CanDo Coffee, Merchant Square

A lovely espresso made using Electric Coffee Company's Rocket 88 blend at Can Do Coffee on Merchant Square, served in my Kaffeeform cup made from recycled coffee grounds.CanDo Coffee was one of many speciality coffee places to spring up around my old stomping grounds of Sheldon Square/the back of Paddington Station once I’d stopped working there at the end of 2015. In the case of CanDo Coffee, it first made a brief appearance in a canal boat in 2014, before reappearing in 2016 with a permanent pitch by the canal outside the back entrance to the station. There was a second CanDo Coffee pitch just over the canal at the western end of Paddington Basin. This slowly migrated eastwards over the next two years, reaching Merchant Square and the Floating Pocket Park at the eastern end of Paddington Basin by the time I returned to the area for a week at the start of June.

Serving espresso-based drinks using the Rocket 88 blend from Ealing’s Electric Coffee Company, it was just outside my hotel, making a perfect early morning coffee stop on my daily walk to the office. CanDo Coffee serves principally takeaway customers and only has takeaway cups, so don’t forget to bring your own. However, if you do want to linger, there are several tables scattered around on the grass of the park.

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CanDo Coffee, Paddington

An A-board showing two stick figures talking. The first asks "So where do the profits go?" and the second answers "All our profits are spent on training and giving jobs to people that need it!". Underneath it says "100% non-profit coffee project using Monmouth espresso".I first discovered CanDo Coffee in 2014, when it popped up on a canal boat moored outside the rear entrance to London’s Paddington Station. However, that was a short-lived appearance and I heard no more about CanDo Coffee until word reached me that it had returned with a more permanent-looking pitch a little further down the canal in the direction of Paddington Basin.

I popped back to my old haunts a couple of weeks ago to check out old favourite Beany Green and also to track down the new CanDo Coffee. Tucked away on the tow path, it’s a delightful spot with a couple of outside tables, serving excellent Monmouth espresso, with a few treats thrown in for good measure. There’s also a motorised trike on the other side of the canal, but it’s only open from 07:30 – 11:30 on weekdays and I was too late to catch it.

June 2017: CanDo Coffee now uses Electric Coffee Company (and has done for some time, I’ve just been slow on the uptake).

June 2018: The second pitch has migrated eastward to Merchant Square, moprhing into a trailer along the way. It’s also now open until 3 o’clock in the afternoon. You can see what I made of it when I visited in June.

July 2018: Matt, who was running CanDo when I visited in 2016, now has his own set-up in the City, the Lazy Coffee Cart.

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Electric Coffee Company

A flat white in a classic black cup at the Electric Coffee Company in Ealing.When the history of the recent explosion in speciality coffee in London is written, lots of attention will be given to central London and the influence that the Kiwis and Aussies had on the scene. However, I hope a chapter or two is dedicated the London borough of Ealing, so often overlooked, and to the early home-grown pioneers such as Munson’s and today’s Coffee Spot, the Electric Coffee Company.

Sat right outside Ealing Broadway station at the end of the District and Central lines and on the mainline into Paddington, there’s really no excuse for not visiting the Electric Coffee Company (although one might ask where I’ve been in the almost three years since I started the Coffee Spot…). Half of the buses to Ealing also seem to terminate outside its doors, spilling out their passengers and almost begging them to go in for coffee.

For the last seven years, the Electric Coffee Company, with husband and wife Simon and Oksana at the helm, has been serving fine coffee to commuters and residents alike. In a recent development, it has also begun roasting its own beans (initially under the name Automaton Precision Roasters, but now under the Electric Coffee brand), in a dedicated roastery down in Sussex.

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