Nestled among the warren of densely packed streets that run south of Ludgate Hill, Alchemy Cafe is the first bricks-and-mortar manifestation of the eponymous south London roasters, who've been operating a mail order service for clued up caffeine fiends for years.
The new cafe is in a small space but one that is used well: there are no tables but benches sit next to counters on two of the windows. This is a place to grab an espresso and go, not one to linger. Yet the staff are welcoming and knowledgeable enough that you might stick around anyway. On our early-morning visit the grinning barista manning the La Marzocco machine had clearly been sampling his own supply, such was the bright and enthusiastic greeting we received, and the cheery chap ably schooled us on the ideal espresso for our short latte (a single estate Brazilian whose notes of "sweet honey and peanut" our narcoleptic taste buds weren't quite able to discern). The espresso menu has two options; a single costs £2, while a 6oz flat white will set you back £2.40. They also offer filtered coffee via an Aeropress for £2.50.
It offers tourists and City types alike respite from the multiplying Costas and Caffe Neros that dominate the area, and if people can find their way to it, Alchemy should prove successful.
Alchemy is at 8 Ludgate Broadway, EC4V 6DU, and is open Mon-Fri, 0700-1600.
Disclaimer: We review anonymously and pay for all our meals/drinks.