02 March 2015

The Caffeine Chronicles: Machine

Bermondsey is really starting to pick up the pace on the fine coffee front, and the latest coffee joint I've found is Machine on Tower Bridge Road (just around the corner from Hej).

Machine began life as a smart bike shop called Velodro, but has now changed its name and converted its front half into a cafe. It's only a few minutes' walk from my house so I stopped by on Sunday morning on my way to Shoreditch.

The first thing you notice when you walk inside is the funky, cycling-inspired — up-cycled, one might even say — design. You can perch on one of the saddle-topped stools by the window or sit around one of the bespoke coffee tables, which have been salvaged from old bike wheels.

The coffee menu is espresso-based drinks only — sadly, no pourovers or Aeropresses are available at the moment. I ordered a double macchiato (£2.20) and took a seat next to one of the bike-wheel coffee tables while I waited. There were a few sandwiches on offer too, and a selection of cakes; the sea-salted-caramel chocolate tart (£2.20) looked particularly good, but I was trying to save room for lunch.

Compared to many latte-art-topped drinks, my macchiato didn't look that impressive — I had half-expected it would come out with a bike wheel pattern on top — but it was actually rather good. Machine uses Monmouth coffee and although the milk was a little over-heated, the macchiato had a strong, smooth taste. In Bermondsey, where it can be tough to find a great cup of coffee, this was very promising.

The cafe itself is very light and airy and although the people-watching might not be quite up to Shoreditch standards, Machine is a very pleasant place to while away a spare half-hour. And if you're a cyclist, you will probably find it difficult to leave empty-handed: there is plenty of serious cycling kit in the back, and a few cycling-related cards and gifts on sale in the cafe.

Machine. 97 Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 4TW (Tube: Borough or Bermondsey). Website. Twitter.

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