Where to find good coffee in London

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On our recent trip to the UK I was amazed that a decent cup of coffee is still elusive in this fine city. I remember my first trip to London in 1998 as a 21 year old uni backpacker who couldn’t quite understand how the food was as stodgy and bad as it was in such a big city. I ordered some stir fried green veggies thinking I’d get something similar to the delicious and simple greens that I often get at yum cha except was presented with some cabbage in a gravy sauce. Bluergh. Thankfully the food has come a LONG way since then – although I still don’t understand why Australia has not embraced the Pret a Mager sambo chain – but I still found the coffee just as bad. I know Australians can be fussy when it comes to their daily cup of joe, but when you are spoiled for choice back home it can make the international transition a little hard to swallow.

I mean look at this. THIS WAS A FLAT WHITE.

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It’s very, um, flat isn’t it? And before you tell me that England is about tea, not coffee, I still think that if I can get a decent Flat white from the 7 Eleven at Pheasants Nest, London can sort that shit out.

Lucky for me now I posed the question on Instagram and got a WHOLE lot of answers from people (mostly other Aussies) in the know. I thought I’d share them all with you guys, because NO ONE deserves a bad coffee. Ever. Especially when overcoming jet lag.

Monmouth Coffee – Covent Garden, Borough& Bermondsy
Flat White Cafe – Berwick Street Soho
The Providores – Marylebone High Street
Kaffeine – Great Titchfield Street
Timberyard Coffee – Old Street & Martins Lane, Seven Dials
Gails – Church Rd Barnes (and various other locations)
Birdhouse – St Johns Hill Battersea
Allpress – Shoreditch
Pedlars World – Notting Hill
Ruby Dock Cafe – Camden Lock
Lantana Cafe – Fitzrovia
Salvation Jane – Shoreditch
Taylor St Baristas – various locations

I know there will be MANY more, so tell me what I’ve missed!
Anyone have any idea why the majority of coffee is so bad? How hard can it be?

Comments

  1. Tom’s Kitchen in Chelsea is amazing…for coffee and all meals. The most delicious bacon. They are also at Canary Wharf… http://www.tomskitchen.co.uk seriously sooo good. I dream about going back…

  2. Pret a Manger.

  3. I know the feeling Beth, I remember being in Scotland for 8 weeks and I was so tempted to send my husband on a cheap flight to bloody Italy to get me some coffee, I finally found a Hotel in the last week that knew what a Macchiato was and the coffee tasted fab.

  4. Completely agree with you about Pret – we came home ten years ago after living over there for 5 years. I thought that Pret or something like it would probably soon follow our arrival, but there has been nothing – I keep thinking that I should have done something way back then.

    Problem with the flat white is that it originated in Aust/NZ so a lot of people in London don’t really know what one is!

    • Surely it will make its way here? They were in NYC…I grabbed a new sambos when I was there a few years ago.

      • They are in Hong Kong so maybe making their way further south….

        Of course it didn’t taste the same as I remembered from London but I may have been put off this time because I now know the calorie count!

  5. Vivian S. says

    Thanks for this! I am off to London next week and was dreading trying to find a decent coffee. I do agree about Pret a Manger though – why aren’t they here?????

  6. I used to quite like the skim lattes in Pret a Manger now you come to mention it, but that was before I moved to Oz 10 years ago so they might taste rubbish now! But I definitely found better coffee on my last couple of trips back to Blighty in the last 12 months (outside of London).

  7. We’re spoilt in Australia for great coffee (& choices of milk) in many locations. Now I’m in the UK I always order a double shot in as small a cup or take away container as possible, as the ratio of milk is always disportionate it think. When you find a good barista in London it makes your day!! Liz X

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