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8 May 2019

The Caffeine Chronicles: Kafi Cafe

Fitzrovia is one of my favourite neighbourhoods in central London and it's also long been a great area for speciality coffee shops. I was saddened to find out that Curators Coffee Gallery, on Margaret Street, had closed recently. But fear not, Fitzrovers; there's a new speciality coffee bar on the block.


Located just south of the BT Tower on a quiet stretch of Cleveland Street, independent speciality coffee shop Kafi opened a couple of months ago. As well as putting a lot of care and attention into the quality of their coffee and tea offering, owners Yatish and Tripti have also put sustainability and traceability at the centre of what they do. Yatish, a Double Skinny Macchiato reader, invited me to visit and I've been twice now, meeting Yatish on my second visit.




Kafi is on the petite size but there is a good amount of seating — mainly on the cushion-laden benches that line the walls, which have handy pull-out tables, although there's also a larger communal table opposite the counter. Plants add vibrancy to the space, and coordinate nicely with the cheery yellow and green hues of the d├ęcor. The effect means that it's almost like sitting on a small, leafy patio — but without being at the whim of the London weather.




Espresso-based drinks are brewed on the mint-green custom La Marzocco machine. As a tea ignoramus, I was also surprised to learn that they also brew loose-leaf tea using the espresso machine — sometimes in combination with chai. And if you're in the mood for a black coffee, there are pourover and siphon brew methods available, as well as cold brew and nitro cold brew.




The coffee itself is from Workshop, one of my favourite London roasters. On my first visit, I opted for an Ecuadorean coffee brewed as a pourover, which was nicely brewed with sweet, tart notes. Regular readers will be unsurprised to learn that my chronic case of 'ceramic cup envy' soon reared its head. It is a problem, but these minimalist cups are very lovely. When I returned, Yatish suggested that I try the one and one — a split shot served as an espresso and a cortado, alongside a small glass of fizzy water. This was made with a Rwandan Gitesi espresso, which worked just as well with milk as without.


On my first visit, I browsed a copy of the Kafi Journal, the cafe's accompanying publication that provides interested lay coffee lovers with more detail on the cafe, and the coffee production and brewing processes, from bean to cup. Second time around, I enjoyed chatting to Yatish over coffee to hear more about Kafi. His passion both for coffee (and tea) and his business shone through, and the attention to detail he and Tripti have put into every aspect Kafi is manifestly obvious. The coffee is very good, but Kafi is also a calm, relaxed and welcoming place, and it's a great addition to the neighbourhood.

Kafi. 20 Cleveland Street, London, W1T 4JA (Tube: Goodge Street). Website. Twitter. Instagram.

For 100+ more of my favourite coffee shops in London, please check out my speciality coffee guide.

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