SF has a big coffee culture, I wrote about this recently in my San Francsico trip report. At the time I thought how the coffee (and coffee shops) out there put London to shame, but it’s more likely my lack of knowledge about good coffee in London that’s the problem.
Having done some research there’s definitely a London coffee scene, it’s just not something i’ve really looked at before. In an attempt to change that I put together a public map of good coffee shops and asked friends to add to it.
It’s become a collection of coffee places I like, friends favourites, and places i’d like to try.
Already i’m finding it useful, and have discovered (or rediscovered) good places.
An awesome discovery (thanks Matt Bilson) was The Counter in E3, a great coffee shop that does excellent brunch too. The best thing is that it’s still a bit of a hidden gem. Why? Because it’s really out of the way. Further out east that any other cafe on the map, over the north circular, at the back of an industrial estate, in the shadow of the Olympic stadium.
It’s far from an ideal location, but that’s why it’s so good. It’s not full of pretentious East London fashionistas idling through on their way to a market or gallery opening, there to be seen. If you go here, it’s because you’ve gone here, out of your way. The staff are friendly, the food good (I had a mumbai scramble, recommended), and the coffee excellent. Possibly the best latte i’ve had in London so far.
I’ve also rediscovered a few places I used to visit. At Broadway Market there’s a Vietnamese coffee stall, far from your normal coffee shop fare. It’s worth a visit. There’s also A Taste of Bitter Love, a tiny coffee shop in a retail unit on Hackney road. It’s directly on my route to work every day and I popped in here once or twice when it first opened. Back then it was deadly quiet and not amazing coffee, though not bad. Since then things seem to have improved, each time I cycle past it’s busier and I’ve heard good things about it, i’m going to have to go back.
There’s yet more places I still want to try, first on my list are Tina We Salute You (in Dalston) and Climpson & Sons on Broadway Market. And after that, there’s still plenty more. I’m looking forward to some cold, lazy, weekends exploring back streets in search of a good cup of coffee. I promise i’ll bring back some pictures and reviews.
This is the start of mission to rediscover good coffee in London. I have no doubt it exists here, you just need to look for it, beyond the stifling string of sub-mediocore high-street chains.