London Coffee, a summary and a map

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.

London Coffee Map

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.

Latte and hot chocolate at The Counter

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.


  1. Posted September 8, 2009 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Independent coffee shops are serving some seriously fine coffee. Here’s a few of my personal highlights:

    Flat White (Berwick Street) and the Milk Bar (Bateman St) are both excellent serving great coffee with a great atmosphere. They’re brewing their own blend of Square Mile beans.

    Sacred is over towards carnaby street and is a Kiwi run place. Pretty good solid earthy coffee. Think they were brewing monmouth last time I checked

    Fernandez and Wells has a small coffee/food outlet round the corner from their main deli. In Lexington St. Again I think they use Monmouth Beans but I could be wrong.

    If you find yourself over in Whitecross then you’d be mad to miss out on a vist to Gwilym Davies Coffee cart who is the current World Barista Champion no less.

    For roasters then the top of the list is Square Mile Coffee Roasters who have an online shop at Highly recommmended some of the varied beans I’ve got from there are exquisite and roasted to perfection.

    After that Monmouth Coffee (Covent Garden and Borough Market) are pretty awesome too. The Monmouth location also brews their espresso blend and it’s pretty good.

  2. Andrew Whitehouse
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Stuart about Monmouth Coffee ; I used to work near Borough Market and the daily espresso (an explosion of flavours) and/or full fat latte was always a joy. They have a good range of beans for grinding too.

  3. Posted October 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Man I wish I had this map back in the day!

    My one happy find living in Victoria Park – did you ever go to Loafing on the north side of the park? Pretty good coffee, great cream tea.

  4. Posted December 3, 2009 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the recommendations, i’ll add them to the map. Monouth @ Borough makes excellent coffee, but has possibly the longest queue i’ve ever seen (at least on a Saturday morning…)

    Never made it there, it’s just round the corner from my flat so i’ll try this weekend. Ta!

  5. Posted January 20, 2010 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Have you checked out Nude Espresso yet? Hanbury Street, off Brick Lane. You’d like it.

  6. Posted January 21, 2010 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    @Tim: Ben and I made it there before Christmas, as part of the Gwilym Davies disloyalty card, pretty good, much better than most of the coffee that end of brick lane.

  7. sara richards
    Posted March 8, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    have you tried Happy Kitchen by London fields station, Mentmore terrace, under the arches, excellent coffee. Next to them is a shope that sells really excellent bread.

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