Taylor Street Baristas, Canary Wharf

Details of Taylor Street's Benchmark Espresso Blend, taken from the chalkboard behind the counter.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.

  • South Colonnade, in Canary Wharf, heading west. What's that in the distance?
  • It's the narrow store front of Taylor Street Baristas!
  • This is the view coming from the other direction, heading away from One Canada Square.
  • The facade, as viewed from the west...
  • ... and here, straight on.
  • Inside, Taylor St goes a long way back.
  • A view of the doors from the inside.
  • There's a small, open space to the left of the door, two stools at the end of the counter.
  • These give a great view down the business end of the counter.
  • Meanwhile, to the right, there's the first of three pews, this one facing the window.
  • Another view of the pew and it's low coffee table.
  • Behind this are two more pews in an L-shape with another coffee table...
  • ... then beyond them, a five-person bar against the right-hand wall.
  • Meanwhile, opposite this on the left, is the counter...
  • ... which runs in an L-shape all the way to the back...
  • ... where it runs across the back wall.
  • The final bit of seating is this low bench at the the back on the right.
  • The business end of the counter, where you'll find the food (back) and till (left).
  • From there, head back to the main part of the counter...
  • ... with its twin espresso machines. You collect your coffee here.
  • For a relatively small space, there's lots going on, including this retail area at the front.
  • Coffee beans, meanwhile, are at the back on the right.
  • This neat display is behind the counter...
  • ... while this is above the bar on the opposite wall.
  • The window display betrays Taylor St's Aussie roots.
  • Although there's natural light at the front, there are plenty of bulbs at the back.
  • This one was my favourite...
  • ... although this rotating disco lights above the counter were a close second.
  • You order at the back where you'll find the food, with a handy menu...
  • ... on the back wall, while the drinks menu...
  • ... is behind the till on the left-hand wall.
  • Details of the house espresso blend, Benchmark, are behind the counter...
  • ... while it's good to see decaf being given such prominence.
  • Meanwhile, there's a choice of three single-origins on filter.
  • Although the filter coffee is predominantly batch-brew, there is a slow bar every Monday.
  • One of the two three-group Black Eagle espresso machines.
  • The other one is at the opposite end of the counter.
  • In the morning, both are in operation, with up to six baristas working them.
  • The business end of the espresso machines, late on Friday afternoon.
  • On my first visit, I had a flat white in my HuskeeCup.
  • On my return, it was time for filter...
  • ... with the Ethiopia Beriti taking my fancy...
  • ... and seen here in my Therma Cup which is where I'll leave you.
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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.

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)
Sunday CLOSED Power Limited
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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