London Travel Guide
London, a truly global city. As such it has a great selection of coffee spots, mostly clustered in the hipster East End. Good beer is also to be found. Here are some of our London favorites.
From Costa Coffee to Café Nero (and of course Starbucks) London is home to many, many chain mediocre coffee brands, however, third wave and independent roasters and shops have been making their mark in recent years. Head to East London where cheaper rents originally attracted most of the artisanal activity and you’ll find many specialty coffee shops, and thankfully from there, they have spread out around the rest of the city.
These guys have been around for quite some time and recently returned to their origins on Monmouth Street just north of Covent Garden in the Seven Dials area. This café has a large selection of delicious beans from around the world from which to choose and a small seating area, which explains the often long lines that form outside. It also has additional locations at the Borough Market and in Bermondsey in South London.
Thankfully, we visited in the Seven Dials locations in the afternoon when it was quiet and the friendly barista recommended a great Kenyan coffee that we had as an espresso. She offered up almost every bean they had as an option for espresso, so we weren’t sure how they manage to dial them all in, so we went with her suggestion and weren’t disappointed. The provide a plethora of information on their company including the types of roasting equipment they use and details on every bean and blend. Definitely check them out. Our top pick for the city.
This small salad and coffee joint only has a few seats, but has some really interesting coffee. They roast their own We stopped in and had a single origin Colombia that was uncharacteristically tart for a Colombia – so much so that the latte tasted almost as if they had made it with yogurt.
This East End location of the Cornwall-based chain always has a good single-origin or two on that’s roasted nicely.
This multi-branch operation (that even has a New York location) serves up some really good coffee. We visited their Mayfair location and it was particularly refreshing in the midst of so many chain stores. They know their stuff and are happy to chat about coffee. In addition to our espresso and lattes, they gave us a sample of their iced coffee (similar to but not actually cold brew) and it was excellent.
This place is like you’re “local” pub in Britain that was taken over by hipsters. A more tasteful take on the traditional: cleaner and with way better beer than your pub standards. A great selection of craft brews from the UK, Europe and the states on draft and in cans and bottles.
OK, we know this place has like 8 locations and is always packed. However, it’s ubiquity is what makes it great. There always seems to be one nearby, so you don’t have to either go home thirsty or taint yourself with something awful like Carling. Always a good selection of British and American craft beers.