08 July 2019

The Caffeine Chronicles: Second Shot Coffee, Edgware Road

I first visited the original Second Shot — Julius Ibrahim's coffee shop and social enterprise in Bethnal Green — during its launch event three years ago and have been back a number of times since then. It's been great to watch Second Shot, which aims to bring people together to tackle homelessness 'one espresso at a time', grow from strength to strength.

And now there's a second Second Shot, which has just opened on Church Street near Edgware Road, funded in part by a crowdfunding campaign. I was out of the country during the pre-launch event, but I was in the Marylebone area on Saturday, their first full day, and so I was glad to be able to stop by and say hi to Julius and his team.

Long-term readers will know I lived in Marylebone for three years before I moved to Bermondsey, and my old flat is only five minutes' walk from Second Shot. There weren't any speciality coffee shops in the neighbourhood when I left, in 2012, but I did used to enjoy visiting the busy market on Church Street, where Second Shot is based. The market was bustling when I arrived and a steady stream of local residents, shoppers and coffee lovers alike had found their way to the new coffee shop.

The social enterprise element of Second Shot works in several ways. They train and hire people who have been affected by homelessness and then help them to find longer term jobs. There is also a 'pay it forward' system, where customers can pre-pay for a coffee or a meal, which people in need can then receive free of charge. I pre-paid for a meal when I paid for my lunch and coffee, although was a little embarrassed by my drawing skills when I added it to one of the bricks on the 'pay it forward' wall. It is, of course, the thought that counts.

As for the coffee, as usual, there were several single-origin coffees from some excellent roasters available. I first tried a washed Peruvian San Ignacio coffee from Cast Iron, a Sussex-based roaster, served as a very fine macchiato. Afterwards, I sampled a Guatemalan Red de Mujeres coffee from Square Mile, which was available as a batch-brew filter coffee, and which had very nice apple and gooseberry notes. There will also be some exciting coffee coming soon, so it's definitely worth keeping an eye on what they have in their hopper.

As well as pastries and cakes, Second Shot are serving smoothie bowls and chia bowls, and several sandwiches. I had a ham sandwich on focaccia, which was tasty and very filling.

The cafe shares common design elements with the original — most notably the bricks, which here line the coffee bar and repeat in the pegboard on the back wall. In the main seating area, a handful of small tables face the bar, with teal chairs that coordinate with the coffee cups. There's another seating area in the basement, including a large communal table, helpful for those who need more space to work. There will be a second brew bar down there too in time, which will serve as a training area.

If you haven't yet had the chance to visit the original Second Shot, now you have a second shot — the new cafe is a short walk from Edgware Road and Marylebone stations, and offers a very warm welcome and coffee as good as its ethos.

Second Shot. 49 Church Street, London, NW8 (Tube: Edgware Road). Website. Twitter. Instagram.

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

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