26 July 2021

The Caffeine Chronicles: Nostos Coffee

One of the best things about the London speciality coffee scene is the relationships between the numerous coffee shops and roasters. My favourite way to find great coffee served by great people is through recommendations from coffee shops I already know and love. Today's Caffeine Chronicles post is about Nostos Coffee, a neighbourhood coffee shop in Battersea that I heard about through Laith at the excellent Saint Nine Coffee, which, in turn, I heard about through the lovely folks at Rosslyn Coffee.

I've been brushing up my Spanish lately and the name Nostos made me think of the Spanish nosotros ('us' or 'we'), but the coffee shop's name harkens back to the Ancient Greek νόστος, or 'homecoming', often in reference to epic heroes' homeward journeys. The same root appears in the word nostalgia. There is such a sense of community at Nostos that spending time there feels like a homecoming even if it's your first visit. There was a steady stream of customers while I was there, and each one received a warm welcome from Edison and Anna.

Located next to Battersea Park station and a short walk from Battersea Park itself, Nostos opened earlier this year. It's small inside and with minimalist décor: a black counter, exposed-brick walls and two low, wooden benches along the side wall and the front window. There's also a colourful mural of the coffee belt and a growing collection of plants — many of whom also take their names from Greek myths.

Nostos note on their Instagram that they, "won’t serve you a coffee that you can have anywhere else," and the care that goes into every coffee is really apparent. As well as espresso-based drinks and pourover coffee brewed through the Kalita Wave, there's also an espresso + flat white combo on the menu. Various roasters are featured, and during my visit, there were coffees from Round Hill, Ue and Kiss the Hippo on offer.

I ordered the Bex classic: a piccolo and a hand-brewed filter coffee. The piccolo, which arrived first, was brewed with a natural coffee from Kiss the Hippo. It was immaculately brewed and tasted great, with latte art that persisted right to the bottom of the small blue cup. And because it's the little details that demonstrate intentionality, the coffee was accompanied by a cute, pink Hay glass of water. 

While I waited for the filter coffee, I ate the lamington I had selected from the offering of cakes and pastries on the counter. For my filter coffee, I selected the Summer Claude coffee from Round Hill. Monsieur Claude always has excellent taste in coffee and the fruity and floral notes in this washed Ethiopian Nano Challa came out particularly well when brewed with the Kalita Wave. As I still hadn't quite had enough coffee yet, Edison also gave me a sample of an iced filter coffee he'd made for another customer using one of the Ue coffees, which was also really good.

After my visit, I hopped back on my bike and cycled home. Luckily, I'd checked the forecast and arrived home before the heavens opened, so my journey didn't end up like that of Aeneas off the coast of Carthage or Odysseus in Thrace, and my homecoming was a happy one. As the sign says, life happens; coffee helps.

Nostos. 10a Battersea Park Road, London, SW8 4FF (Battersea Park rail). Instagram.

For 140+ more of my favourite coffee shops in London, check out my London speciality coffee guide.

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