20 February 2011

Mapping London's Best Espresso Bars

Update: I compiled a new list of my favourite London coffee shops in April 2012, so check that post out if you're seeking further caffeine inspiration.

Six or seven years ago, when my friends and I made the trek down to London from university in Cambridge, we had to settle for Caffè Nero when it was time for a coffee break. There just wasn't anywhere central to get a really good (as opposed to adequate) cappuccino or macchiato. Since then, fortunately, Antipodean coffee culture has hit W1 and the more easterly postcodes in central London — big time. As such, I've put together a list of my favourite places to hang out with a great cup of coffee.

Most of these, if not all, also feature on Time Out's list but that's probably because central London is small enough that it's hard to keep really great espresso bars a secret for very long. Many also feature in my 2009 "London Condensed" guide, which also includes my food and shopping favourites and some inspiration for things to do in London.

As you will notice from my map, most of my top seven fall within (or almost within) the square formed by Mortimer Street, Regent Street, Shaftesbury Avenue and the Charing Cross Road (Providores is not strictly a coffee shop but I felt I had to include at least one place in Marylebone). Espresso Room serves the best coffee but it's so far east I only really go there when I'm working closer to that neck of the woods. Included in the map are the following places (in a rough order of preference):

1. The Espresso Room
2. Kaffeine — my mini-review (2009)
3. Milk Bar — my mini-review (2008)
4. Lantana — my mini-mini-review (2009)
5. Fernandez & Wells (Beak Street branch) — my mini-mini-review (2009)
6. Flat White — my mini-mini-review (2009)
7. Monmouth Coffee Company (Covent Garden branch)
8. Providores — my mini-review (2009)

Further afield...
To try...

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