Rosslyn Coffee

The clock at Rosslyn Coffee where it's always coffee time.The City of London always had good coffee as long as you knew where to look for it. Initially, this was from a handful of pioneers, such as Alchemy Café and (the sadly msised) Taylor Street Baristas, but these days there seems to be great coffee everywhere! One of these is Rosslyn Coffee on Queen Victoria Street, which opened in February 2018, which has an interesting claim to fame (it’s in a building owned by Sir Alan Sugar).

Of more relevance is that it’s built itself a reputation for excellence in coffee. Although it was a new name to speciality coffee when it opened, the Aussie-Irish duo behind it had years of experience, 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), at Rosslyn, the focus has always been on the coffee, combined with Aussie hospitality.

Espresso and batch brew use different house coffees roasted by Origin, while pour-over (via the Marco Beverage Systems SP9/Kaltia wave) is from a rotating guest roaster. Most interesting of all are the Off Menu Coffees, a select group of unique coffees from around the world.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery, where the photos are from my original visit in July 2018 unless otherwise stated.

  • Rosslyn Coffee on Queen Victoria Street, seen from across the street in July 2021.
  • And here's the view from the same side of the street, without the traffic lights in the way.
  • Mind you, it looked very different on my first visit in 2018, when it was covered in...
  • ... scaffolding, which, I'm pleased to say, is long since gone.
  • Rosslyn Coffee has another interesting feature: two doors.
  • The one on the east is marked 'In'...
  • ... while the one on the west is marked 'Out'. It makes for a good flow when busy.
  • Long and thin, the counter is at the back, opposite the pair of doors.
  • This is the view from the left-hand (western) end, looking the length of Rosslyn.
  • Seating is restricted to window bars, which leaves the floor space clear for customers.
  • At the far right-hand (eastern) end, beyond the counter, is one group of seats.
  • This starts with a two-person window-bar to the right of the door...
  • ... and then moves on to a four-person window-bar at the far end.
  • Other than the scaffolding, the main difference (in 2021) is that the stools are gone.
  • The view back along Rosslyn Coffee from the seats at the far end.
  • There's more seating (well, standing) up at the left-hand (western) end in the shape of...
  • ... another window-bar to the left of the door, with a final one across the left-hand wall.
  • Although the decor is a little sparse, Rosslyn has some interesting features, such as...
  • ... these plants hanging on the left-hand wall...
  • .... while the clock, which is between the two doors, is a neat feature...
  • ... and worth a closer look. I like how it's always time for coffee!
  • Rosslyn Coffee has a strong retail selection on the back wall to the right of the counter.
  • That's how it looked back in 2018. As you can see, not much has changed three years on.
  • The lovely ceramic cups that Rosslyn uses are still on the bottom shelf...
  • ... with the house coffee and retail bags from the guest roaster above.
  • An obvious difference is the packaging: very minimalist compared to how it was in 2018.
  • So, to business. The counter has the till, and cakes, at the far, right-hand end...
  • ... while the espresso machine is at the other end. Mind you, this has had an upgrade...
  • ... since 2018, the Synesso being replaced by this custom-built La Marzocco KB90...
  • ... the only four-group KB90 in the world! The grinders are also new, Mythos Ones...
  • ... replacing the original Compak grinders (house-blend, single-origin and decaf).
  • The concise coffee menu is on the wall behind the till...
  • ... while the cakes, chocolate brownies in this case, are laid out on the counter.
  • Rosslyn uses the SP9 from Marco Beverage Systems to do pour-over.
  • In 2018, I hadn't seen them in action very often, so I ordered a pour-over to try it out.
  • Using a Kalita Wave filter (in this case), the SP9 is a fully-automated pour-over system...
  • ... applying a pre-programmed series of pulses of water to the coffee...
  • ... which, as best as it can, mimics the pour-over process.
  • And here it is, my pour-over, served in a carafe with a lovely ceramic cup on the side.
  • My coffee in the cup.
  • Naturally I had to pair it with one of the lovely-looking chocolate brownies.
  • On my return in 2021, I'd come to check out the secret Off Menu Coffees.
  • I went with this one, the Uraga Gomoro, roasted by Toby’s Estate in Australia.
  • The Off Menu Coffees are vacuum-sealed as individual doses and stored in a freezer...
  • ... before being brought out when ordered.
  • The coffee is ground from frozen...
  • ... and then brewed straight away using the familiar SP9/Kalivta Wave combination.
  • I'll leave you with my coffee in the carafe, another lovely cup on the side.
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Rosslyn Coffee is on the busy Queen Victoria Street, running west from the Bank of England. It’s on a prominent corner on the north side of the street, across from the Mansion House and next to an old church, St Mary Aldermary, itself home to Host Café, while another café-in-a-church, The Wren, is just down the street. During my first visit in 2018, Rosslyn had disguised itself in a cloak of scaffolding: fortunately this has long since gone.

Rosslyn is long, thin and wedge-shaped, the long side running along Queen Victoria Street, the narrow end on the right (facing in the direction of the Bank of England). The front, plus the narrow end of the wedge, are almost all glass, which, combined with the south-facing aspect, make Rosslyn an incredibly bright, sunny space, which is coupled with a bright, white, minimalist interior.

There are two doors in front, one either side of a central brick pillar, while the counter is directly opposite, running along most of the back wall. The right-hand door is marked “In” while the left-hand one is marked “Out”. While I was there, late one afternoon, no-one paid much attention to these, but when it’s busy in the mornings, the two doors form a natural flow for takeaway customers. The right-hand door leads you to the till at the right-hand end of the counter, while the left-hand door is by the espresso and pour-over machines, so you can easily leave once you’ve collected your coffee.

If you’re staying, there’s not much in the way of seating, just wooden, standalone bars. In the early days, several of these had bar-stools, but now it’s all standing room only. To the right of the first door is a short bar, with a further two-piece bar in the windows at the narrow end of the wedge. Meanwhile, to the left of the second door is another window-bar, with a fourth bar running all the way along left-hand wall at the thick end of the wedge.

The counter is actually L-shaped since it runs parallel to the front windows, while the wedge shape means that the back wall gets further and further away as you go to the left. At the right-hand end, there’s the till and cakes, with the menu on the wall behind, retail shelves to the right of that. Next, opposite the doors, is a custom-built KB90, La Marzocco’s flagship espresso machine, with its three Mythos One grinders. What makes this one special is that it is the only four-group KB90 anywhere in the world!  Meanwhile, at the far, left-hand end, are two Marco Beverage Systems SP9s. The batch brewer, along with the EK43 grinder for the filter coffee, is on a small extension to the counter behind the SP9s.

Rosslyn has three house coffees, wiith a blend for milk-based espresso and two single-origins, one for other espresso drinks (espressos, long blacks and Americanos), with the second for batch brew. This is supplemented with a pour-over option from a guest roaster, which changes on a regular basis, Manhattan Coffee Roasters from Rotterdam doing the honours during my most recent visit.

However, what drew me back were the Off Menu Coffees, individual doses of coffee which are vacuum-sealed and frozen, before being ground and brewed from direect from the freezer when one is ordered. This allows Rosslyn Coffee to offer very rare coffees that might not be viable as a standard guest pour-over. You can see what I made of the Off Menu Coffees when I visited Rosslyn in July 2021, almost exactly three years to the day after my original visit.

July 2021: this is an updated version of the original post which was published in July 2018. You can see what has changed in my Coffee Spot Update.

December 2021: Rosslyn was a runner-up for the 2021 Best Filter Coffee Award for its Off Menu Coffees.

78 QUEEN VICTORIA STREET • LONDON • EC4N 4SJ +44 (0) 7732 077870
Monday 06:30 – 17:00 Roaster Origin (espresso + filter) + Guests (pour-over)
Tuesday 06:30 – 17:00 Seating Window Bars
Wednesday 06:30 – 17:00 Food Cake
Thursday 06:30 – 17:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 06:30 – 17:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 09:00 – 16:00 Wifi No
Sunday CLOSED Power No
Chain No Visits Original: 5th July 2018
Update: 9th July 2021

If you liked this Coffee Spot, then check out the rest of London’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to London.

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