I Will Kill Again

The logo from the back of the wall of I Will Kill Again, proudly proclaiming 'Dark Arts Coffee Relieves Fatigue'.Dark Arts Coffee has been roasting since 2014 and I’ve enjoyed its coffee at various places, including The Black Chapel in London, plus in a cluster of places in the northwest, such as Manchester’s Idle Hands and Siop Shop and Chester’s Little Yellow Pig. I Will Kill Again, its interestingly-named coffee shop/roastery, has been on my radar pretty much since it opened in May 2016. My only excuse for not visiting sooner (other than to give Mike Stanbridge something to nag me about) is that Homerton, its East London home, is not somewhere I get to very frequently.

Located in a railway arch, the roaster (off to your right as you enter) is in action from Monday to Friday, while the space is open to the public as a coffee shop from Wednesday to Sunday. There’s a range of (mostly) communal seating, including several picnic-style tables outside.

Dark Arts only roasts single-origins, which it then gives some interesting names. The espresso, available as black or white (with milk) in sizes of 4, 6 and 8oz, rotates between Lost Highway and Dead Brick, while there’s a single filter option on batch brew. If you’re hungry, try the eclectic all-day brunch menu.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • A railway bridge crossing Ponsford Street in Homerton is not the most promising start...
  • ... when looking for today's Coffee Spot. However, look to the left, and...
  • ... all the way down there, by the fourth arch: can you see the tables? Let's go down...
  • ... to take a closer look. Open doors & an A-board: looks like a coffee shop to me.
  • And there it is: I Will Kill Again, the coffee shop/roastery of Dark Arts Coffee.
  • There's a solitary narrow table with a pair of benches outside to the left of the door...
  • ... with four more on the opposite side in Dark Arts' parking space.
  • Let's go in, shall we?
  • To the right, there's seating plus a mezzanine level...
  • ... while tucked away immediately to the right of the door is the roaster.
  • There's more seating and office space under the mezzanine...
  • ... plus the obligatory green bean store.
  • Upstairs is, sadly, staff only.
  • The seating on the right starts with this eight-person communal table...
  • ... with another eight-person table at the back under the mezzanine.
  • Meanwhile, you'll find the counter to the left of the door.
  • The rest of the space is given over to seating. This is the view dead ahead...
  • Another, less cuttered view of the communal table in the middle. This one has benches.
  • Beyond that, in the back left-hand corner, is the final bit of seating.
  • There's a low coffee table, with a pair of three-person sofas facing each other across it...
  • ... while up against the back wall is a two-person table with chairs.
  • Looking back, here's a view of sofa against the left-hand wall...
  • ... while here's the other sofa, with a view back across the arch.
  • A view of the space from the back of the arch.
  • The decor is very white, although I was taken by the large slogan on the back wall.
  • 'Dark Arts Coffee Relieves Fatigue'. Indeed it does.
  • The potential monotony of the white decor is broken by a splash of green on the counter.
  • All the coffee is roasted on this Diedrich roaster by the door.
  • Dark Arts only roasts single-origins, which are available on the retail shelves at the back.
  • However, Dark Arts names all its coffee: Lost Highway is a seasonal espresso...
  • ... while Dead Brick is always the same Guatemalan single-origin (espresso again).
  • More coffee: Too Much Time and Captain Zap.
  • Down to business. You order at the counter immediately to the left of the door.
  • The concise menu is at the back on the right...
  • ... while the other drinks are listed on a clipboard on the counter.
  • The eclectic brunch menu, meanwhile, can be found on the tables...
  • ... while there's a selection of cakes and savouries on the counter.
  • The espresso switches between Lost Highway & Dead Brick (which was on during my visit).
  • Interesting cup!
  • Once you've ordered, you get an interestingly designed flag to put on your table...
  • ... which has a number on the other side for the staff so they know where you're sitting.
  • And here it is, my Dead Brick espresso in a classic black cup.
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Dark Arts Coffee is an interesting company, founded by a group of friends who I’ve heard described as “Kiwi Death Metal Bikers”, an image that a Wifi password of “lordlucifer” does nothing to dispel! Nor, for that matter, does a name like I Will Kill Again… Although based firmly in East London, Dark Arts has, bizarrely, a Japanese offshoot, with a café/roastery in the town of Hayama.

Back in Homerton, I Will Kill Again is easily missed. Although officially on Ponsford Street, it’s actually in a row of railway arches in a dead-end lane along the north side of the tracks, just west of Homerton Station. There was no clue to its presence out on the street when I walked past one Sunday afternoon in May, although a quick glance down the lane revealed, four arches down, a set of four picnic tables with benches laid out in I Will Kill Again’s parking spot. There’s another picnic table outside to the left of the door, making five in all.

The arch is a standard affair, slightly wider than it is deep and about as tall, with whitewashed breezeblock front/back walls, the former punctured by a single, rectangular opening with a pair of glass double doors flanked and topped by narrow windows. Inside, the side walls and arched ceiling are lined with corrugated steel, so overall the décor is very white! There’s plenty of daylight from the doors/windows at the front, supplemented by three rows of three utilitarian fluorescent tubes hanging high above.

The layout has a similarly utilitarian feel, which is not meant as a criticism. Indeed, given the arch’s limited size, I was impressed that coffee shop, kitchen and roastery managed to coexist while preserving so much space for seating. The roastery is on the right-hand side, an 5kg Diedrich (pleasingly in black) tucked away just inside the door. Beyond that, in the right-hand corner, there’s a mezzanine level, staff only upstairs, while downstairs doubles as green bean storage/seating with a single, eight-person communal table.

Coffee shop and kitchen coexist in a wonderfully compact counter to the left of the door. There’s space for a two-group La Marzocco Strada espresso machine and two grinders, plus till and cakes along the front, while behind is the open kitchen which produces the eclectic all-day brunch menu which can best be described as fusion, dishes varying from classic poached eggs on toast through Kimchi fried rice to potato rosti waffles. Sadly, I was full after breakfast at Pavilion Café, otherwise I would have indulged.

The remaining space contains more seating. There’s a tall, eight-person table just to the right of the door, running parallel to the roaster, with the aforementioned table under the mezzanine beyond that. At the back is a lower, six/eight-person table with benches on either side, while on the left, beyond the counter, a pair of three-person sofas face each other across a low coffee table. Finally, right at the back, is a two-person table with the only chairs in the whole building.

Still full from breakfast, I decided to keep things simple and ordered an espresso, which was the Dead Brick, a Guatemalan single-origin (this is always the same Guatemalan, while the other espresso, Lost Highway, changes seasonally and is currently from Peru). My espresso was served in a classic, black bowl-shaped cup. Mind you, given I Will Kill Again’s reputation, I would have been disappointed had the cup been any colour other than black! The espresso itself was (fortunately) anything but dark, a lovely, well-balanced shot with a touch of acidity and very much a front-of-the-mouth taste.

December 2019: I Will Kill Again was a runner-up for the 2019 Best Roaster/Retailer Award.

www.darkartscoffee.co.uk +44 (0) 20 3774 0131
Monday CLOSED Roaster Dark Arts (espresso + batch brew)
Tuesday CLOSED Seating Tables, Sofas; Tables (outside)
Wednesday 10:00 – 16:30 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 10:00 – 16:30 Service Order at Counter
Friday 10:00 – 16:30 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 10:00 – 16:30 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 16:30 Power Limited
Chain International Visits 26th May 2019

October 2019: you can see what I made of Dark Arts Coffee Japan when I visited Hayama on a trip to Japan in September.

If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, then take a look at the rest of London’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to London.

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9 thoughts on “I Will Kill Again

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