Taylor Street Baristas, these days more commonly known as Taylor St Coffee or just Taylor St, is a stalwart of London’s speciality coffee scene. Founded in 2006 by Australia siblings, Nick, Andrew and Laura, I first came across Taylor St in Brighton, visiting the now defunct Queen Street location. These days, Taylor St roasts all its own coffee and has nine London branches, six clustered in the City of London, one western outpost in Mayfair, and two in Canary Wharf. Oh, and there’s one in New York City.
Today’s Coffee Spot is Taylor St’s Canary Wharf branch, which, when it opened in 2011, was a pioneer in a speciality coffee desert. An awful lot has changed in eight years, as I discovered when I spent a week working there at the end of last month, multiple players having opened in the last few years. However, Taylor St is still going strong, seemingly as busy as ever, so I thought I’d better start here. There’s the Benchmark blend plus a single-origin on espresso, with three single-origins on batch brew if you’re really in a hurry. This is backed up with small but tasty breakfast and lunch menus, plus plenty of cake.
September 2019: as part of the sale of Taylor Street Barista’s coffee shops to the Black Sheep chain, the Canary Wharf coffee shop closed on Thursday, 12th September.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Taylor Street Baristas is on South Colonnade, just west of One Canada Square, Canary Wharf’s iconic skyscraper at the heart of the original redevelopment. I first tried to visit in late 2015, but both mornings I was there, the queue was out of the door, so I gave it a miss. On my return at the end of last month, I was determined to make amends, popping in en route to the office when the queue was, fortunately, only halfway to the door. I also returned late on Friday afternoon, just before closing, when things were much quieter.
Located on the south side of South Colonnade, set back from the street behind a row of square pillars, Taylor St has a small, square store front, mostly occupied by the tall, wide, recessed double doors, flanked by a pair of comparatively thin windows. Although Taylor St is clearly set up for the morning rush (more on which later) there is some seating which, when it’s quiet, makes for a very pleasant spot to drink your coffee.
The interior is perhaps three times as deep as it is wide, with the L-shaped counter occupying much of the left-hand side, the short part of the L extending along the back wall. The seating, meanwhile, is at the front, with a narrow, five-person bar along the right-hand wall opposite the counter. To the left, as you enter, is an open area, retail shelves on the left-hand wall, with two stools at the narrow end of the counter. On the right are a pair of back-to-back pews, one facing front, a low coffee table between it and the window. The other faces rearward, sharing a coffee table with a third pew against the right-hand wall. The pews came from an old church, while the rest of the furniture, counter included, is made from upcycled wood.
Taylor St runs a really slick operation in the morning, where the queue runs from the counter at the back down the right-hand side and, on occasion, out of the door. The rear portion of the counter holds the food, with the till, where you order and pay, in the left-hand corner, although if the queue gets too long, someone with an iPad may wander down, taking orders.
From the till, return towards the door, passing the main part of the counter with its twin three-group Black Eagle espresso machines. You collect your coffee here unless you’ve ordered filter, in which case there’s a short extension to the counter after a square pillar at the end of the second espresso machine. This has three help-yourself vacuum flasks: simply fill your cup (which you’ll be given at the till, unless you brought your own) and go.
The coffee is all roasted in-house with the seasonal Benchmark blend (80% Brazil, 20% Peru) joined by one of Taylor St’s single-origins, which changes every couple of weeks or so. When I visited in the morning, arriving at 8:30, several of the breakfast options had already sold out: I didn’t help the situation by having the last veggie Brekkie Brioche. Although it was busy, I was impressed by the efficiency of the operation, not waiting long for my coffee, a flat white in my HuskeeCup, the rich and creamy milk going well with the Benchmark blend.
On my return I had filter, selecting the naturally-processed heirloom varietal from Ethiopia, which I had in my Therma Cup (it’s disposable cups only for filter, although there are proper cups for espresso-based drinks). This was an excellent coffee, bright on the first sip, but quietening down after that.
|8 SOUTH COLONNADE • CANARY WHARF • LONDON • E14 4PZ|
|www.taylor-st.com||+44 (0) 20 7519 6536|
|Monday||07:00 – 17:30||Roaster||Taylor St Coffee (espresso + batch brew)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 17:30||Seating||Benches, Bar|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 17:30||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||07:00 – 17:30||Service||Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 17:30||Payments||Card Only|
|Saturday||CLOSED||Wifi||Free (with login)|
|Chain||International||Visits||22nd, 24th May 2019|
Liked this? Then take a look at the rest of London’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to London.
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