One of the great things about the speciality coffee community is how interlinked everything is. I found out about Nostos Coffee from Bex of Double Skinny Macchiato, who’d heard about it from Saint Nine Coffee (another one that’s on my list) which, in turn, she heard about through Rosslyn Coffee. And then I pinched this introduction from Bex’s write-up of Nostos…
Nostos Coffee opened in May this year, occupying a small, quirky space next to Battersea Park station, the penultimate stop on the line into London Victoria, and just across the road from Battersea Park. Despite being a newcomer to the area, there was a steady stream of customers during my visit, each one being greeted like a long-lost friend by the barista, Edison.
The coffee, by the way, is excellent, with Kiss the Hippo and Ue Coffee Roasters providing contrasting options on espresso (plus decaf), along with multiple choices from the current guest roaster on pour-over through the Kalita Wave filter. There’s batch brew if you’re in a hurry, plus tea, hot chocolate and a selection of iced drinks. If you’re hungry, this is all backed up with a selection of cakes/pastries from a range of local bakers.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
On the north side of the busy Battersea Park Road, Nostos Coffee is to the right of Battersea Park Station, with a bus stop outside the door for good measure. It occupies a low-slung, single-storey brick building next to the railway arches and cast-iron supports of the station platform. Two broad, three-part windows puncture the front, with a barred gate on the left, through which you can see the small outdoor seating area.
Entry is via a single door which replaces the third part of the left-hand window. It’s an unusual space, a rectangle with the front at about 30°, sloping back from left to right (technically, a trapezium). This leads to an equally unusual layout, with an L-shaped counter down the left-hand wall and across most of the back wall, stopping just short on the right to leaving space for the toilet.
There are three benches arranged around the edges, with low stools for tables, plus a fourth bench in the outside seating area, although this is due a makeover in the near future. The first bench is in the window to the left of the door, the second in the window to the right, with the third along the right-hand wall. Finally, an opening at the front of the left-hand wall leads into the long, narrow outdoor seating area which runs down the side of the building.
This arrangement promotes Nostos’ friendly nature since unless you sit outside, you’re facing the staff and other customers. Immediately, you’re drawn into the coffee shop’s comings and goings, which in turn gives you plenty of opportunity to become involved in the conversations.
You order at the L-shaped counter, where you’ll find the Synesso espresso machine and its twin grinders arrayed at the back. Much of the action takes place to your left, where pastries shelter under the glass of an in-built counter-top display case. To the right of these, is a pour-over station, a pair of fitted scales recessed into the counter-top. Behind them all, along the left-hand wall, are a small retail section, the Mazzer ZM grinder (filter + decaf) and the pour-over kettle, the menu above it.
Nostos’ Instagram page states that “We won’t serve you a coffee that you can have anywhere else”, a fairly bold promise that it largely lives up to. Kiss the Hippo and Ue Coffee Roasters are the house roasters, Nostos choosing a coffee from each to provide contrasting options.
You won’t find your familiar blends here: during my visit, Ue Coffee’s Guatemala Acatenang, a washed coffee, offered more familiar notes of caramel, honey and sugar cane, while Kiss the Hippo’s Bensa from Ethiopia, an anaerobic natural with tasting notes of blackberry, pineapple and strawberry jam, offered a funkier alternative.
The espresso options change every few weeks, but there’s even more choice (and change) on pour-over. The week of my visit saw three options from Hard Lines in Cardiff on offer, while the week before it had been Bath’s Round Hill Roastery. If you turn up next week, Kickback Coffee from Stockport will be gracing the Kalita Wave filters.
I had my second anaerobic coffee of the day when I went for the Bensa, served as an espresso, which I paired with the last cinnamon and hazelnut pastry. Filled with cream and served warm at Edison’s suggestion, it was excellent, with a rich, chewy pastry and subtle combination of flavours. However, the star of the show was the Bensa. Well-balanced and with a mix of interesting flavours (but don’t ask me what they were), it made for a very fitting end to my day.
December 2021: Nostos Coffee has won the 2021 Best Espresso Award.
|10A BATTERSEA PARK ROAD • LONDON • SW8 4FF|
|Monday||07:00 – 17:00||Roaster||Kiss the Hippo, Ue Coffee (espresso) + Guests (filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 17:00||Seating||Benches, Bench (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 17:00||Food||Cakes|
|Thursday||07:00 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 17:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||08:00 – 17:00||Wifi||No|
|Chain||No||Visits||23rd August 2021|
Liked this Coffee Spot? Then check out the rest of London’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to London.
You can also read more about Nostos Coffee (and Greek Mythology) in Bex’s write-up.
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