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The Coffee Spot Guide to North West London

The bronze statue of Robert Louis Stephenson, who designed the original London and Birmingham Railway in the 19th Century, looking across to the modern London Euston station, built in the 1960s.The Coffee Spot Guide to North West London includes everything with a postcode starting with NW. This covers a large area, starting in central London around Euston station and then spreading out through Camden town. It goes as far north as Edgware and out to the west past Lord’s Cricket Ground and on towards Wembley.

Despite its large size, North West London is one of the poorest areas in terms of coverage on the Coffee Spot. I’m not doing too badly when it comes to the Coffee Spots around Euston Station, but that’s about it.

As with all of my guides, this one in particular should not be taken as comprehensive! Nor would I claim it to be so.

While you’re here, why not check out the rest of the Coffee Guides to London?

Header image: Lord’s Cricket Ground, looking south from the Grandstand at the end of first day’s play of the 2014 England vs Sri Lanka Test Match.

Coffee Spots

Beany Green, Regent’s Place (Beany Green Euston Update)

A pair of Beany Green deckchairs, blue on the left, pink on the right. Each shows a half-peeled banana with the word "YOUR" above the image, and "NEEDS YOU" underneath.Those folks at Beany Green are at it again! No sooner do I visit/write about a place, than Prue and the team are changing things about! The latest example is the Beany Green at Regent’s Place, or Baby Beany as I think of it, which has undergone something of a facelift/reorganisation since going on the Coffee Spot this time last year.

The offering (healthy and innovative breakfasts, lunches and salads, backed up by Aussie-inspired cakes, all washed down with The Roasting Party espressos/flat whites) hasn’t changed. However, the look-and-feel has. The bench and tables along the left-hand wall has gone, replaced by two far more utilitarian high-tables at right-angles to the wall. Similarly, the counter’s been reorganised, the espresso machine being moved from all the way at the back to right at the front. Fortunately, the most important ingredient of all, the Beany Green goodness, is still available by the bucket-load!

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For the Good of the People, Euston Station

For the Good of the People's logo, taken from the menu board at the stall at London Euston Station.For the Good of the People is part of the Real Food Market on Euston Station forecourt, directly opposite the station’s main entrance, an excellent spot for a pre-/post-train coffee (except for Mondays, when it’s closed). The set up is pretty simple, just a stall at the left-hand end of the Real Food Market stalls, serving espresso-based drinks along with a selection of retail bags of coffee. Unsurprisingly, it’s disposable cups only, so don’t forget to bring your own.

For the Good of the People uses its bespoke Canopy blend, its standard espresso-based menu having a commendably simple pricing policy (one price for with milk, another for black). There’s also tea, a range of iced coffees (all at one price) and, for a small supplement, alternative milks. Although there’s no seating at the stall, you can take a seat at any of the approximately 20 picnic-style tables on the forecourt.

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A chalkboard inside Leyas on Camden High Street, offering coffee, breakfast, lunch and cakes.I can see why fellow-blogger Matt (aka The Gladieater) likes Leyas so much. It’s a delightful spot on Camden High Street, within sight of the famous Mornington Crescent tube station. It has an interesting layout, with a split level. This could be a nightmare, but Leyas has used this to great effect: there’s a small group of tables on street level as you come in, then steps lead up to the counter and down to a lovely basement. It reminds me of a smaller, cosier version of the Boston Tea Party on Bristol’s Whiteladies Road.

Leyas regularly rotates its roasters, with a different option on espresso, pour-over (V60) and decaf. Sometimes they are all from the same roaster, and at other times it’s a different roaster for each. While I was there in November, Alchemy was doing the honours on espresso, Nude on pour-over and Square Mile on decaf. On my return in June it was Mission Coffee Works and now it’s the turn of Assembly.

However, Leyas isn’t just coffee. There’s an impressive selection of cakes, a massive range of sandwiches and salads, plus extensive breakfast and lunch menus, the food all made in the kitchen at the back.

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Origin at the British Library

The words "ORigiN coffee roasters" in illuminated white on a black backgroundIn the foyer of the British Library on Euston Road, on the right of the doors, opposite the gift shop and next to the Friends of the British Library desk, you’ll find the second London outpost of Cornwall’s Origin. Although calling itself an espresso bar, it’s considerably more than this, and while not quite reaching the heights of the output of Origin’s flagship on Charlotte Road, it’s nonetheless very impressive.

From a small counter in the corner, Origin manages to deliver its seasonal Pathfinder espresso, as well as decaf, plus, (hopefully) by the time you read this, a single-origin espresso too. During the week there’s another single-origin filter on bulk-brew, while at weekends, it’s available through the Aeropress. For those not interested in coffee, there’s a wide range of Canton Tea.

And, on top of all that, well-stocked retail shelves have bags of beans and coffee kit for sale. There’s also food, both sweet and savoury. The sweet comes in the form of cookies, plus Crosstown Doughnuts, while for the savoury, Origin eschews the usual format of sandwiches in favour of a sausage roll for the meat-eaters and a Homity Pie for the vegetarians, which makes a welcome change.

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Origin, Euston Road

Barista in action, pouring a Kalita Wave filter at Origin's Euston Road branch.Hot on the heels of Origin opening its coffee bar in the British Library foyer comes a full Origin coffee shop, located just outside the Library on the Euston Road. This is now the fourth Origin outlet in London, with the first, on Charlotte Road, opening only last year. These join the two long-standing shops and the roastery back in Cornwall.

Long and thin, the Euston Road branch offers more seating options than the foyer, plus it attracts the passing trade, whereas the coffee bar in foyer was only really known to Library visitors. As an added bonus, there’s a kitchen at the back, enabling Origin to offer expanded breakfast and lunch menus to go with the familiar doughnuts and cakes.

The coffee offering, meanwhile, is very similar, although the Kalita Wave has supplanted the Aeropress as the filter method of choice, while a gorgeous-looking three-group Kees van der Westen provides the espresso. Here there’s a choice of the Pathfinder seasonal house-blend plus a single-origin, with another single-origin on batch-brew and two more on pour-over. Although both branches usually offer the same beans, switch-over can occasionally vary. This is all backed up by an impressive retail range, featuring numerous single-origins.

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Second Shot, Marylebone

A lovely decaf cortado, roasted by Square Mile, and served at the new Second Shot in Marylebone.Second Shot made its name as a coffee shop and social enterprise, tackling homelessness one espresso at a time. Plenty of coffee shops offer help with pay it forward schemes, but Second Shot’s founder, Julius Ibrahim, went one step further, employing people affected by homelessness, giving them jobs in the short-term and careers in the longer-term.

Second Shot opened its first branch in Bethnal Green in 2016, but I didn’t manage to visit until two months ago. Then, just over a month later, Second Shot opened its second location, this time in Marylebone, between the station and Edgeware road. This time I didn’t want to leave it as long, so when the England vs Ireland Test Match at the nearby Lords’ Cricket Ground finished early, I saw my opportunity and went along.

Like the original in Bethnal Green, Second Shot stands on its own two feet as a speciality, multi-roaster coffee shop, up there with some of the best in London. It offers a different roaster on espresso and filter, along with a small brunch menu and a selection of cake. While the shop’s quite small, it’s larger than the original, plus there’s a specious basement/training room.

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The Fields Beneath

A very small coffee (recommended by Jess) and a slice of Apricot crumble (recommended by Vanessa) at The Fields BeneathIt’s almost impossible not to like The Fields Beneath, located underneath North London’s Kentish Town West train station. From the moment I saw it, I was sold, but if I’d been in any doubt, the warm and friendly greeting I got from baristas Jess and her colleague Vanessa would have won me over. Although they “only” work there, their affection for and dedication to The Fields Beneath puts some owners I know to shame.

It helps that The Fields Beneath serves excellent coffee from regularly rotating roasters, which means you’ll always be in for a surprise! However, it’s served without a hint of pretension and none of the snobbery that sometimes plagues such places. Jess was equally happy discussing the finer points of roasting with me and serving a “black coffee” to the next customer who came in.

It also helps that the cakes, pastries and bread (I tried the lot) are divine and that The Fields Beneath is a lovely place in which to eat them/drink the coffee. The only downside I can see is that the line serving the station, part of the London Overground network, doesn’t actually connect to any of the stations that I regularly use!

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If you don’t like lists or just want to see where everything is, you can use the map to find your way around. Note that this shows the closest 50 Coffee Spots to the centre of the NW postcode region, not just those Coffee Spots in North West London.

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