17 December 2020

The Caffeine Chronicles: Lane Eight Coffee

UPDATE. This Lane Eight Coffee has sadly permanently closed but you can still find them at Clapham Common.

As the likelihood of London moving into tier 3 status increased over the weekend, on Sunday I took the opportunity to enjoy one last experience of drinking coffee in a coffee shop — for now, of course. On the agenda was Lane Eight Coffee in East Dulwich. Although I'm often in Peckham, its westerly neighbour is a longer walk from Bermondsey and Dog Kennel Hill is a bit steep on a Brompton! It was my last free day after a week of annual leave, though, and despite the inclement weather I enjoyed the walk.

Lane Eight is located on Melbourne Grove, just around the corner from East Dulwich station and Champion Hill, the ground of the mighty Dulwich Hamlet Football Club. Behind the unassuming grey shopfront lies a small but lovely espresso bar with attractive, minimalist décor. The counter occupies most of the space and as well as the La Marzocco espresso machine and Victoria Arduino grinder, it hosts a pothos plant that my own pothos could take some tips from. There are just a couple of seats at the bar at the window and a couple more on the integrated bench outside — if you happen to be visiting on a day with nicer weather than when I was there. 

The coffee is from Assembly, and a honey-processed coffee from Rodolfo Ruffatti's Finca Las Brumas in El Salvador was in the hopper during my visit. The menu features espresso-based coffee drinks, as well as hot chocolate, matcha, chai and tea. There was also a small, tempting plate of canelés on the counter and it would have been rude not to indulge.

I ordered a flat white from the friendly barista and took a seat at the window, watching the denizens of Dulwich wandering by. I usually drink piccolos and macchiatos when I'm in the mood for espresso with milk, but sometimes order a flat white if I'm confident it's going to be very good. Lane Eight's flat white didn't disappoint: the espresso had a lovely caramel sweetness in milk. As such, it was complemented nicely by the cannelé I was unable to resist.

If you're in need of beans for home brewing, there are some for sale at the back of the shop, as well as few carefully selected pieces of coffee kit and t-shirts featuring Laura Hepworth's ESKER illustration. A number of regulars came in while I was there, and Lane Eight is a calm haven away from the bustle of Lordship Lane — a haven that serves great coffee, of course.

Lane Eight Coffee. 11 Melbourne Grove, East Dulwich, London, SE22 8RG (East Dulwich rail). Website. Instagram.

For 130+ more of my favourite coffee shops in London, please check out my London speciality coffee guide.

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