Origin, Euston Road

Barista in action, pouring a Kalita Wave filter at Origin's Euston Road branch.Hot on the heels of Origin opening its coffee bar in the British Library foyer comes a full Origin coffee shop, located just outside the Library on the Euston Road. This is now the fourth Origin outlet in London, with the first, on Charlotte Road, opening only last year. These join the two long-standing shops and the roastery back in Cornwall.

Long and thin, the Euston Road branch offers more seating options than the foyer, plus it attracts the passing trade, whereas the coffee bar in foyer was only really known to Library visitors. As an added bonus, there’s a kitchen at the back, enabling Origin to offer expanded breakfast and lunch menus to go with the familiar doughnuts and cakes.

The coffee offering, meanwhile, is very similar, although the Kalita Wave has supplanted the Aeropress as the filter method of choice, while a gorgeous-looking three-group Kees van der Westen provides the espresso. Here there’s a choice of the Pathfinder seasonal house-blend plus a single-origin, with another single-origin on batch-brew and two more on pour-over. Although both branches usually offer the same beans, switch-over can occasionally vary. This is all backed up by an impressive retail range, featuring numerous single-origins.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Origin's latest London outpost is at the front of the British Library on Euston Road.
  • This is the view coming from Euston station, while the previous one was from King's Cross.
  • There's this handy outside, semi-sheltered seating area...
  • ... and to the left of it, past the concrete pillar, here's the entrance itself.
  • Like the outside seating, Origin is long and thin, the seating running along the windows...
  • ... while the counter runs along the back wall.
  • The view of the counter, looking the other way.
  • A view of Origin, seen from the opposite end...
  • ... and a better view of the doors, with the retail shelves to the right.
  • The entrance-end of the window-bar, which runs the full length of the coffee shop...
  • ... while this is the espresso-machine end for want of a better term.
  • The view from the window-bar.
  • Back to the counter, where you are greeted by doughnuts and lemon curd tarts.
  • Next come the sandwiches and the loaf of bread for the toast. Maybe that was a clue...
  • The till is in the middle, with the menu conveniently located on the wall behind.
  • This is also where you'll find the soft drinks.
  • Finally, past the grinders, comes the lovely Kees van der Westen espresso machine.
  • Obligatory light-bulb shot.
  • There's a well-stocked set of retail shelveson the wall on your left as you enter.
  • The menu in more detail.
  • Talking of menus, there are menus on the window-bar, listing breakfast and lunch options...
  • ... as well as giving details of all the coffee options...
  • ... which extend onto a third page for the decaf and cold brew.
  • Even more details are to be found propped up by the grinders.
  • Right, let's see what this Kees van der Westen can do!
  • A very poor photo of a very fine flat white!
  • Origin also does plenty of pour-overs, using a modified Kalita Wave recipe from Charlotte Rd.
  • This cuts the time for each pour-over from a leisurely six minutes to a more manageable three.
  • The EK-43 grinds the coffee while the kettle's being filled up. Next step, add to the filter.
  • Don't forget to zero the scales...
  • ... and then pour!
  • Leave to bloom...
  • ... not forgetting to give the grounds a good stir to ensure that they are fully saturated.
  • Now for the main pour, a much more vigorous affair than at Charlotte Road.
  • A look of rapt concentration comes across the barista's face.
  • Now we just leave it to finish extracting. Sadly this one wasn't for me.
  • However, I did secure the last bag of the Brazilian decaf to take home with me.
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Euston Road opened at the start of September, cunningly timed to coincide with my departure for my around-the-world trip. I therefore made it a priority to call in as soon as I returned, quite literally in fact, taking the tube from Heathrow to King’s Cross, then hauling my huge rucksack the short distance down the Euston Road for some welcome-home coffee.

The coffee shop occupies a long, thin space at the front of the British Library complex to the right of the main entrance, just before the junction with Midland Road. Set back slightly from the busy Euston Road, it’s recessed even further, allowing for a matching long, thin outdoor seating area, which is largely protected from the rain. There are five two-person tables, underneath the windows running the length of Origin.

You enter from the side at the far left-hand end, double doors occupying almost the entire width of the (admittedly narrow) coffee shop. Inside, a 10-person window-bar runs from wall-to-wall along the front, mirroring the tables outside, while the counter runs parallel to this along the back wall, starting at the entrance to the kitchen (at the opposite end from the doors) and extending almost all the way to the entrance, leaving just enough room to your left for a set of retail shelves, holding bags of Origin coffee for sale.

The counter’s layout is rather simple, taking its lead from the store. The first thing that greets you, perched on the left-hand corner, are the doughnuts and lemon curd tarts, followed by the sandwiches. Then comes the till and a small area where the pour-overs are made. Finally, after the grinders, a Nuova Simonelli Mythos 1 (Pathfinder blend) and the ubiquitous EK-43 (everything else), comes the gorgeous Kees van der Westen, which James, my barista, tells me is as beautiful to work on as it is to look at.

Origin’s flagship Charlotte Road branch makes much of its pour-over bar, where you can sit and watch your coffee being made. Here that’s not really possible, but Euston Road still serves plenty of pour-overs, even during the week. Whereas a Charlotte Road Kalita Wave takes six minutes, Euston Road has cut this down to three minutes without noticeable loss of quality, achieved by vigorous pouring and agitation, combined with a much finer grind.

Since I was just off the plane from Chicago, with a serious case of jet-lag, I wasn’t being too picky, forgoing the single-origin espresso or the new Kalita Wave recipe, figuring that subtly would be lost on me. Instead I settled for a Pathfinder flat white. Smooth, rich and well-balanced, it was the perfect welcome-home coffee.

Had I read the menu more carefully, I would have paired this with toast for breakfast, but I’d been awake for 20 hours at that point and in my befuddled state, I reasoned that it couldn’t possibly be breakfast time. As it turned out, I had arrived just before the 11am cut-off for breakfast, so I could have had a couple of slices of the excellent toast with raspberry or rhubarb & ginger jam. I only realised my mistake when another customer, who came in after me, ordered it. To make up for my disappointment, I grabbed a bag of the Brazilian Londrina CO2 decaf to take home with me.

December 2016: Origin, Euston Road was a runner-up for the 2016 Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Award.

Monday 07:00 – 18:00 Roaster Origin (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 18:00 Seating Window Bar, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 18:00 Food Breakfast, Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 18:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:00 – 18:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa, Amex
Saturday 09:30 – 17:00 Wifi No
Sunday 11:00 – 17:00 Power No
Chain Regional Visits 15th October 2016

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