Let me tell you a story. A story about coffee, in fact. Story Coffee started life in 2014 on St John’s Hill, between Clapham Junction and Wandsworth, although very much at the Clapham Junction end. Story Coffee made its name serving awesome brunches and excellent coffee in a fairly small, sunny spot before adding the even smaller, more grab-and-go orientated Story Works to the family in 2018. Then, in early 2020, along came Story Coffee in the Ram Quarter, Wandsworth.
The latest Story Coffee is huge. You could easily fit the first two inside and have plenty of space left over. There’s a neat coffee bar area at the front, a dedicated dining area towards the back, and a large, outdoor seating area out front. The same staples that originally made Story Coffee its name remain: excellent coffee and awesome brunches, but now with wine added to the mix.
There’s the familiar Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machine on the counter, with a bespoke house-blend roasted by Modern Standard gracing the hopper of the Mahlkönig grinder. There’s also decaf, plus a single-origin on batch brew (both Modern Standard/Story Coffee), while various guests are available on pour-over via the SP9/Kalita Wave.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Story Coffee is on the southern side of Ram Quarter, Wandsworth’s new residential/retail development, facing, but set back from, the A3. It occupies the ground floor of a modern, four-storey residential building, which looks like two back-to-back blocks with the second one offset to the left. This leads to a strange layout, which Story Coffee has used to good effect to create a series of distinct spaces.
Approaching from the front/A3, with the River Wandle to the left, Story Coffee presents a pair of tall, square windows, in front of which is a large, outdoor seating area, separated from the open space between Story Coffee and the road by a row of knee-high planters. These extend almost the full width of Story Coffee, but stop just short of the right-hand end, where a separate set of planters create a short corridor.
This leads to a door in the right-hand window, which you might think is the main entrance. However, a sign informs you it’s for takeaway customers only. If you want to sit in, you need to go around to the left, where you’ll find a second entrance, just beyond the planters. If you stand here looking bemused (which was my tactic), a member of staff will greet you and offer you a table. Turning right takes you to the outside seating, where there two rows of two-person tables, eight round ones running around the edges, and five square ones in front of the window.
Alternatively, heading inside takes you to the front part of Storey Coffee, which is dominated by the long counter running almost the full width of the back wall. Seating is provided by a line of pairs of hexagonal tables along the front (and one set of three), but these are really only for coffee drinkers.
If you’re eating and want to sit inside, then turn left, go down past the counter and into the rear part of Story Coffee, where you’ll find a row of two/four-person tables on your right, before the space opens out to the left. There’s a single, 12-person communal table in the middle, with more two/four-person tables along the edges, plus there’s the kitchen at the back.
Finally, the front/takeaway door brings you in at the right-hand end of the counter where you can order, pay, collect your coffee and head back out again. Alternatively, I suspect that the staff would let you take a seat at one of the hexagonal tables. All-in-all, it’s a very neat system that keeps the different customers out of each other’s way.
Turning to coffee, Story Coffee has a bespoke seasonal house blend plus decaf, both roasted on its behalf by Modern Standard, which also supplies a seasonal single-origin for batch brew filter. There’s more choice on pour-over, Story Coffee using the SP9 automated brewer in combination with the Kalita Wave. Various guest roasters make an appearance: my choices were JAM, the filter version of Sweetshop espresso from Square Mile, and Stonewall Riots from Dark Arts Coffee.
I was sorely tempted by JAM, but went instead for the Stonewall Riots, a naturally-processed coffee from Finca Capri in Colombia, which has a 72-hour anaerobic fermentation stage. I was not disappointed. Served in a single-walled glass at the perfect drinking temperature, the coffee was rich and fruity, maturing as it cooled in the glass.
As well as my coffee, I had lunch, choosing the smashed avocado on sourdough, which is exactly what it said on the menu, plus poached eggs, which arrived in the form of two perfectly-poached eggs, balanced on the top of the massed avocado. Heavenly.
|RAM QUARTER • 15 BARLEY WALK • LONDON • SW18 1UL|
|Monday||07:00 – 17:00||Roaster||Modern Standard + Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 17:00||Seating||Tables; Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 17:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||07:00 – 17:00||Service||Table|
|Friday||07:00 – 17:00||Payment||Cards Only|
|Saturday||08:00 – 17:00||Wifi||No|
|Sunday||08:00 – 16:00||Power||No|
|Chain||Local||Visits||23rd August 2021|
Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to London for more great Coffee Spots.
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