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.

July 2019: Sadly CanDo Coffee’s location by the canal is no more, replaced by a pair of Airstreams.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Outside Paddington Station's rear entrance is Regent's Canal's Paddington Basin. A lot has changed since I worked here. That building that's not over there anymore for one!
  • However, ignore the bulding site, turn right and just before the footbridge you'll find this...
  • It's Can Do Coffee! If you're coming the other way from South Wharf Road it looks like this...
  • ... while if you're coming over the bridge itself, this is the view you get.
  • There are also plenty of A-boards out on the cobbled tow-path that let you know you've...
  • ... come to the right place. They're not shy about telling you what Can Do Coffee's all about.
  • I think this one sums it up best.
  • There's not much to Can Do Coffee though. It's just this (small) trailer...
  • ... while for seating there are these two tables (for now).
  • So, what's Can Do Coffee got?
  • Well, there's coffee for starters, from the espresso machine off to the left.
  • The recipe is writen on the wall above the espresso machine. I think that's for our benefit!
  • The coffee, meanwhile, if you haven't already guessed, is from old hands, Monmouth.
  • There are also soft drinks, porridge for breakfast, and, had I got there early enough, cakes.
  • Fortunately there was plenty of coffee left!
  • Here it comes!
  • I love watching espresso extract.
  • Can Do Coffee is takeaway cups only, so don't forget to bring you own.
  • Last shot, I promise.
  • And here it is, my espresso in my Kaffeform cup, made from recycled coffee grounds.
  • That's not all there is at Paddington though. On the other side of the basin, by M&S' HQ...
  • ... you'll also find a Can Do Coffee trike, open from 7:30 to 11:30 on weekdays.
Photo Carousel by v4.6

CanDo Coffee is easy enough to find when you know where it is… The simplest way of locating it is via the rear entrance of Paddington station (head towards the District Line in the direction of Ealing/the Hammersmith & City Line in the direction of Hammersmith, but turn right, up the short flight of steps). This will put you on the tow path of the Paddington Basin branch of Regent’s Canal. If you were heading for Beany Green, you’d turn left, but instead, turn right, and, just before the first footbridge crossing the canal, you’ll find CanDo Coffee.

There’s not a lot to it, just a black trailer, about the size of Newcastle’s Hatch Coffee, with its back to the bridge, facing a building that spans the canal. This means that you can’t see CanDo Coffee from the rear entrance of the station, but it does create a relatively sheltered spot where CanDo Coffee has placed its two tables, each with a pair of chairs. Right now the view’s not much to look at, but when the building work has finished, it will be a very pleasant, canal-side spot. I know that CanDo Coffee has plans for more permanent seating, and despite the drawbacks, it’s still a wonderfully secluded place to have your coffee.

A word about CanDo Coffee tself. Although its mission is best described on the CanDo Coffee website, it’s basically a not-for-profit social enterprise, getting disadvantaged and socially-excluded people back into the workforce by training them and giving them meaningful work (in this case, running coffee carts/stalls).

So, to the coffee. CanDo Coffee uses old hands, Monmouth, with an espresso blend consisting of beans from Brazil, Colombia and Guatemala. I tried it as a straight espresso (the usual milk options were also available) and was impressed, both with the skill with which my barista, Matt, made it, and with the coffee itself. It had good body and a complex, rich flavour. Had I not just left Beany Green and been on my way to Modern Society, I’d have been tempted to see how it went in milk.

One word of caution: CanDo Coffee only has takeaway cups, so please do bring your own. I had my espresso in my Kaffeeform cup. Made of recycled coffee grounds, I now carry it with me everywhere I go for just these situations!

December 2016: CanDo Coffee was a runner-up for the 2016 Best Takeway Coffee Award.

Monday 07:00 – 14:30 Roaster Electric Coffee Company (espresso only)
Tuesday 07:00 – 14:30 Seating Tables (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 14:30 Food Breakfast, Cakes
Thursday 07:00 – 14:30 Service Counter
Friday 07:00 – 14:30 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 09:00 – 14:00 Wifi N/A
Sunday CLOSED Power N/A
Chain Local Visits 15th July 2016

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8 thoughts on “CanDo Coffee, Paddington

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  2. Oh I am glad you reviewed Can Do as I’ve passed it on the way to work a number of Fridays (with my Beany Green coffee in hand) and wondered, with Monmouth beans on offer, if it would be any good. From the outside it looks part of the Merchant/ Sheldon Square set up and I wasn’t sure I was willing to give up my favourite to try it. I’ll definitely be giving it a try next time. Laura

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