Rosslyn Coffee (Original)

The clock at Rosslyn Coffee where it's always coffee time.The City of London has always had good coffee as long as you know where to look for it. Initially, this was from a handful of pioneers, such as Alchemy Café and Taylor Street Baristas, but these days there seems to be great coffee springing up everywhere! One of the latest additions is Rosslyn Coffee on Queen Victoria Street, which opened in February this year. Other than its excellent coffee, Rosslyn’s claim to fame is that it’s in a building owned by Sir Alan Sugar.

Although a new name to speciality coffee, the team behind it, an Aussie-Irish duo, have years of experience behind them, having originally met working for Caravan (more Aussie connections). Although Aussie owned/inspired cafes are often known for their brunches as much as their coffee (eg Beany Green, Caravan), here at Rosslyn, the focus is on the coffee, combined with Aussie hospitality. There’s a house-blend, guest and decaf on espresso, a single-origin guest on pour-over (via the Marco Beverage Systems SP9) and a  batch brew using a second single-origin. Although you are welcome to stay, Rosslyn is not really a place for lingering, with limited seating/standing at a series of window-bars that line the space.

July 2021: I’ve updated my piece on Rosslyn Coffee. This is the original write-up, published in July 2018. For an up-to-date description, please see the updated post, while you can see what’s changed in my Coffee Spot Update.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • There's an interesting sight on Queen Victoria Street in the City of London...
  • This is Rosslyn Coffee, a new addition, seen here approaching from the east...
  • ... and here from the west. All the best coffee shops are wearing scaffolding this year.
  • Rosslyn Coffee has another interesting feature: two doors.
  • The one on the east is marked 'In'...
  • ... while the one on the west is marked 'Out'. It makes for a good flow when busy.
  • Long and thin, the counter is at the back, opposite the pair of doors.
  • This is the view from the left-hand (western) end, looking the length of Rosslyn.
  • Seating is restricted to window bars, which leaves the floor space clear for customers.
  • At the far right-hand (eastern) end, beyond the counter, is one group of seats.
  • This starts with a two-person window-bar to the right of the door...
  • ... and then moves on to a four-person window-bar at the far end.
  • The view out of the window, looking past the church of St Mary Aldermary on the left.
  • The view back along Rosslyn Coffee from the seats at the far end.
  • There's more seating (well, standing) up at the left-hand (western) end in the shape of...
  • ... another window-bar to the left of the door with a final one across the left-hand wall.
  • Although the decor is a little sparse, Rosslyn has some interesting features, such as...
  • ... these plants hanging on the left-hand wall...
  • .... while the clock, which is between the two doors, is a neat feature...
  • ... and worth a closer look.
  • Rosslyn Coffee has a strong retail selection on the back wall to the right of the counter.
  • There are beans, hot chocolate, chai and cups for sale.
  • The top shelf has hot chocolate from Australia, plus chai, while the shelf below...
  • ... has coffee from guest roasters Origin and, at the far end...
  • ... Bath's Colonna Coffee.
  • The bottom shelf, meanwhile, has the lovely ceramic cups that Rosslyn uses...
  • ... and above that, its own coffee, espresso on the left...
  • ... and filter on the right.
  • So , to business. The counter has the till, and cakes, at the far, right-hand end...
  • ... while the espresso machine, and a very proud barista, are at the other end.
  • The espresso machine is a rather swanky Synesso...
  • ... which has no fewer than three grinders, house-blend, guest and decaf.
  • The concise coffee menu is on the wall behind the till...
  • ... while the cakes, chocolate brownies in this case, are laid out on the counter.
  • Rosslyn uses the SP9 from Marco Beverage Systems to do pour-over.
  • I don't often see these in action, so I ordered a pour-over to try it out.
  • Using a Kalita Wave filter (in this case), the SP9 is a fully-automated pour-over system...
  • ... applying a pre-programmed series of pulses of water to the coffee...
  • ... which, as best it can, mimics the pour-over process.
  • And here it is, my pour-over, served in a carafe with a lovely ceramic cup on the side.
  • My coffee in the cup.
  • Naturally I had to pair it with one of the lovely-looking chocolate brownies.
  • However, I'll leave you with someone else's flat white (in a KeepCup I'm pleased to note)...
  • ... and its lovely latte art.
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You’ll find Rosslyn Coffee on the busy Queen Victoria Street which runs west from the Bank of England. It’s on a prominent corner on the north side of the street, across from the Mansion House and next to an old church, St Mary Aldermary, itself home to Host Café, while another café-in-a-church, The Wren, is just down the street. During my visit, Rosslyn had disguised itself in a cloak of scaffolding, which, although rather prominent in the pictures, is actually much less noticeable in real life.

Rosslyn itself is long, thin and wedge-shaped, the long side running along Queen Victoria Street, the narrow end on the right (facing in the direction of the Bank of England). The front, plus the narrow end of the wedge, are almost all glass, which, combined with the south-facing aspect, make Rosslyn an incredibly bright, sunny space, which is coupled with a bright, white, minimalist interior.

There are two doors in front, one either side of a central brick pillar, while the counter is directly opposite, running along most of the back wall. The right-hand door is marked “In” while the left-hand one is marked “Out”. While I was there, late one afternoon, no-one paid much attention to these, but when it’s busy in the mornings, the two doors form a natural flow for takeaway customers. The right-hand door leads you to the till at the right-hand end of the counter, while the left-hand door is by the espresso and pour-over machines, so you can easily leave once you’ve collected your coffee.

If you’re staying, there’s not much in the way of seating, just wooden, standalone bars. To the right of the first door is a two-person bar with bar stools, with a further four-person bar in the windows at the narrow end of the wedge. Meanwhile, to the left of the second door is another window-bar, standing room only this time, with a fourth bar running all the way along left-hand wall at the thick end of the wedge.

The counter is actually L-shaped since it runs parallel to the front windows, while the wedge shape means that the back wall gets further and further away as you go to the left. At the right-hand end, there’s the till and cakes, with the menu on the wall behind, retail shelves to the right of that. Next, opposite the doors, is the Synesso Hydra espresso machine, with its three grinders, while at the far, left-hand end, are two Marco Beverage Systems SP9s. The batch brewer, meanwhile, along with the EK43 grinder for the filter coffee, is on a small extension to the counter behind the SP9s.

Rosslyn has its own house-blend (70% Brazilian, 30% Colombian), roasted by Modern Standard. This is for milk-based drinks, while espressos, long blacks and Americanos use the guest espresso. This changes every three months and is currently a Peruvian single-origin from Colonna Coffee, while the decaf is a CO2-processed Nicaraguan. There’s a guest roaster on pour-over, which changes every month, and another single-origin (again roasted by Modern Standard) on batch brew, currently a Colombian.

I tried the guest pour-over, the La Huella, a washed coffee from Nicaragua, roasted by Origin. Made using the Kalita Wave on the SP9, this was served in a carafe with a gorgeous pottery cup on the side. A lovely, clean coffee, it was very drinkable, maturing slightly as it cooled. I also had a taste of the cold brew (an Ethiopian) which was one of the best I’ve had in a long time, although still not enough to convert me away from my love of hot coffee!

78 QUEEN VICTORIA STREET • LONDON • EC4N 4SJ +44 (0) 7732 077870
Monday 06:30 – 17:00 Roaster Modern Standard + Guests (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 06:30 – 17:00 Seating Window Bars
Wednesday 06:30 – 17:00 Food Cake
Thursday 06:30 – 17:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 06:30 – 17:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 09:00 – 16:00 Wifi No
Sunday CLOSED Power No
Chain No Visits Original: 5th July 2018
Update: 9th July 2021

If you liked this Coffee Spot, then check out the rest of London’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to London.