing Cross Road and Shaftsbury Avenue, it’s a haven of tranquillity and excellent coffee. Supplied by Brighton’s Small Batch, Finisterre doesn’t try to do too much, instead concentrating on serving top-notch espresso in a lovely environment, something which it does exceedingly well. The coffee menu is concise and to the point, with Finisterre making good use of Small Batch’s versatile Goldstone Blend.

There’s not a lot to Finisterre, although that statement holds true only if you’re looking at it as a coffee shop, which is a little unfair. Finisterre is also the flagship London branch of the Finisterre surf chain and, as a surf shop, there’s quite a lot to it. That said, the coffee shop has definitely got pride of place (and the best spot), sat in the front of the store and occupying the window, with a convenient bench outside on the quiet street.

May 2018: I’ve recently learnt that Finisterre is no longer doing coffee, although there are plans to reintroduce filter coffee, so watch this space.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Finisterre, on the sunny side of Earlham Street.
  • From the outside, it looks every bit the coffee shop, right down to a bench on the pavement.
  • Even the A-board screams 'coffee shop' at you!
  • Nice sign.
  • Stepping inside, Finisterre still looks like a coffee shop...
  • ... a view reinforced by the lovely wooden counter.
  • The view back to the sun-drenched front of the store.
  • Detail of the communal table...
  • ... and from the other side.
  • Another view. You might be able to tell that I liked it in here.
  • If you like, you can sit at the counter, next to the espresso machine...
  • No prizes for guessing where I ended up :-)
  • However, look beyond the counter, and Finisterre looks less like a coffee shop.
  • In fact, it looks very much like a surf shop! Probably because it is...
  • ... although if you look at the counter, it still looks like a coffee shop...
  • ... until you look too closely that is.
  • The clues, of course, were always there, starting with the rack of surf boards by the door.
  • Talking of surf boards, they act as a lovely backdrop for some of Finisterre's lights...
  • ... and talking of which, Finisterre has a lot of lights.
  • And I do mean LOTS of lights.
  • They do a really good job of lighting the place up in the dark.
  • This one, and the one before, were shot one evening a month ago.
  • Last one, I promise.
  • Back in the daylight and the communal table is looking stunning.
  • Anyway, lest we forget, this is actually a cofee shop... And a surf shop!
  • As the menu says, the coffee is from Brighton's Small Batch.
  • No cake, but there is fruit for the health-conscious. And scales. They weigh all the shots.
  • Nice array of cups on the espresso machine.
  • I love it when things line up...
  • Right, time to put barista Jules to work.
  • The first of my three espressos.
  • Let's be honest, one espresso looks much like another. Here's the left-overs!
  • Finally, I leave you with my (decaf) piccolo.
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Finisterre is long and thin, its generous window running almost its full width, interrupted only by the (glass) door on the right-hand side. Stepping inside, you could be forgiven for thinking that you’re in a coffee shop (an impression reinforced by the coffee-themed A-board outside). To your left, smack in the window, is a large, communal table with a pair of benches. While I was there, it was bathed in glorious spring sunshine.

Beyond this, on the left-hand side of the store, comes the counter, a lovely wooden affair, with a two-group La Marzocco facing the window, alongside two Mazzer grinders. Three stools line the counter-front where you can sit, within touching (stroking?) distance of the espresso machine.

The counter runs down the left-hand side of the store, which is where you order and pay. Up until this point, the only hint that you’re not in a dedicated coffee shop is a row of surfboards on the right-hand wall by the door, but I’ve seen far more esoteric coffee-shop decoration than that, so it’s no big deal. However, beyond the till, it soon becomes clear that Finisterre’s more than a coffee shop. The walls are lined with merchandise, including a rack of surf gear opposite the counter, while stairs down to more surf gear in the basement. Once you start looking more closely, there are signs of the surf shop everywhere, from the books on the communal table to the kit arranged discreetly on the wall.

Finisterre’s a quiet, relaxed place, with gentle music in the background. If you’re shopping in Covent Garden or Neal’s Yard and want to escape, Finisterre’s an ideal spot. Although on a narrow street, Finisterre’s south-facing, so really catches the sun, making it lovely and bright. Come evening, the multitude of lights make it a homely place.

I started with an espresso, a double shot of Small Batch’s lovely Goldstone Blend. I found it very well balanced, a sweet coffee with a touch of bitterness that went down very smoothly. I got chatting with barista, Jules, a Parisian surfer who arrived in London (and speciality coffee) via Australia. Asking about the second grinder, Jules confessed that it wasn’t used much. He told me it contained some left-over Brazilian beans, which he let me try.

However, since it was past its best, Jules wouldn’t hear of me paying. I found this honesty refreshing since plenty of places (the sort that don’t make it into the Coffee Spot) will happily take your money and served you a second-rate coffee. As it was, I had to agree with Jules; my second espresso wasn’t a patch on the first and that’s nothing to do with Jules’ coffee-making skills.

By then I was on a roll, so had a decaf, Small Batch’s Mexican Finca Muxbal. This is kept pre-ground in a small bag behind the counter; clearly surfers are, for the most part, fully-leaded! The decaf pulled a good, well-rounded shot, although not as punchy as the Goldstone (and that’s not just down to the lack of caffeine), lacking both the sweet notes and the touch of bitterness of the Goldstone. I felt it would go better in milk, so I had it as a piccolo, where it turned out to be very smooth, with a touch of (pleasant) sourness.

7 EARLHAM STREET • LONDON • WC2H 9LL +44 (0) 207 379 5400
Monday 10:00 – 19:00 Roaster Small Batch (espresso only)
Tuesday 10:00 – 19:00 Seating Table, Counter, Bench (outside)
Wednesday 10:00 – 19:00 Food Fruit
Thursday 10:00 – 19:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 10:00 – 19:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 10:00 – 19:00 Wifi Free
Sunday 12:00 – 18:00 Power Limited
Chain No Visits 19th March, 21st April 2015

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3 thoughts on “Finisterre

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