6 September 2017

My Favourite London Speciality Coffee Shops

I've been writing about London's first forays and then larger leaps into the speciality coffee world since I started this blog in 2007.  Last year, to try to rectify the fact that some of my oldest favourites were among the most sparsely documented on this blog, I updated my reviews of spots like Flat White, Fernandez & Wells in Beak Street and Workshop's Clerkenwell café (which I've loved since its St Ali days). Sadly, the latter two have since closed... I hope it wasn't something I said!

I compiled my first concise London coffee guide in 2011, updating it in 2012 and 2014. I've long been meaning to compile another update but I knew a top ten would barely even scratch the surface these days. And because friends, family and others often ask for my recommendations, I needed something more in-depth.

Here, then, is a guide and map comprising 100 London speciality coffee shops and cafés, from Crouch End to Clapham and Dalston to Deptford. These are my personal favourites based on my own experiences and by no means represent a fully comprehensive list (scroll to the end for some of my favourite London coffee websites and blogs) — there is a central/eastern bias, for example, as I live in Bermondsey, work in King's Cross and rarely venture west of Hyde Park.

I've written about more than 100 coffee spots over the years, and visited more still but some have since closed and some have changed. My tastes have changed too, especially as the city's speciality coffee scene burgeoned and boomed, spreading from Soho and Shoreditch, into other central areas and then way beyond. As with my New York coffee guide, some of the featured venues have sister branches, and rather than listing every location I've visited, I've selected my favourites.

I still have a long coffee to-do list for London and I will be updating this guide and map over time, but asterisked venues below (purple in the map) are my current favourites. I've linked below my reviews, and for more information, including my photos and details of other branches, please check out my accompanying Google Map. Finally, this Flickr album includes many photos of these and other London coffee spots.

80 Stone Cafe 7a St George's Circus, London SE1 6HS (Elephant & Castle) Review

Abuelo 26 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7RS (Covent Garden) Review

Alchemy 8 Ludgate Broadway, London EC4V 6DU (City) Review

Allpress 55 Dalston Lane, London E8 2NG (Dalston) Review
58 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DP (Shoreditch) Review

* Amoret Coffee 53 Pembridge Road, Notting Hill, London W11 3HG (Notting Hill) Review

* Association Coffee 12 Creechurch Lane, London EC3A 5AY (City) Review

The Attendant 27a Foley Street, London W1W 6DY (Fitzrovia) Review
74 Great Eastern St, London EC2A (Shoreditch) Review

Bar Termini 7 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 5JE (Soho) Review

Black Box 8b Great Newport Street, London WC2H 7JA (Covent Garden) Review

The Black Lab 18 Clapham Common Southside, London SW4 7AB (Clapham) Review

The Black Penny 34 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AA (Covent Garden) Review

Black Swan Yard 37 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF  (Bermondsey) Review

Browns of Brockley 5 Coulgate Street, London SE4 2RW (Brockley) Review

BUSI 42–48 Great Portland Street, London W1W 7NB (Fitzrovia) Review

Canada Water Cafe 40 Surrey Quays Road, London SE16 7DX (Canada Water) Review

Caravan 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA (King's Cross) Review
30 Great Guildford Street, London SE1 0HS (Southwark) Review

Catalyst Cafe 48 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8LT (Clerkenwell) Review

Chapter 72 72 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UD (Bermondsey) Review

Climpson & Sons 67 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH (Hackney) Review

Coffee Circus 136 Crouch Hill, London N8 9DX (Crouch End) Review

Coffee Island 5 Upper St Martin's Lane, London, WC2H 9NY (Covent Garden) Review

Coffee Works Project 96-98 Islington High Street, London N1 8EG (Islington) Review

Coleman Coffee Unit 5, Dockley Road, London SE16 3SF (Bermondsey) Review
20 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7RJ (Waterloo) Review

Craft Coffee Battle Bridge Place, King's Cross, London, N1C 4TB (King's Cross) Review

Craving 39B Markfield Road, London N15 4QA (Tottenham Hale) Review

Crispin The Pavilion on The Corner, White’s Row, London E1 7NF (Spitalfields) Review

Crol & Co 77 Dunton Road, London SE1 5TW (Bermondsey) Review

Daily Goods 36 Camberwell Church Street, London SE5 8QZ (Camberwell) Review

Daisy Green 20 Seymour Street, London W1H 7HX (Marylebone) Review

Department of Coffee & Social Affairs 14-16 Leather Lane, London EC1N 7SU (Clerkenwell) Review

District 7 New Union Square, London, SW11 7DN (Nine Elms) Review

Embassy East 285 Hoxton Street, London, N1 5JX (Hoxton) Review

The Espresso Room 31-35 Great Ormond Street, London WC1N 3HZ (Bloomsbury) Review
23 Southampton Row, London WC1B 5HA (Holborn) Review [Formerly Free State; review]
24 New Row, London WC2N 4LA (Covent Garden) [Formerly New Row Coffee; review]

Establishment Coffee 11 Saint Bride Street, London EC4A 4AS (The City) Review

Federation Coffee Unit 77-78 Brixton Market, Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8PS (Brixton) Review

Fernandez & Wells 43 Lexington Street, London W1F 9AL (Soho) Review (of now-closed Beak Street location)

Fix 126 126 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3PJ (Shoreditch) Review

* Flat White 17 Berwick Street, London W1F 0PT (Soho) Review

Flor 1 Bedale Street, London SE1 9AL (London Bridge) Review

* Formative Coffee 4 Butler Place, London SW1H 0RH (Victoria) Review

Four Boroughs 10 Church Road, London SE19 2ET (Crystal Palace)

Four Corners 12 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7RJ (Waterloo) Review

Fowlds 3 Addington Square, London SE5 7JZ (Camberwell) Review

Frequency 121 King's Cross Road, London WC1X 9NH (King's Cross) Review
13 Camden Passage, London N1 8EA (Islington) Review

Friends of Ours 61 Pitfield Street, London N1 6BU (Shoreditch) Review

* The Gentlemen Baristas 63 Union Street, London, SE1 1SG (London Bridge) Review
11 Park Street, London SE1 9AB (London Bridge) Review

Good as Gold 209 Mantle Road, London SE4 2EW (Brockley) Review

Hagen Espresso Bar 27-29 Swallow Street, London W1B 4DH (Mayfair) Mini-review

Half Cup 100-102 Judd Street, London WC1H 9NT (Bloomsbury) Review

Hej 1 Bermondsey Square, London SE1 3UN (Bermondsey) Review

Hopper Coffee 4 Roger Street, London WC1N 2JX (Bloomsbury) Review

House of Morocco (King's Cross) 82 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DN (King's Cross) Review

* HR Higgins 79 Duke Street, London W1K 5AS (Mayfair) Review

Hubbard & Bell 199–206 High Holborn, London WC1V 7BD (Holborn) Review

I Will Kill Again Arch 216, 27A Ponsford Street, London, E9 6JU (Hackney)  Review

Intermission Coffee Unit 2, The Hardy Building, Heritage Lane, London NW6 2BR (West Hampstead) Review

Iris & June 1 Howick Place, London SW1P 1BH (Victoria) Review

* Jacob the Angel 16 1/2 Neal's Yard, London WC2H 9DP (Covent Garden) Review

* Kaffeine 66 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 7QJ (Fitzrovia) Review

Kafi 20 Cleveland Street, London W1T 4JA (Fitzrovia) Review

Kiss the Hippo 51 Margaret Street, London W1W 8SG (Fitzrovia) Review

Ko Coffee 258 Pentonville Road, London N1 9JY Review

Lane Eight Coffee 11 Melbourne Grove, London, SE22 8RG (East Dulwich) Review

Lantana 13 Charlotte Place, London W1T 1SN (Fitzrovia) Review
44-46 Southwark St, London SE1 1UN (London Bridge) Review

* Le Café Alain Ducasse Unit 16, Bagley Walk Arches, Coal Drops Yard, London, N1C 4DH (King's Cross) Review

Lomond Coffee Arch 7, 4 Deptford Market Yard, Deptford, London SE8 4BX (Deptford) Review

London Grind 2 London Bridge, London SE1 9RA (London Bridge) Review

London Velo 18 Deptford High Street, London SE8 4AF (Deptford) Review

Louie Louie 347 Walworth Road, London, SE17 2AL (Walworth) Review

Lumberjack 70 Camberwell Church Street, London, SE5 8QZ (Camberwell) Review

Lundenwic 45 Aldwych, London WC2B 4DW (Covent Garden) Review

Lyle's The Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JJ (Shoreditch) Mini-review

Machine 97 Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 4TW (Bermondsey) Review

Milk 18–20 Bedford Hill, London SW12 9RG (Balham) Review

* Milkbar 3 Bateman Street, London W1D 4AG (Soho) Review (closed, at least for the time being)

Modern Society 33 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ (Shoreditch) Review

Monmouth Coffee Arch 3 Spa North, Dockley Road, London SE16 4EJ (Bermondsey) Review
2 Park Street, London SE1 9AB (Borough) Review

Monocle Cafe 18 Chiltern Street, London W1U 7QA (Marylebone) Review

Mouse Tail 211 Borough High Street, London SE1 1JA (Borough) Review

The New Black 10 Philpot Lane, London, EC3M 8AA (City) Review

Nkora 21 Hackney Road, London E2 7NX (Shoreditch) Review

NOLA 224 Rye Lane, London SE15 4NL (Peckham) Review

Notes 1 Pancras Square, London N1C 4AG (King's Cross) Review

Nude Espresso 26 Hanbury Street, London E1 6QR (Shoreditch) Review

Old Spike Roastery 54 Peckham Rye, London SE15 4JR (Peckham) Review

* Omotesando Koffee Rathbone Square, London, W1J 5EZ (Fitzrovia) Review

* Origin Coffee 65 Charlotte Road, London EC2A 3PE (Shoreditch) Review
96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB (King's Cross) Review
* 84 Scoresby Street, London SE1 0XN (Southwark) Review

Over Under Coffee 145 Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, London W10 6HJ (Notting Hill) Review  

* Ozone Coffee Roasters 11 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4AQ (Shoreditch) Review
8 Pritchard's Road, London E2 9AP (Bethnal Green) Review

Paradox Coffee + Design 13–23 Westgate Street, Netil Market, London E8 3RL (Hackney) Review

The Pear Tree Greenland Place, Yeoman Street, London, SE8 5ET (Surrey Quays) Review

The Penny Drop 13 Tottenham Street, London W1T 2AH (Fitzrovia) Review

The Pigeon Hole 2 Datchelor Place, London SE5 7AP (Camberwell) Review

* Prufrock Coffee 23-25 Leather Lane, London EC1N 7TE (Clerkenwell) Review

Queens of Mayfair 17 Queen Street, London W1J 5PH (Mayfair) Review

Red Lion Coffee Co Batavia Road, London, SE14 6AX (New Cross) Review

* Redemption Roasters 84b Lamb's Conduit Street, London, WC1N 3LR (Bloomsbury) Review
Stable Street, King's Cross, London N1C 4AQ (King's Cross) Review

The Roasting Shed Echo Building Unit 2, East Bay Lane, London E15 2SJ (Hackney) Review

* Rosslyn Coffee 78 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4N 4SJ (The City) Review

* Saint Espresso Angel House, 26 Pentonville Road, London N1 9HJ (Islington) Review
214 Baker Street, London NW1 5RT (Marylebone) Review

Saint Nine Coffee 67 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0HX  Review

* Second Shot 475 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 9QH (Bethnal Green) Review
49 Church Street, London NW8 (Marylebone) Review

Shoreditch Grind 213 Old Street, London EC1V 9NR (Shoreditch) Review

Soho Grind 19 Beak Street, London W1F 9RP (Soho) Review

St David Coffee House 5 David's Road, London SE23 3EP (Forest Hill) Review

Stir Coffee 111 Brixton Hill, London SW2 1 AA (Brixton) Review

Store Street Espresso 40 Store Street, London WC1E 7DB (Bloomsbury) Review
54 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9RG (King's Cross) Review

TAB x TAB 14-16 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5RH (Notting Hill) Review

TAP Coffee 193 Wardour Street, London W1F 8ZF (Soho) Review
114 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 5AH (Fitzrovia) Review
72 Russell Square, London WC1B 5BA (Bloomsbury) Review

Timberyard 7 Upper St Martin's Lane, London WC2H 9DL (Covent Garden) Review

* Treves & Hyde 15-17 Leman Street, London E1 8EN (Whitechapel) Review

Urban Baristas 138 Wapping High Street, London E1W 3PA (Wapping) Review

* Velasquez and Van Wezel 78 Park Road, London N8 8JQ (Crouch End) Review

Watch House 199 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UW (Bermondsey) Review
37 Shad Thames, London, SE1 2YR (Bermondsey) Review
36 Maltby Street, London, SE1 3PA (Bermondsey) Review

* White Mulberries Ivory House D3, St Katharine Docks, London E1W 1AT (Wapping) Review
Unit 6, Hay’s Galleria, Tooley Street, London SE1 2HD (London Bridge) Review

* Workshop Coffee 80 Mortimer Street, London W1W 7FE (Fitzrovia) Review
1 Barrett Street, London W1U 1DN (Marylebone) Review
25 London Street, London W2 1HH (Paddington) Review

Formerly on the list but now closed:
Brooklyn Coffee 139 Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ (Shoreditch) Review
Bulldog Edition at the Ace Hotel 100 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JQ (Shoreditch) Review
CREAM 31 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EY (Shoreditch) Review
Curators Coffee Gallery 51 Margaret Street, London W1W 8SG (Fitzrovia) Review
Macintyre Coffee 428 St John Street, London EC1V 4NJ (Islington) Review
Over Under Coffee 4 Ham Yard Hotel, London W1D 7DT (Soho) Review
Pattern Coffee 82 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DN (King's Cross) Review
Sans Pere 84 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3JL (Shoreditch) Review
Scarlett Coffee Roastery 30 Duncan Street, Islington, London N1 8BW (Islington) Review
Small White Elephant 28 Choumert Road, London SE15 4RE (Peckham) Review
Terrone Netil Market, 3-23 Westgate Street, London E8 3RL (Hackney) Review
Vagabond x Trade Union 3 Thomas More Street, London E1W 1YW (Wapping) Review

Other resources: 
My list is far from comprehensive but luckily, there are myriad resources for finding the best coffee in London. The London's Best Coffee website (and accompanying Best Coffee app) is my first port of call when visiting a new neighbourhood. And if you're interested in the history of London's coffee shops, editor Phil Wain's fascinating and thorough five-part series is a must-read.

Some coffee blogs with particularly good coverage of London coffee shops include: Bean There at (they can fill many of the West London gaps in my map), Bean Thinking (for a scientific take), Brian's Coffee Spot and Cups of London Coffee. And only last week, while I was finishing off this guide, I spotted James Hansen's excellent Eater shortlist of 15 of London's best coffee shops, which has added a few cafes to my to-do list.

Finally, if you prefer your coffee recommendations in print format, check out Caffeine magazine for suggestions in London and beyond.

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