19 March 2015

The Caffeine Chronicles: TAP Coffee

UPDATE. TAP Coffee has now permanently closed.

Back in 2011, I wrote about my visit to the Tottenham Court Road branch of TAP Coffee (then known as Tapped and Packed), but my coffee tastes have changed somewhat since then, so I thought it was time for another review, this time of the Wardour Street branch. TAP Coffee cafés are easy to spot because their storefronts are always adorned with camouflaged bicycles and giant numbers.

No 193 Wardour Street is only a block away from the chaos of Oxford Street, but is a haven of peace and caffeine. It's also a lot bigger inside than the narrow storefront suggests — there are plenty of tables stretching back into Soho. TAP roast their own coffee, and there were three filter coffee options on offer. Naturally, I went for the Colombian Finca La Casiana brewed as a pourover (£3). If I hadn't just eaten a Big Fernand burger, I would definitely have been tempted by a brownie or a chocolate walnut cookie.

I was handed a small milk bottle containing the four of hearts and went to sit at one of the high tables near the coffee bar, where there was a large pile of Sunday papers waiting for me to peruse. My playing card's suit and number was, obviously, transmitted from the cash register to the coffee bar with my order, which meant the baristas knew where to send my pourover — a fun detail.

The coffee came served in a small metal jug with a white cup and dainty teaspoon. The serving wasn't huge, but more than enough for me and it was delicious. It had a slightly lighter, fruitier taste than many other Colombian varieties, but still had a pleasant, sweet richness.

The décor was as good as at the other branches of TAP I've visited: dark wooden tables, pendant light bulbs and a super-shiny La Marzocco. The back part of the café, which could have ended up being too dark and dull, boasts a conservatory-like glass roof, which lets in a lot of natural night, giving the place a homier feel.

Whether you are north or south of the east end of Oxford Street, the TAP Coffee shops are all good choices for a coffee break.

TAP Coffee. 193 Wardour Street, London, W1F 8ZF (Tube: Tottenham Court Road or Oxford Circus). Website. Twitter.

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