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3 May 2019

King's Cross Speciality Coffee Guide (2019 Edition)


Almost three years ago, I put together a guide to my favourite speciality coffee shops in London's King's Cross. I've worked in the neighbourhood since 2010 and as I've often noted, it has been a delight to watch the area emerge as a real hub for craft coffee. My original guide featured seven speciality coffee shops, of which one has closed and two have been taken over by new management. In my 2019 update, I've included ten coffee spots — three of which have opened in the past six months. My very favourites are marked with an asterisk below, and in purple in my Google Map.

As I mentioned in my original guide, there are different ways to define the King's Cross neighbourhood, but I tend to include locations for which King's Cross is the closest Tube station.




Caravan
One of the first speciality coffee spots to open in King's Cross, way back in 2012, Caravan remains one of my favourites. If you're just in the market for an espresso-based coffee or single-origin Kalita Wave pourover, head to the back of the spacious Granary Square restaurant, where you can sit at one of the tables that face the bar, in an area also used for cuppings. Caravan's sourdough pizzas and the all-day weekend brunch menu are very good, so if you have time, you can combine an expertly brewed single-origin coffee with a delicious meal. They also sell coffee-making kit and their own coffee beans.


Caravan is located at 1 Granary Square, London, N1C 4AA. Full reviewWebsiteTwitterInstagram.

Craft Coffee
Since I published my last King's Cross guide, the coffee cart that can be found between King's Cross and St Pancras stations has changed ownership. Craft Coffee, who also operate at Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey, now run the stand, serving espresso-based drinks brewed with coffee from Notes (see below). I've had many a macchiato here on my way into the office (when I have remembered my reusable cup) or at lunchtimes, and the quality is always good.


Craft Coffee is located at Battle Bridge Place, London, N1C 4TB. WebsiteTwitter. Instagram.

Frequency
Located half a mile east of King's Cross station, Frequency is a delightful speciality coffee shop and co-working space by day, and a cocktail bar by night. Both the name and the décor allude to friendly owner Justo Tripier's interest in music, and Justo and his team serve (and sell) their own coffee roasted in small batches at The Tate. For great coffee in a relaxed atmosphere, Frequency is well worth seeking out.


Frequency is located at 121 King's Cross Road, London, WC1X 9NH. Full review. Website. Twitter. Instagram.

Half Cup
I will always remember Half Cup as the place I went for a hearty brunch to get me through a long day in the office after staying up way too late to watch the 2017 UK General Election. But the creative and oft-changing brunch menu is not just for emergencies and special occasions. The coffee, from Nude, is also very good. The Brazil/Guatemala espresso blend works well in the piccolos and macchiatos I usually order and the cosy cafe, just south of the Euston Road, is a fine place to caffeinate.


Half Cup is located at 100–102 Judd Street, London, WC1H 9NT. Full review. Website. Twitter. Instagram.

House of Morocco
Located in the Caledonian Road cafe previously occupied by Pattern Coffee, House of Morocco has retained many of its predecessor's titular patterned walls, and added some Moroccan accent pieces. The coffee is roasted by Terrone and served in various espresso-based drinks. There is also Moroccan mint tea, juices, smoothies and all-day eats. Perhaps the most colourful cafe in King's Cross, House of Morocco is also one of the most welcoming — and conveniently for me, it's also the closest to my office.


House of Morocco is located at 82 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9DN. Full reviewWebsiteTwitter. Instagram.

Ko Coffee
The newest speciality coffee arrival to King's Cross, Ko Coffee opened in spring 2019, taking over a vacant shop on a stretch of Pentonville Road that is home to various other small eateries. Period features, including vintage tiling, remain in the small cafe, which has co-working spaces upstairs and downstairs. The coffee is from Assembly — a welcome roaster addition to the neighbourhood — and I've been in a few times for well-brewed piccolos and espresso shots. The food menu is starting to ramp up too, with breakfast pastries, and sandwiches, salads and cakes for later in the day.


Ko Coffee is located at 258 Pentonville Road, London, N1 9JY. Full reviewWebsite. Instagram.

Le Café Alain Ducasse
Despite the recent growth in the King's Cross coffee scene, it was the opening of Le Café Alain Ducasse in the sleek new Coal Drops Yard development late in 2018 that cemented King's Cross as a real speciality coffee destination. Now famous (some might say infamous) for its £15 filter coffee — a delicious coffee sourced from Yemen (via Qima), which I had to try on my first visit, and which did not disappoint. I've sampled various espressos, noisettes (macchiatos) and filter coffees, each of which has been immaculately brewed by Jakub Klucznik and his colleagues. Although the coffee at Le Café is exceptional, each visit has also been an enjoyable experience. Seated at the zinc bar, you can converse with the baristas as they talk through the process, from bean to cup, conveying knowledge and passion, and offering a truly personal service.

I speak highly of every coffee shop in this guide, but if you only have time to visit one and want a memorable experience, Le Café Alain Ducasse is the one to go for.


Le Café Alain Ducasse is located at Unit 16, Bagley Walk Arches, Coal Drops Yard, London, N1C 4DH. Full review. Website. Instagram.

Notes
Another of the longer-established King's Cross speciality coffee shops, this branch of Notes opened in 2015. There are a few small tables inside (including on the mezzanine level), and more seating outside in Pancras Square, which is a great place for people-watching when the weather is kind. The espresso-based drinks are brewed with Notes' own coffee, roasted in East London, and they serve an all-day food menu, along with craft beer, wine and cocktails of an evening.


Notes is located at 1 Pancras Square, London, N1C 4AG. Full review. Website. Twitter. Instagram.

Origin
Origin's minimalist coffee bar on the Euston Road is actually their second location in the British Library, but I prefer this spot to the the equally busy concession in the bustling main atrium of the library. I often stop by to buy beans on my way into work, and because this entitles me to a free cup of coffee, I also usually try either whatever single-origin filter coffee is available or a piccolo. The coffee is always impeccably brewed and I've also picked up some really great retail bags of coffee beans over the past couple of years. A small menu of light bites, sweet and savoury, is also on offer.


Origin is located at 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB. Review. Website. Twitter. Instagram.

Redemption Roasters
The original London location of Redemption Roasters — a coffee company and social enterprise that roasts inside Aylesbury prison — on Lamb's Conduit Street is doable from King's Cross on a lunch break. Nonetheless, I was pleased when another branch opened in Coal Drops Yard, much closer to my office. They serve espresso-based drinks and hand-brewed filter coffee, as well as brunch and various sweet treats inside the rustic cafe, which has some lovely period features. Meanwhile, coffee beans — with Redemption's distinctive, colourful packaging — and assorted coffee kit are also on sale.


Redemption Roasters is located at Unit 109, Lower Stable Street, London, N1C 4AQ. Full review. Website. Twitter. Instagram.

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