Such is the plethora of truly excellent independent coffee shops in London, there's no need to darken the door of any of the ubiquitous chains. With cappuccinos, espressos and flat whites to rival anything Melbourne, Milan or Paris have to offer, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to finding the perfect cup of Joe in the capital. Here are 10 of the best.
With branches all round town Grind has gone from strength to strength since its launch five years ago off the Old Street roundabout. Their desire to recreate the espresso taste famously found in Melbourne means their boutique roasted Grind House Blend is bold in flavour and roasted daily for a remarkable cup of coffee. Their snacks aren't bad either — black flatbread made with squid ink and filled with chicken, aioli, pickles and tomatoes — and the breakfasts at London Bridge are definitely up there.
Algerian Coffee Stores
This place is as old as time (well, 129) and its dark, exotic coffee has well and truly stood the test. It's a hardcore coffee lover's paradise, boasting a vast array of single origins, blends and flavoured stuff plus all the pots, pans, gadgets and gizmos your heart could possibly desire. Nip in for a reviving standing room only espresso for £1 next time you're in Soho.
Algerian Coffee Stores, 52 Old Compton Street, W1V 6PB
Mouse Tail Coffee
'Mouse tail' is reportedly barista-speak for a perfectly shaped stream of espresso — fine and continuous, like its namesake. The staff at Mouse Tail take their coffee extremely seriously and are on a mission to educate Londoners about the properly good stuff. Beans are roasted here in London and there's loads of single origins to choose from, otherwise plump for their seasonally changing house blend. Tell them how you like your milk (wet, dry, extra hot) and they’ll sort you out a treat.
Mouse Tail Coffee: Whitechapel, Borough, Canada Water, Canary Wharf
Often cited as the best coffee in all of London, Monmouth's reputation precedes it, so expect to queue — especially at the Borough Market hub on a Friday or Saturday when the market is in full swing. Monmouth roast all their coffee themselves at the Bermondsey site and sell beans, single cone filter coffees and espresso based drinks to in-the-know customers. Perch on a bench if you can find room, or grab and go with a good quality pastry.
Monmouth: Covent Garden, Borough Market, Bermondsey
Established in Cornwall in 2004, Origin source specialist seasonal coffee from around the globe — be it Ethiopia or El Salvador — and carefully roast it themselves. They make much of their highly trained baristas and one in particular; Dan Fellows was crowned UK Barista Champion recently. Coffee buffs should make a beeline for the Shoreditch branch's Brew Bar where latte art and home brew courses are available.
Origin: Hammersmith, The British Library and Shoreditch
If you're in south west London and in need of a caffeine fix then head to your nearest Brew for an artisanal Allpress coffee. Choose from the crowd-pleasing cinnamon spiced latte, bespoke piccolos or cool down with an iced latte. Suppliers here are top notch, so treat yourself to a Brindisa-esque chorizo plate or croquette too.
Brew: Clapham, Putney, Wimbledon, Wandsworth, Chiswick
Coming soon to Fitzrovia, Rawligion is a completely raw food café stocking organic, plant based goodies for the eat clean brigade to coo over. More importantly, they will play host to London's first ever Oji Cold Drip Coffee Tower — which is apparently the Rolls Royce of cold drip towers, having been expertly and painstakingly handmade in Tokyo. The coffee can be served either hot or cold and sounds like the perfect antidote to all that juice.
Rawligion, Opens 6 July 2016, 3 Tottenham Street, W1T 2AF
The founders of the now-widespread Antipodean coffee movement in London, Caravan really know what they're talking about when it comes to coffee beans. They source green coffee beans in an admirably sustainable, friendly way and rotate their excellent house blends daily to showcase the best of the bunch. Exmouth Market is continually rammed, but King's Cross is slightly quieter and a little more bookable — we love their spectacular breakfasts.
Caravan: King's Cross and Exmouth Market
Old Spike Roastery
If you like your morning coffee with a side of social conscience then check out Old Spike Roastery, who endeavour to help vulnerable people out of homelessness by training them up at their specialist Peckham roastery. As well as providing housing and employment support, Old Spike Roastery produce exceptional coffee available on a subscription basis or you can pop into the shop at the weekend for a freshly roasted caffeine hit.
Old Spike Roastery, 54 Peckham Rye, SE15 4JR. Open Tuesday-Friday 7.30am-3pm, weekends 9.30am-5pm. Closed Monday.
Unexpectedly, Tate have their own Tate Roastery, based out of a second world war Nissen Hut. It's headed up by their head of coffee, Thomas Haigh, (ex-Climpsons) and uses speciality coffees sourced directly from farmers in El Salvador and Brazil supplying some 10 million visitors for 2016. Thomas currently roasts around 15 tonnes of coffee each year and from mid June you’ll be able to enjoy your lovingly crafted cup from the new 10-storey Switch House extension of Tate Modern, with breathtaking views over town.