A good coffee shop isn't just about the drink; we need the right atmosphere, friendly baristas and decent snacks too. London's coffee shops really upped their game over the last decade — no need to settle for an identikit soulless chain these days. Whether you're after child-friendly, freelancer-friendly or just somewhere great to go and kick back, one of these will surely float your coffee boat.
Flat White, Soho
Those Antipodeans know a thing or two about coffee, and these guys claim they brought their beloved flat white over to London to begin the coffee revolution. Aussie and NZ breakfast-brunch-lunch classics are served alongside truly great coffee in this buzzy Soho coffee shop.
Flat White, 17 Berwick Street, W1F 0PT.
Monmouth Coffee Company
Monmouth has been around for decades. It serves some of the best brews in London and its shops are reliably filled with coffee aficionados at most times of the day. The Borough location is always heaving, but the original Covent Garden is less so. Pastries are fresh and delicious.
Monmouth Coffee Company has shops in Covent Garden and Borough Market.
Notes may be slowly spreading across London, but its multitude of shops doesn't detract from its independent spirit. These guys buy direct from the farmers and team member Fabio roasts the single-origin beans over in east London. The result is a range of typically fruity, acidic coffees, perfect with a brownie.
Notes Coffee has several shops around London, including Canary Wharf, Victoria, King's Cross, Bank and Trafalgar Square.
Another one that helped shape the London coffee scene, this Australian style coffee shop serves excellent speciality coffee. Food is seasonal, with a weekly changing menu.
Kaffeine has two shops in Fitzrovia, one on Great Titchfield Street and one on Eastcastle Street.
Serving locally-roasted coffee blends from artisan roaster Climpsons & Sons, means both Fix branches (there's also one on Whitecross Street) are popular. It takes its coffee seriously and the music is quite cool too.
Fix Coffee, 126 Curtain Road, EC2A 3PJ.
Great coffee and relaxed dining combine at Caravan — an ever-blooming operation from the well-known Kiwi coffee purveyors. Coffee is artisanal and best enjoyed alongside some of the signature global small plates.
Caravan has five restaurants around London including King's Cross, Exmouth Market and Fitzrovia.
Many a splendid coffee shop will boast about serving Workshop's expertly roasted coffee, and rightly so. But we recommend that on occasion you cut out the middle man and simply head straight to the source. Workshop's Coffeebars are no-frill setups with a focus on clean, high-quality brews.
Workshop Coffee has multiple Coffeebars in London, including one in Fitzrovia and one in Marylebone.
Right on the Old Street roundabout, Shoreditch Grind offers up both exceptional artisanal coffee and fantastic people watching opportunities. All the other Grind locations are great too, and their breakfasts are fab, but this is the original.
Shoreditch Grind, 213 Old Street, EC1V 9NR. Other Grind locations are Clerkenwell, Exmouth Market, Borough Market, Covent Garden, Greenwich and Liverpool Street.
Ozone Coffee, Shoreditch
A light, airy coffee bar with in-store roastery and tasty food from breakfast to dinner. These guys are proper coffee nerds (in a good way!) and are also dog-friendly so you can enjoy some cuddles with your cappuccino.
Ozone Coffee, 11 Leonard Street, EC2A 4AQ.
The Wren Coffee, St Paul's
A coffee shop set within the St Nicholas Cole Abbey church, people of all religions come here to sit and enjoy a cup of Caravan-roasted coffee and a slice of toast in the spiritual surroundings. Cakes are made on site and worth trying too.
The Wren Coffee, St Nicholas Cole Abbey, 14 Queen Victoria Street, EC4V 4BJ.
Harvest E8, Dalston
Family run cafe within east London's largest organic shop, selling organic groceries. Their cakes are vegan and/or gluten free but that doesn't stop them from tasting indulgent.
Harvest E8, 130-132 Kingsland High Street, E8 2NS.
Lion Coffee + Records, Hackney
Coffee shop, record store and live music venue all rolled into one, this Hackney local is in tune with its area. Serving delicious Allpress coffee, all its trendy baristas are trained by Allpress themselves to ensure the coffee is quality all the way.
Lion Coffee + Records, 118 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0QR.
Department of Coffee and Social Affairs
The name may sound more cult than cosy, but don't discount this mini-chain just yet. It sources and roasts its own single origin coffees and serves them up strong in bright, petite cafes alongside a yummy cake or two.
Department of Coffee and Social Affairs has shops all over London, including Soho, Spitalfields, Piccadilly, Carnaby and Kingston.
The original Attendant, so-called due to its former life as a subterranean Victorian public toilet, drew crowds for its novelty factor. But the quality coffee kept people coming back and even spawned two new non-toilet-related venues. Beans are roasted in-house and the staff really know their onions so your brew will be near-perfect. Freshly made sandwiches and other snacks are a bonus.
The Attendant has locations in Fitzrovia, Clerkenwell and Shoreditch.
Brown & Green Cafe, south London
There's a few of these in south east, particularly Crystal Palace, but we like the one on Church Road best. Cute, rustic interiors, fantastic bacon sarnies and the rest of the brunch game is strong too. Kids are spoiled here rather than merely tolerated.
Brown & Green Cafe has locations in Crystal Palace, Sydenham and Gipsy Hill.
Timberyard, Covent Garden
Coffee shops are often handy places for remote working, but Timberyard offers a dedicated workspace-slash-coffee shop where you don't have to feel guilty for taking up a spot. It's always full of people tapping away on laptops and there are even bookable meeting rooms. The coffee is serious with excellent filter or a slowly dripping Chemex for proper caffeine fans.
Timberyard, 7 Upper St Martin's Lane, WC2H 9DL.
Look Mum No Hands!, Old Street
Describing itself as a cafe/bar/bicycle workshop, Look Mum No Hands! is an eclectic east London entry. Coffee is from local roasters Square Mile, plus a rotating guest espresso for when you fancy a change. It sources its terrific cakes from nearby bakeries and there's plenty of craft beer should you prefer something stronger as day turns to night.
Look Mum No Hands!, 49 Old Street, EC1V 9HX.