94 thoughts on “London’s Best Coffee – a map!

  1. Well, I dn’t klive in London – but if I did, this map would be worht it’s weight in gold! Since I am planning to come to London at some point this year (and good coffee is always a major prioity), I feel this shall prove an invaluable resource.
    Nice work, Phil!!

  2. There’s nowhere west of Carnaby St! Are you seriously saying there’s no decent coffee in south or west London? I don’t think this is a very representative map of “London”. Try Dizain in New King’s Road for fabulous coffee, and many other places besides.

    • Well talking about the best quality of barista made espresso coffee, it does tend to be concentrated in certain areas. I know a lot of people on the coffee scene and if there were great places in West and South London they’d probably have been mentioned to me in my 20 years in London. Essentially, the main reason for the lack of great coffee i West London is the rent.
      I live in Islington and it’s a pretty bare place there for good coffee too! I have spent plenty of time in West and South London – I used to enjoy a galao in the Potuguese cafes in Stockwell but compared to the quality of drinks made by the baristas experienced and trained in postwar New Zealand and parts of Australia it doesn’t measure up.
      Look at the line-up for the upcoming UK barista championships. I don’t think I see anyone from West London based places in it…I might be wrong.
      The best coffee places are still clustered in Central and East London. If you don’t believe me, try them. Thanks for the tip on Dizain – I’ll try that.

      • Hi Phil,
        first of all great to see your list. About time coffee shops get more visible recognition. Thanks for putting in the work.
        A couple of points I noticed.
        Despite 20 years experience and you haven’t been to coffee plant is a pity as they roast and produce decent shots well before the young boys and girls came about (i.e. last few years).
        Diversity of brews are coming on strong and you ought to go beyond espresso based coffees.

      • Coffee Plant in Portobello? Very, very disappointing in my experience. I wouldn’t recommend it. As for going beyond espresso – I dig the aeropress at home and a variety of extractions at Notes, Music and Coffee, Tapped and Packed, Dose Espresso and (soon if not now) at Prufrock Coffee in Leather Lane.

    • Rebecca, almost FOUR years later and there is *still* no good coffee in West London, with the exception of a small handful of places (Talkhouse in Portobello, for example).

      That’s just how London is working itself out right now, don’t blame Phil!

      • Yes, right now I’d recommmend Talkhouse (light years above the rest) and lovely Camden Coffee House in Ladbroke Grove. I need to try Electric Coffee in Ealing Broadway. It’s interesting to speculate why coffee hasn’t taken off in West London…I wonder if many people make coffee at home there or if the nature of the shopping areas and rents favour the chains.

  3. i have kept an open collaboration coffee map on google for a couple of years, not as organised and thoroughly researched as yours though, its more a place for people to drop a pin as a recommendation. if your looking for inspiration for new places to add have a look at my map, (but i certainly haven’t been to all of them so i can’t say they are all going to be great.)

    I would say your map is pretty spot on, only a cpuple i’m not sure about

    The only one missing i can say certainly needs to be there is exchangecoffee who run a stall on lewisham market (on saturdays only), uk latte art champion and third place on one stall.

    they are on the end of lewisham high street

    i won’t post a link to my map, but a google search for good coffee map might show up near the top

  4. thats the one! Neil and Lynsey are very passionate about their stall, and coffee geeks can be seen congregating for several hours

  5. Hi Phil.

    Thanks for a great amalgamation of the best coffee spots in London. You might want to have a look at scooterworks at Waterloo and tell us what you think. Also, I want to ask whether you believe the places you’ve gathered are equally great when it comes to decaf. Speaking as an on again – off again 3-double espressos a day aficionado, I was wondering if these places serve decent decaf for these days when only the smell of coffee can make you feel happy.


  6. Thanks Phil. As someone who frequents all these places, this list is spot-on! Espresso Room is probably my favorite at the moment.

    I might add the London Review of Books cafe. The barista there is very serious about her coffee.

  7. Well done Phil for putting all these places on one map! This’ll be very useful. Also try LJ coffee on Winnett street (sells Union coffee, and very good Baristas), and did you know the marketplace in St Pancras station now sells Monmouth as well – right opposite Starbucks? I can also second that Scooterworks and Taylor street Baristas are also great.

    • Thanks Chris, I’ll try LJ; I’ll have to google Winnett Street.
      Yes, I’ve promoted Sourced Market in St Pancras the past. I like what the owner is trying to do – create a space to have Borough Market style products in San Pancras. The food is very good indeed and the coffee is the best in the area but that’s not saying much. The first few cups I had there were decent but I’ve had a lot of less decent coffees there since. They do use Monmouth beans and the staff are Monmouth trained but I don’t believe they’ve maintained quality control over their staff – there’s not enough people working there with a genuine love for coffee so it’s not always particularly well made – but it is better than most!

  8. OK,
    Extended my to-do list after discussions with a range of coffee cognoscenti and reading Charmiane Mok’s reviews.

    I need to try:

    London Review of Books Cafe – Bloomsbury
    Exchange Coffee – Lewisham
    Scooterworks – Waterloo
    Merito – Swiss Cottage/Broadway Market
    Tina We salute You – Dalston
    Taste of Bitter Love – Hackney Road
    Nude Expresso – East London
    Ginger and White – Hampstead
    Ottolenghi – Islington
    Climpson and Sons
    Gwylim’s Carts
    Taylor Street
    LJ Coffee House Soho
    Foxcroft and Ginger
    Indie Coffee, St Johns Wood
    Counter Cafe – Hackney Wick
    Wilton’s – Hackney
    Browns of Brockley
    The Roastery – Wandsworth
    Kensington Square Kitchen
    Coffee Plant – Portobello
    Cafe Gingko – Ravenscourt Avenue

    • OK, a lot of these have been tried out.
      Tina, Taste of Bitter Love, Exchange Coffee, Nude, Ginger and White, Gwilym’s Carts, Taylor St are all excellent. Foxcroft and Ginger is good, if not quite at the same level. LJ is a fun place, a decent oasis in London and the coffee is decent. Scooterworks varies between excellent and undrinkable depending on who is working there. Wilton’s is worth a visit, very quirky place. Ottolenghi wasn’t that great. Then there’s a few more still to try!

      I’m sure Browns of Brockley is excellent and I have to get down there; and to Mouse and De Lotz over in the East End.

  9. Definately try Foxcroft & Ginger in Soho. They are my new favourite! Great interior and wonderful Monmouth Coffee made on a Synesso. You should also try their food: I swear their sandwiches might even be the best in London..!

    • I tried Foxcroft and Ginger and enjoyed it. I have had friends go and the coffee was overhot but when I went in (a Sunday) the barista was very knowledgeable (ex-Lantana) and made a very decent cup of coffee – it wasn’t up to Kaffeine, Flat White, Milk Bar, Monmouth standards for that area but well made indeed. If it was in North London I would be raving about it. I agree about the sandwiches – they are stunningly good, they might well be the best in London. The staff were lovely and friendly too and it was quite spacious with a downstairs area which is unusually large for a London coffee bar. Definitely recommended!

  10. Hi,

    Looks like I wasn’t the only person to create a london coffee map on google maps! Damn, I thought I was so original 🙂
    Good to see other people in London care about good coffee and i’m looking forward to trying out some of the places on your map that I haven’t been to yet.

    Here’s my map if your interested. http://bit.ly/9PdizO

    Also we created a simple iPhone app so people can find good coffee on the go (google my maps don’t really work properly on the iPhone).

    Find it here… http://bit.ly/9Phq08

    Good luck with the hunt for good coffee 🙂

  11. Thanks Mark,
    A few there I need to check out Sacred Holloway is nowhere near the actual cafe?
    I will enjoy checking out the places on your map. I’ve been meaning to get to Farm Collective for a while

    • Yeah the google maps location when you search for sacred cafe is wrong! The location on my map is correct.
      You should definitely make it to ‘Tina, we salute you’ if you haven’t yet. One of my favourites!

  12. Yes, I must try Tina We Salute You. They are closed from the 26th April for two weeks. I need to take the walk along the canal to Dalston and try the Towpath Cafe along the way.

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  14. Great Map. I was putting together a map myself when I found this one. I thought you may be interested in Full Steam Espresso in Dulwich. He is based at
    unit D 17, ground floor Parkhall
    Trading estate ( approach up the left side of main big white building ) 40
    Martell road SE21 8EN, but also has a cart on Saturday morning
    outside the Oddbins, Rosendale road. It is owned by Kurt ( another Australian ). He is just about to start roasting his own beans.

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      • Back from out London holiday 🙂 I didn’t get to try a lot of coffee shops, but I was a little disapointed by Fernandez&Wells and the FlatWhite. Both served a very good looking crema-rich, but very sour tasting espresso. But maybe “fruity” 3rd-wasve espresso just isn’t for me… Even after adding sugar I found it hard to enjoy. FlatWhite did’t even have plain Espresso on the menu, or was I missing something?

        I was looking forward to visiting “Present London” in Shoreditch, but the guy kind of closed the door on us, even though we got there more than an hour before closing time. Fortunately we didn’t go to Shoreditch just because of this coffeeshop ;-).

        I found one interesting little café you might want to try out. It is called “The Espresso Bar”, located in Euston Road, right at the British Library. The espresso was pretty good and the have their own little roasting machine in the bar. I also liked the freshly made churros 🙂

      • Wow Hans. That’s really unfortunate about Present. Gwiliym is one of the absolute best in London and a lovely guy – there must have been some reason. Glad you found some other things to do in Shoreditch Flat White does serve espresso. It’s been consistently of a high standard on my many visits. Which branch of Fernandez and Wells did you go to? I am surprised you didn’t enjoy Hasbean’s Christmas blend there as it’s one I particularly enjoyed. http://www.hasbean.co.uk/.

        The Espresso Room at the British Library is run by the chain of restaurants called Peyton & Byrne who also run the cafes at many museums. When I’ve visited the coffee has been very poor but perhaps it’s due another visit. http://www.peytonandbyrne.co.uk. I hope it has improved as I spend a lot of time in that area and there are a dearth of decent coffee shops.

        EDIT: You know thinking again about this I’d say you really need t give Third Wave coffee another go Hans. It’s obviously not your thing and the place you did like has truly awful coffee, I can confirm, but perhaps a darker roast that you are used to. The sourness that you mention is an increased acidity and reduced bitterness in many third wave coffees but it’s a taste you grow to love and in time experience the subtlety of a wide range of flavours

  16. This is such a useful map! Thanks for all your effort, although I am sure it was fun.

    I have found an iPhone application for this too. Maybe you made it?


  17. Phil, this is a fantastic resource. Am in process of planning for opening of our own coffee shop in Birmingham later this year and was just starting researching some benchmark places in London to visit … you’ve done the work for us and now I just need to visit. Thanks a lot!!

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  20. try these new ones..

    28 Westow Hill
    City of London, Greater london SE19 1RX
    020 8761 7455

    Volcano Coffee Works
    Unit D17, Ground Floor, Parkhall Trading Estate
    62 Tritton Road
    SE21 8DE

    Ph: +44 208 – 761 8415

  21. Might be worth checking out Coffee Circus, 136 Crouch Hill. They opened late last year I think and showed relative seriousness with their Mazzer/Marzocco machinery and Union coffee. I went there once and it was a cut above the rest in Crouch End. But today as I passed on the bus I saw the distinctive red of Hasbean coffee bags through the window so they really must be a bit serious and I’ll have to pay another visit.


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  23. hi Phil,
    Ive noticed on your map that you have Nude espresso but not Roughtrade espresso which is situated around the corner in Roughtrades East london store. Here we serve Monmouth espresso through our La Marzocco linea .. We have a small menu of food all supplied locally as well as having one of the best music selections in the world!!!

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  27. Lifesaver! I’ve just moved work to near St Pauls and it’s a coffee desert without the right map.

    Also worth adding the coffee cart at the bottom of Bow Lane that sells Monmouth.

  28. Since visiting Stockholm I have become obsessed with a bakery called Fabrique, and fortunately for me there is a newly opened London outpost right next to Hoxton overground, just behind the Geffrye Museum. I think their coffee is really decent and worthy of a spot on your map! Don’t miss the cinnamon buns either.

    • Thanks for that. I have visited Fabrique twice and it is a truly excellent bakery and a great space. The cardamon buns are my favourite. I have enjoyed a mug or two of the batch brew coffee there although it is a far darker roast then I normally drink. I hesitate to put it on the map until I check the quality of the espresso based drinks as I notice they have a machine. I will check next time I visit and consider adding it.

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