07 July 2017

The Caffeine Chronicles: Redemption Roasters

Redemption Roasters, whose roastery and barista training centre is based in Aylesbury Prison, was one of the stands I spotted at this year's London Coffee Festival on the way to a meeting and never quite found my way back. This was unfortunate, given the great things I had heard about their coffee, roasted in small batches at the prison, and about their social enterprise: they train up young offenders in roasting and barista skills, and help ex-offenders find work within the coffee industry on their release. Oh, and I love the colourful, eye-catching packaging of their retail coffee bags.

I found redemption for my oversight when I heard that the roastery would be opening a coffee shop in central London and I've been following their progress eagerly on Instagram. The Redemption Roasters café opened in Bloombsury earlier this week and I was so impressed on my first visit that I went back yesterday to try the filter coffee.

The café is located on Lamb's Conduit Street, one of my favourite central London streets with its diverse independent shops and eateries. I often used to head down there at lunchtimes, back when the original Espresso Room — just around the corner on Great Ormond Street — was the closest good coffee to my King's Cross office. Redemption Roasters is less than a mile from my office, though, and it's a very pleasant stroll through Bloomsbury so it's definitely time for me to discover this neighbourhood.

Inside, the café's décor is minimalist but beautifully designed, from the simple wooden furniture, to the London-themed artwork behind the bar and especially the stunning Slayer Steam espresso machine. There are a handful of small tables, a few spots to perch and a bench out on the pavement — perfect for those hot days we occasionally get in London.

As for the coffee, there were two espressos on offer (the medium-roast Aylesbury and the lighter 1847, which are £2.20 without milk and £2.80 with) and two single-origin filter coffees (an Ethiopian Werka and a Rwandan Nyarusiza), available as an Aeropress/V60 (£3.30 and £3.90, respectively), with one also on as a batch brew (£2.50). On my first visit, I had a piccolo with the 1847 espresso, which combines coffees from Brazil and Tanzania.

My coffee was very well prepared and tasted great: well-balanced and smooth but with just enough of a kick to keep it interesting. For breakfast, I also tried a slice of the banana and walnut bread (£3.40), which made for a great breakfast. They also do toast, toasties and various cakes if you are in the market for a light bite.

I went back yesterday lunchtime and, despite the relative heat outside, I decided to order the Nyarusiza coffee as a V60 (it was also on the batch brew, but the friendly barista was more than happy to brew me up a cup with the V60). I loved the Nyarusiza, whose intense blackcurrant notes came through beautifully; it was a very well brewed cup of coffee and somehow helped to cool me down a little.

It's great to see Redemption Roasters joining Old Spike and Second Shot in their efforts to do something more than just make lovely coffee (although the coffee is excellent too). You can read much more about Redemption's aims and achievements so far on their website. In the meantime, if you're in Bloomsbury or Holborn, you can visit the café from 7:30–5:30 on weekdays and 9–5 at the weekend. A warm welcome will certainly await you.

Redemption Roasters. 84b Lamb's Conduit Street, London, WC1N 3LR (Tube: Russell Square). Website. Twitter. Instagram.


  1. I did manage to catch up with the stand at the London Coffee Festival and was very impressed. Great coffee, great idea. Glad to see that the cafe is living up to its promise.


  2. Thanks, Brian. Definitely head over when you get the chance; it would be great to hear your thoughts. It helps that the cafe is close enough to my office to make both lunchtime trips and stop-offs on the way to work possible.