08 January 2021

The Caffeine Chronicles: Frequency Coffee, Angel

The original Frequency Coffee has long been a favourite of mine, and its King's Cross location was convenient for my office. Of course, working from home last year — and for the foreseeable — has meant I haven't been able to visit owner Justo and his team as often as usual. But when I stopped by on a staycation day in November, I found out that Justo was soon going to be opening a second branch, on Camden Passage in Islington.

I called by the new coffee shop while on a long bike ride at the weekend. It's located in a small shop on Camden Passage, one of Islington's loveliest streets. The space used to be occupied by a stationery / lifestyle shop, which always felt a little poky, but the new fit-out has made very good use of the space. Like the original, elements of the design highlight Justo's love of music: the counter here also uses sound-proofing as a design feature, for example. The distinctive tables (which you can buy) feature here too, although there are only a couple on the cafe's ground floor — and it's currently take-away only, given the current COVID-19 restrictions.

The coffee menu is short and sweet, featuring just espresso-based drinks and batch-brew filter coffee, all featuring Frequency's own coffee. There is also a wide range of sandwiches, pastries and sweet treats available to take away. I ordered a cortado and the last remaining pastel de nata, which I took out with me. 

There's a covered space just opposite, which hosts an antiques market in normal times, and which made a good spot to drink my coffee and eat my pastry, using my partly folded Brompton as a makeshift table. The cortado was brewed with a Guatemalan espresso and was sweet and very smooth. I had two different reusable cups with me, as I wasn't sure what I would order, and so it was my smallest, and brightest, KeepCup that got the call-up. As for the pastel de nata, it was excellent, with beautifully crisp pastry and creamy custard.

While I was finishing my snack, I noticed that just like in King's Cross, there's also a subterranean co-working / meeting-room space, which I spied from the outside — there's a window onto Camden Passage but high enough to minimise the distraction of people-watching.

And yes, although the UK is in lockdown at the time of writing, both the original Frequency and its newer sibling are open for takeaway.

Frequency Coffee. 13 Camden Passage, London, N1 8EA (Tube: Angel). Website. Twitter. Instagram.

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

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