Alex Coffee

The single-origin Brazilian espresso from Red Bank Coffee served in an over-sized, classic white cup at Alex Coffee.Fitzrovia, in London’s West End, has, despite recent closures such as the much-loved Curators Coffee Gallery, a booming speciality coffee scene which comes in all shapes and sizes, including such oddities as Attendant (in an old public lavatory). However, the subject of today’s Coffee Spot is easily the smallest of them all, a title vacant since 2016 when Goodge St Espresso closed.

Alex Coffee is as small as they come, just a door and a window opening onto a simple interior, counter at the back and enough room for two small stools. Indeed, there’s more seating outside at the four-person table in front of the window. The coffee, from the Lake District’s Red Bank, is similarly simple: a concise espresso-based menu, plus batch brew and a cafetiere for two. If you don’t like it hot, there are almost as many iced options, plus hot chocolate and a selection of tea.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Blink and you'll miss it, the narrow blue store front on Hansen Street that is home to...
  • ... Alex Coffee (which is pretty much what you get: Alex + Coffee).
  • There's a little bit of outside seating in the shape of this small four-person table...
  • ... which is in front of the window on the right, cleverly screened by this planter.
  • Inside, we're greeted by Alex, who stands at the counter, about one third of the way back.
  • There's a single stool at the front on the left...
  • ... and another one in a window-bar to the right of the door, but that's about it.
  • I loved the use of the girder above the counter as a shelf for the cups though!
  • There's a narrow shelf on the left-hand wall that doubles as a book shelf...
  • ... while shelves on the right display the coffee from the Lake District's Red Bank.
  • Talking of which, the concise coffee menu is on the wall to your right, next to the till.
  • There's a cafetiere option (for two) or batch brew from the Moccamaster.
  • However, I wanted to try the espresso from the Victoria Arduino White Eagle machine...
  • ... and was rewarded with a lovely single-origin from Brazil, served in a classic white cup.
Blink and you'll miss it, the narrow blue store front on Hansen Street that is home to...1 ... Alex Coffee (which is pretty much what you get: Alex + Coffee).2 There's a little bit of outside seating in the shape of this small four-person table...3 ... which is in front of the window on the right, cleverly screened by this planter.4 Inside, we're greeted by Alex, who stands at the counter, about one third of the way back.5 There's a single stool at the front on the left...6 ... and another one in a window-bar to the right of the door, but that's about it.7 I loved the use of the girder above the counter as a shelf for the cups though!8 There's a narrow shelf on the left-hand wall that doubles as a book shelf...9 ... while shelves on the right display the coffee from the Lake District's Red Bank.10 Talking of which, the concise coffee menu is on the wall to your right, next to the till.11 There's a cafetiere option (for two) or batch brew from the Moccamaster.12 However, I wanted to try the espresso from the Victoria Arduino White Eagle machine...13 ... and was rewarded with a lovely single-origin from Brazil, served in a classic white cup.14
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Alex Coffee, which opened in December 2017, is on Hansen Street, just around the corner from Attendant and Kin. Set back from the street and occupying an incredibly narrow store front, it’s very much a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of place, one of the few I know of that’s far taller than it is wide (maybe three times as tall!). There’s a tall, thin door on the left and an equally tall (and almost as thin) window on the right, with a narrow, four-person table with small stools in front of it.

Inside, the layout’s even simpler. The counter starts about a third of the way back, running along the left-hand wall, housing an impressive three-group Victoria Arduino White Eagle espresso machine which looks far too big for such a small space. The till, meanwhile, is off to the right on a small counter extension of its own, the menu on the wall to the right.

If you want to sit down, you actually have two options. There’s a small window-bar to the right of the door with a single stool, while there’s another stool at the counter on the left, where you can sit and watch your espresso being made. However, other than two narrow shelves, one along each wall, which can be useful if you need to put your coffee down, that’s about it. If all this sounds rather cramped, it’s not. Paradoxically, Alex Coffee feels rather large, helped by the incredibly high ceiling and aided by the natural light from a front which is almost entirely glass.

The draw, however, is the coffee. And Alex, owner, barista and pretty much everything else, who can be relied upon to greet you with a friendly smile from behind the counter. Unusually for London, Alex uses Red Bank Coffee, all the way from Coniston in the Lake District, although the link between the two goes back much further, Alex having gone to the same law school as Tom, Red Bank’s owner. They were put in touch by a mutual friend, with Alex describing Tom as a kindred spirit in coffee.

Tom typically produces a bespoke seasonal espresso blend for Alex, although currently it’s a Brazilian single-origin which I tried as an espresso. Served in an over-sized cup, it was a lovely, smooth, well-balanced coffee that I’d have loved to try in milk. However, I’d arrived late on a Friday and was already over my daily caffeine limit, so that pleasure will have to wait for another day!

1 HANSON STREET • FITZROVIA • LONDON • W1W 6TA
https://alexcoffee.business.site
Monday 07:30 – 17:30 Roaster Red Bank (espresso + batch brew)
Tuesday 07:30 – 17:30 Seating Table (outside)
Wednesday 07:30 – 17:30 Food N/A
Thursday 07:30 – 17:30 Service Counter
Friday 07:30 – 17:30 Cards Yes
Saturday CLOSED Wifi N/A
Sunday CLOSED Power N/A
Chain No Visits 12th July 2019

Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to London for more great Coffee Spots.


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