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London's best cafés and coffee shops

On the hunt for a classier caffeine kick? Here's Time Out's guide to the latest wave of London coffee shops creating a buzz

Michael Franke / Time Out

There’s more to London’s coffee shops than just great brews. The last few years have seen an explosion of coffee culture in the capital, and these are the places to check out this creative community. Do you agree with our choices? Add your suggestions to the comment box below.

Best coffee shops in central London

The Attendant

Venue says: 20% off evening private hire when you quote 'Timeout'. Email info@the-attendant.com. Now open Sundays 10am-5pm.

This former public convenience has been turned into a charming little coffee bar of very high quality. The aromas wafting up from the subterranean cavern are now of roast arabica and scented candles, even though many of the original fixtures remain in place, from the Victorian urinals to a veteran hand drier. The loo has been locked up and unused for the last 50 years; now the transformation from piss-stop to pitstop is impressive. The beans are supplied by Caravan Roastery; our flat whites had rich flavour and a thick crema. On another visit the barista, obsessively committed to his craft, apologised because the blend might have a little too much citrus flavour from sitting for just three days after roasting (he likes six). It was citrusy, but it was wonderful. He offered to brew a free cup of something else, so we could compare and contrast. There’s a small selection of made-to-order sandwiches and hot snacks, and the cakes are more than decent. This central café is definitely worth spending a penny in.

Espresso: £2.20

The bottom line: Coffee that wakes you up before you go-go, served in a former men’s pissoir.

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Fitzrovia

Curators Coffee Studio

There may be seating for as many as six people here, and it isn’t strong on comfort. But Curators is a place to cherish nonetheless if you value beautiful beans and expert brewing. The house espresso blend comes from Nude Espresso, guest beans mostly from Square Mile and Clifton Coffee Roasters. We had a guest filter, the improbably sweet Colonia 8 Estrellas from Bolivia, perfectly brewed. Anyone adding milk or sugar to this beauty should be booted out. Bought-in food is simple but shows the same care that goes into the coffee. A steady stream of City slaves keeps this tiny treasure buzzing with takeaway orders. It’s easy to see why.

Espresso: £2.20

The bottom line: Serving City workers with well-curated coffee beans.

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City

Department of Coffee & Social Affairs

DCSA gets very busy during the week, while weekends are relaxed. We’re particularly fond of the fabulously unkempt brickwork, which might make you think you’re in a building site rather than a coffee bar. Other pleasures include good but unobtrusive music, and the warmest service you could ask for. All the coffee begins as espresso and is always well made, from beans provided by a range of roasters. The machine is well tended to between coffees, and milk is foamed, poured and decorated carefully. Food is simple and high quality: a handful of sandwiches and a lovely spread of baked goods, some made here and others bought in. Our only grumble – on several visits – has been that our espresso could have been hotter. But this is hardly a unique problem, and certainly not enough to keep us away. DCSA now has a total of eight branches, including this original one.

Espresso: £2.40

The bottom line: A stripped-back café that's been expanding all over town.

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Farringdon

FreeState Coffee

This former Prêt was transformed in spring 2013 into an independent coffee shop. The uniform fittings have been replaced by second-hand tables and an eclectic selection of pews to perch on. Their back wall is decked out with a line of drip filters for sampling coffees from a changing roster of guest beans. The house espresso blend is sourced from Union Coffee Roasters, but beans from smaller roasters (such as Roasted Rituals and Campbell & Syme) also make an appearance in their La Marzocco machine. To fill your belly, there’s the usual selection of pastries, sarnies and quiches. 

Espresso: £2.20

The bottom line: An indy café that’s thrown off the chains.

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Midtown

Kaffeine

Kaffeine remains incredibly popular with local, mostly young office workers, who seem to crowd in at every hour of the day and make lunchtime a crush. They can’t be here for the seating: wooden bench-type at tables either high or low. Or for the minimalist decor. It’s the coffee and the food and the buzz. And there certainly is buzz aplenty, especially when the place is crowded. You’ll find much to croon over in the food, which comes up from the basement kitchen constantly as tray after tray sells out. This is some of the best coffee-bar food in London, whether savoury or sweet, which must explain a lot about the lunchtime crowds. Salads, sandwiches, anything that’s seen the inside of a hot oven – these are all strong points. So it was somewhat shocking, this year, to find ourselves seriously disappointed with the coffee. Two espressos: feeble crema, lacking in body and of a flavour that spoke more of fire than of beans. This was the first poor cup of Kaffeine we’ve ever had. We hope it’s the last. There is now a second branch in Eastcastle Street, near Oxford Circus.

Espresso: £2

The bottom line: Enduringly popular for its unhurried atmosphere, lovely service and great food.

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Fitzrovia

Look Mum No Hands!

Newcomers may be puzzled by the name until they learn that there’s a bicycle repair shop attached: this is a hangout popular with two-wheels-good folk. But on a grisly Saturday lunchtime, it wasn’t just cyclists here; half of the residents of EC1 had turned up. Singles, couples, families with young children. It’s easy to see why they all love the place, even with so much competition in the area. LMNH is a joy, with an ample food offering (proper cooked dishes, plus salads, baked spuds and the like) and baristas who know their business. The staple beans come from Square Mile but there are guest coffees too. This is wheely good, with or without oil-marked trousers. And there's a second branch in Bethnal Green.

Espresso: £2

The bottom line: On two wheels, four wheels, or even on foot, a hugely popular and friendly local hangout. 

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Notes

Notes has been on this site since 2011, and opened branches in Covent Garden and Leeds in 2012 and 2013 respectively, but in 2013 it also took the major step of doing its own roasting in King’s Cross. The result, as judged by a single-farm Yirgacheffe brewed using the slow-drip V60 pour-over filter, is a major success. The room is singularly attractive, big and light with well-spaced seating at both small and refectory-type tables. It was very busy in mid-afternoon on a weekday, with a clientele ranging from suits in meetings to friends hanging out. Food is simple but takes pride in buying the best raw materials, such as charcuterie from the Ham and Cheese Company in Bermondsey. With Trafalgar Square just minutes away and the Coliseum even closer, Notes is an extremely useful place to take note of.

Espresso: £2.20

The Bottom Line: Hitting the high notes with in-house roasted single estate coffees.

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Leicester Square

Prufrock Coffee

Hardly anything has changed at this big, bright, comfortable room, renowned for its devotion to artisan coffee. Monday to Friday, everyone here’s in a bit of a hurry. (More so after a couple of shots.) At the weekend it becomes a place for exulting in the what’s-the-rush pace. The coffee is always produced to the very highest levels. For those who don’t want espresso or espresso with milk, top-notch brewed coffees are made using several different methods, including the Chemex filter system (for two). Food is displayed on the counter, and there's also a small selection of daily dishes chalked up on a blackboard; the quality has been consistently high on our visits. Leather Lane may be nearly empty on Saturdays, but Prufrock makes it a serious destination.

Espresso: £2.20

The bottom line: One of London's very best, and equally distinguished with filter-type brews and espresso.

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Farringdon

Rapha CC

Rapha Cycle Club’s Soho store shows that there is much more to the cycling-coffee pairing than Lance Armstrong-style performance enhancement. The café area occupies a little less than half the floor space of this very smart cycle clothing shop, and it provides ample seating for those wanting to rest their feet after picking up a pair of merino knee-warmers. At the table next to ours, two young Japanese people relaxed with shopping bags nestling at their feet. And it is a remarkably relaxing place, largely because of the chatty but efficient staff. The house espresso blend comes from Workshop, and there are guest beans as well. Food is much more elaborate and extensive than standard coffee-bar fare, with pasta and rice dishes providing carb-fuel for hungry cyclists and a range of sandwiches, salads, and eggy breakfasts. A haven near Piccadilly Circus.

Espresso: £2.50

The bottom line: A chilled-out place in unlikely surroundings, and some of the nicest staff around.

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Soho

TAP Coffee (Soho)

This is the third branch of what was formerly known as Tapped & Packed (the other two are on Rathbone Place and Tottenham Court Road), and don’t be surprised if it’s not the last. The formula is simple and very effective. Buy good beans and treat them with respect. Create a space that’s unintimidating and relaxing – a very long space in this case, with skylights running almost its full length. Employ waiting staff who know that a smile and a friendly word are just as important as efficiency. It pays off. Even though this branch is the largest of the three, it wasn’t easy to bag a table at 2.30pm on a weekday. There were a couple of informal office meetings taking place, but also a lot of people sitting on their own. Average age: low 30s. Food: majoring on sandwiches and salad of reasonable prices (by Soho standards), plus the usual baked goods. A completely satisfying experience. Leaving was a wrench.

Espresso: £2.20

The bottom line: You’ll have to force yourself to get up and leave. Expect TLC from Tap.

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Soho
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Best coffee shops in north London

Bread and Bean

This nice little place opened in November 2011 and it’s a big hit with young locals. It’s easy to see why they come. From the copper lamp fittings to the quirky decor to the massive windows giving a full view of the street scene, this is very pleasant place to while away an hour or two. There’s just one coffee on offer, Union Coffee Roasters’ Revelation blend, and it’s well handled with just one complaint: the cup wasn’t hot enough, so inevitably the brew wasn’t, either. The food ranges from cooked breakfasts to sandwiches, baked spuds and a daily soup and salad. Plus the inevitable baked goods, most of them made on the premises.

Espresso: £1.80

The Bottom Line: Well-made bakes and brews in a quirky Archway caff

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Archway

Caravan King's Cross

The famous adage about the three keys to success in retailing – ‘location, location, location’ – might have been coined with this place in mind. It shares a building with Central St Martins, and right on its doorstep lies the vast King’s Cross development. The huge stripped-industrial space, originally a grain storage facility, was doing a roaring trade on a wet Thursday lunchtime. And it wasn’t all thirsty students: there were families, suits, tourists. The offering duplicates that of the original Caravan in Exmouth Market: a large, eclectic menu majoring on brunch and breakfast classics, small plates on the main menu, and reasonable prices; a drinks list where wine and cocktails are taken equally seriously; and, of course, the coffee, which is roasted in plain view. The food is terrific; so is the coffee. A textbook espresso (fabulously fruity blend) and a beautifully feathered flat white could not have been better. The noise-averse might have problems. Everyone else will love it. This place is great.

Espresso: £2

The bottom line: A brilliant success on all fronts – this caravan’s an oasis in the King’s Cross concrete desert.

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Kings Cross and St Pancras

Coffee Jar

The Coffee Jar was opened in February 2013 by a refugee from high finance, and Camdenites have embraced it enthusiastically. There’s seating for just ten people, with minimal decor based on large quantities of reclaimed scaffolding board. The house beans come from Monmouth, with a changing roster of guest. Our espresso came from the hand of a barista who worked meticulously, right down to warming the cup with a puff of steam to ensure a properly hot shot. The food offering is sharply focussed: a few sandwiches, plus baked goods both bought in and produced on-site. Add on friendly service and you’ve got a winning formula. We can see why most of the customers during our visit were regulars.

Espresso: £1.80

The Bottom Line: A minimalist caff in Camden with beans from Monmouth Coffee

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Camden

The Fields Beneath

The Fields Beneath is a classic of local history written about Kentish Town by long-time resident Gillian Tindall, and the name is appropriate for this coffee bar: TFB has a real neighbourhood feel. It isn’t surprising that K-Towners have taken to it enthusiastically since it opened late in 2012. The place is tiny, with just one long(ish) table for communal sipping, but ample space for the takeaway crowd (many emanating from the Kentish Town West overground station next door). Beans are rotated fortnightly with Roundhill, Notes and Butterworth all making a regular appearance. An espresso made using beans from the Roundhill Roastery was flawless, with an especially fine crema. But you could easily come here just for the food. A monster cookie, dense with dark chocolate, was sublime and sizeable. Even better is their beef donut, braised shin inside a lightly sweet bread case. On our visits we have watched the crowds come in search of sandwiches to take away, while our table companions chatted merrily to each other and to the staff. TBF is very much a part of the KT family. Let’s hope the love goes on and on.

Espresso: £2

The bottom line: A tiny operation which has won the hearts and minds of Kentish Town.

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Kentish Town

Loft Coffee Company

Sungjae Lee learned to love good coffee in his native Seoul. Since moving to London in 1988 he’d thought about opening a coffee bar. Late in 2012, after a year of planning, building and training, he achieved his ambition. The tiny space (table seating for 10) used to be part of Mr Lee’s estate agent office, which he still operates next door, just 30 seconds or so from the tube station. There are a few pastries from Gail’s Bakery and a good set of teas and a few soft drinks. But mostly there is espresso and its derivatives, made with beans from Monmouth. And what we tasted was exemplary: great beans perfectly brewed to give a beautiful crema with the rounded sweetness that makes Monmouth’s espresso blend so distinguished. Finchley Road is not exactly crowded with great places for coffee, and that makes this diminutive spot not just unusual but very welcome.

Espresso: £2.10

The bottom line: Miniature in size but mammoth in quality, a welcome addition to drab Finchley Road.

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Swiss Cottage

The Sanctuary Café

The Sanctuary at Grade II-listed St James Church is a wonderful café, capably run and warmly welcoming. On our visit an espresso was well made, a cheese-and-ham toastie outstanding' and best of all was a pair of gluten-free cakes, especially a light and airy orange cake which was the equal of any we’ve tasted in London. On a Saturday afternoon the place was jumping, literally: there is a children’s play area here, and the kids were out in force. Weekdays are quieter. There's a lovely story behind the Sanctuary, too. When plans were announced to shut down the local post office, St James’s vicar,  Andrew Cain, hatched the idea of moving it to his church. Money was raised, and the new operation – which also includes a shop – opened in 2014. Profits go to a local community charity. This place is a dream of a neighbourhood café. But note that on Sundays, the church is used as a church.

Espresso: £1.80

The bottom line: A lovely café in a lovely West Hampstead church.

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West Hampstead

Two Doors Down

The slightly rundown lower reaches of Kentish Town Road have acquired increasing gastro-cred in recent years, and one of the classiest acts is this utterly winning coffee shop. Two Doors Down is tiny, with seating for just a few people upstairs (plus pavement seating which is sometimes occupied even in inclement weather) and another ten or so downstairs. The owners’ warm and friendly attention to customers must account in large measure for their devoted local following. So does the coffee, made with Allpress beans. Milky drinks are executed flawlessly. Espresso has be more variable but sometimes reaches perfection. Food is simple but excellent: quiche, salads, sandwiches and baked goods (check out the spicy quail’s egg sausage roll). They find space on the walls for exhibitions by local artists, too. In all, a place to cherish.

Espresso: £1.70

The bottom line: A tiny jewel with a huge flock of followers in the lower reaches of Kentish Town Road.

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Kentish Town

Best coffee shops in south London

Birdhouse

Birdcage is about as unpretentious as a five-star coffee bar can get, but that doesn’t mean it’s artless in its approach. Everything is intended to soothe and relax, from the lovely colour scheme to the retro furnishings and the jolly cluster of pictures adorning the long wall. But the best thing is the staff, always including at least one of the two owners as far as we can tell. They make this place buzz with their obvious enthusiasm for coffee, catering and their customers. A mid-morning weekday crowd ranged widely in age, and included several children happy to eat superior baked goods or nurse a hot chocolate while their parents talked or read. The sandwiches are great, but the warm banana bread is well-nigh impossible to resist. Partnered with a perfect espresso made from Climpson & Sons beans, it’s a guaranteed cure for rainy-day blues. Aspiring baristas take note: if you want to see how an espresso machine should be tended, come to Birdhouse.

Espresso: £2.

The bottom line: The effortlessly chilled local coffee bar of everyone’s dreams; lucky Battersea.

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South West London

Federation Coffee

Even on a day when the wonderful Brixton Village market wasn’t at its busiest, Federation was bursting at the seams. This corner spot is not a large place, and it is very popular with a clientele of every age and many nationalities. Seats with a view of the covered market are the ones to grab. Take a perch and eavesdrop (in several languages when we were there) or just enjoy the sights. Federation buys its beans, a bespoke espresso blend and a single estate special, from the small London roaster Campbell & Syme. They also sell coffee-related hardware including Aeropress machines and hand-grinders. To eat, there’s the usual range of baked goods including cakes and Anzac cookies, and pasties, sandwiches and fritters at lunchtime. Some of the food now comes from nearby Salon Brixton, a departure from the days when they made everything on the premises. Service is friendly and there’s a real neighbourhood atmosphere here. For that, and for the location, Federation is top-drawer.

Espresso: £1.90

The bottom line: A hugely popular spot in Brixton Village market, buzzing and jolly.

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Brixton

Fields

This park café is one of three on Clapham Common, and is perhaps the least attractive – a bleak-looking concrete box sited between a busy road and skateboard park, with sneakers dangling from the connecting power lines. But it’s the common’s best café by a jogger’s mile. It’s been taken over by the people behind the uber-trendy M1lk café in Balham. The highly inventive menu is the main draw, but if you’re just popping in for a snack, or to sit outside on the large decked area, light bites include a yeasty, peat-smoked lardy cake, cooked in a tiny bundt tin, or big Anzac biscuits. Great coffee is made with either Workshop espresso or Koppi filter. This may be the park café graduating from the playground, but kids are still welcome.

Espresso: £2

The bottom line: Clapham Common's best café, inspiring quality in an uninspiring building. 

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Clapham

Monmouth Coffee Company

Monmouth is always busy, except on Friday and Saturday; on those days, it’s rammed. Roll up on Saturday and prepare to join a queue that snakes a good way round the corner of this prime spot on the southern border of Borough Market. Nothing here speaks of flashiness or trendiness. It’s the coffee, stupid, and the simple, well-chosen food offerings (breads, pastries, etc.) that go with it. Espresso and its derivatives are well made, but brewed coffee – from the company’s peerless range of single-estate beans – is the real star. On a midweek visit there were takers for both, and the relatively small crowd made it possible to dawdle among the young trendies and middle-aged gourmands who were scoffing pastries with their chosen brew. Seating is not exactly the lap of luxury (wooden benches, perch, or stand) but it’s comfortable enough. Still going strong after 35 years in business, Monmouth is as good as coffee gets.

Espresso: £1.70

The bottome line: The public face of the grandmama of high-class UK coffee, self-assured and always busy.

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Southwark

Best coffee shops in east London

Allpress Espresso

This popular corner spot, with tables and a counter at one end of the light-filled room and the coffee roaster at the other, is deeply embedded in the Shoreditch scene. Just before closing time the place still had a good few customers, equally divided between drinking-in and takeaways. Allpress makes terrific coffee, both filter and espresso-based. An espresso was textbook stuff, perfect crema and lush berry flavours and deep, dark chocolate. But the filter brews from a changing roster of beans are best for a more leisurely spot of sipping. Both drinks would be reason enough to come here, but the food makes for an even more compelling reason. Baked goods are outstanding, and the sandwiches (a rotating roster of regulars) are imaginative. Green goddess egg and jamón, salmon and celeriac remoulade… you get the picture. Still the star turn in Shoreditch despite the explosion growth growth in the area's caffeine culture.

Espresso: £2

The bottom line: Enduringly popular for its unhurried atmosphere, lovely service and great food.

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Brick Lane

Climpson & Sons

Deeply brown, nicely buzzy and never overheated, Climpson’s wood-lined coffee shop has the same great qualities as its excellent flat whites. It occupies a little niche on the west side of Broadway Market, so you might miss it entirely on a Saturday when this street becomes a hive of street stalls, artisanal food-snobbery and folk-busking. But this haven of laid-back enthusiasm, with friendly Antipodean staff who aim to serve, not sneer, is open every day of the week from 7.30am when it’s a nifty morning-paper hangout for equally laid-back locals. With its no-frills attitude, plain wooden benches, handy power points and helpful blackboard graph explaining the strength and taste of the available coffees and how they’re made, this place is about coffee first, conversation second. Climpson’s is a great example of the kind of pared-down, taste-focused cafés which have sprung up all over Dalston and London Fields, bringing hip mums, students and twentysomething remote workers together to enjoy keenly priced retro cakes, avocado on sourdough, and good strong coffee, locally roasted at Climpson’s nearby roastery.

Espresso: £2

The bottom line: Buzzy, laidback, enthusiastic, with locally roasted beans – the perfect coffee shop for Saturday nights and Monday mornings.

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London Fields

Nude Espresso

Even at 4.30pm on a Tuesday this original branch of Nude boasted a sizeable crowd, a tribute to its enduring popularity – and to the quality that keeps it going. Nude has become as much a food destination in recent years as a coffee destination. The menu follows the same format year on year – breakfasts, brunch dishes, a few fairly complicated assemblies, salads and baked goodies – but the selection changes from day to day. All-day food keeps packing ’em in, and at weekends the long ground-floor room can be a bit of a scrum. But a jolly, well-managed scrum, thanks to staff who know to work and be friendly at the same time. If it’s coffee you’re after, the offering is espresso-orientated, and you’d be advised to get some milk into the mix because the house blend is a very high roast short on sweetness. Well made, just a little too hardcore for many people’s taste. Get it with some form of milk, order pastry to go with it, and settle in. Note: they also have a branch in Soho. 

Espresso: £2

The bottom line: Serious attention to food is one of the top draws for both locals and touristas.

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Spitalfields

Ozone

Opened in 2012, Oz-owned Ozone is a major hit with the office workers around Silicon Roundabout. At 2.30pm on a grey Tuesday we found the street level room completely full. In the basement, where the beans are roasted, was a different story: we were the only people in that charmingly un-refurbished room. Ozone has made a big deal of its food from the very start, and if anything it gets more serious with time. Even with standard dishes there’s a nice tendency to add a taste of the unexpected: fried shallots and salsa verde with kedgeree, for instance. Soup of the day is always interesting. Coffee comes in brewed form as well as espresso and its offspring, with a daily changing pair of ‘slow-brew’ specials. Kenyan peaberry given this treatment was a silky treat. A word of warning if you sit in the basement: coffee making the descent from the busy ground floor room has a tendency to cool off a bit en route. Apart from that, no complaints.

Espresso: £2.30

The bottom line: Popularity has risen stratospherically – crowded upstairs, easier downstairs.

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Old Street

Best coffee shops in west London

Barossa

This Australian-owned place (as you might guess from the name) packs in appreciative customers. There’s no simple way to describe the clientele – apart from affluent, since this is, after all, the Parsons Green end of New King’s Road. Late at lunchtime on a dreary Saturday it was buzzing with young families, middle-aged locals wearing thousands of pounds worth of very understated casualwear, and twentysomethings gathered in small, lively groups. There’s a small room at the front with a good view of passing traffic and a larger back room where the serious lunchers seem to congregate. Coffee here is a pleasure, with beans from the Caravan Roastery treated carefully and served immaculately. But the food is taken equally seriously: the usual brunch dishes and an international array of other things that is very tempting. In an area not well served with quality coffee in casual surroundings, Barossa stands out.

Espresso: £1.80

The bottom line: A deservedly popular wizard of Oz in sedatest Parsons Green.

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Fulham

The Elgin

The few patrons in place on a Thursday mid-afternoon were dawdling luxuriously in this big, airy neighbourhood hangout, and it was a treat to join them. This is not just a coffee place. It’s an ex-boozer, and alcohol still features prominently. As does a short menu bringing in international touches alongside more traditional pub grub, such as a sausage sandwich, in this case using bangers from the renowned Ginger Pig butcher. Nearly everything is made on the premises, including bread, and when something has to be bought in, the barista said, it’s a form of ‘cheating’. Beans come from Coleman Coffee, and alongside the house espresso blend there are single-estate coffees – still relatively rare in the world of espresso. The barista wasn’t satisfied with his first two attempts for geeky technical reasons, so he persevered – and the third one was glorious, with bright berry notes. His perfectionism sums up a lot about this gem. Maida Valeites should cherish it.

Espresso: £2.20

The bottom line: A lovely local with lots of room and a really warm welcome.

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Maida Vale

Lowry & Baker

L&B opened in summer 2010, and many locals consider it a godsend after years of a serious lack of local independent coffee places. The food offering is small but outstanding, with good soups, sandwiches, salads and assorted other savouries. Sweet things are equally splendid (check out the blueberry cheesecake and banana bread), and prices are very reasonable. This is a neighbourhood hangout par excellence, with an atmosphere that’s like being in someone’s living room – staff talk to customers, and customers talk to each other. The food is served on a delightful jumble of unmatched crockery, but the perfectly brewed coffee – with beans from Monmouth – comes in well-warmed white cups. It’s warm, welcoming and totally laid back: we all wish we could have a café like this one on our corner.

Espresso: £1.70

The bottom line: A tiny, eccentrically decorated place with total commitment to quality in everything.

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Ladbroke Grove

Yvon Patisserie

The espresso here is very Parisian – and that is not necessarily meant as a compliment. Perfectly good of its type, but nothing to write home about. The food is also very Parisian, and this is definitely meant as a compliment. Yvon Coignard has a five-star CV, and he knows his craft well. A small oval of the Languedoc bread called fougasse had a topping of meltingly sweet caramelised onions and salty lardons; wonderful. But it’s the display of jewel-like patisserie that will really make you think you're in St Germain rather than Ealing. Divided around equally between chocolate and fruit, they are a pleasure to look at. And, based on the evidence of a miniature tarte tatin, a pleasure to eat. Ealingites are lucky. We hope they know it.

Espresso: £1.35

The Bottom Line: Perfect Parisian-style pastries in an Ealing shopping centre

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Ealing

Comments

19 comments
Pang A
Pang A Spammer

Think Monmouth is good but not worth standing in a queue every time you go. I think for good coffee & wacky decor Daisy Green near Marble Arch is a must

Shahied J
Shahied J

iCoffee on Suttons Lane opposite Hornchurch tube station in East London is a fantastic coffee shop with excellent coffee, scrumptious toasties, free wifi & iPad usage and great service. A true and rare gem in the east!

Patrick B
Patrick B

As a suggestion for the West, Anges de Sucre on Holland Street.

Conor M
Conor M

You've missed on of the best in Central London, near New Oxford Street: Wild and Wood

Dawn Cress
Dawn Cress

What about patisseries and coffee shops in the suburbs - Yvon's artisan Patissier in Ealing Broadway has excellent coffee and pastires and cakes and good service.

Anthony Kingsley
Anthony Kingsley

Great article! Love the idea with the tube map. There are a whole load of NonProfit cafes in East London that could be added, especially on Brick Lane, Kahaila Cafe has great coffee and cakes! Keep up the good work TimeOut. Cheers

Dan
Dan

I've placed all the cafes reviewed in central London on a map. I did it because I'm doing my own bit of research. The reviews on here have been very useful, thank you TimeOut. I hope this map can be of use to others. http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid= 205388326386877886143.0004f1be3d59d4b47621f

AG
AG

For the east of London, there is a new place that should be mentioned, Stepney City Farm, not only sells beautiful coffee, (using Climpsons and Sons beans) Tea, (from Joes Tea Company) and hot chocolate (from Jaz and Juls).But it is a little peice of something else, set in the middle of a city farm, where you can watch the donkeys and goats while enjoying your drinks! The food is pretty spot on too, and its all localy sourced! Truly the only place in london to get an 'Affa-goat-to'

Adam Townsend
Adam Townsend

You need to check out The Urban Chocolatier in Whitechapel. This chocolate coffee shop is amazeballs!

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What must be London's tiniest coffee shop - a minuscule battle waged between this slip of a place and the hole-in-the-wall that is StArt coffee on Columbia Road - opened today in the coffee mecca that is Fitzrovia (... it is said that all barista's tampers in London are positioned to face towards this arabica-dense area). In yet another unorthodox venue - wedged, Senkaku-like, in between a Chinese and a Japanese restaurant - Fitzrovians can yet again sate their desire for an espresso and a chat in non-conventional environs. With Attendant having opened on Foley Street only months ago, the wise money is on the next coffee shop opening between floors 16-20 of the BT Tower, the daily menu scrolling across its expansive LED screen for your convenience. Ridiculousness aside, this place pulls a decent shot from some serious kit (Nude's 'East' blend via a La Marzocco), the flat white I ordered providing a muted citrussy-zing and finish of toasted nuts. The interiors of the place could best be described as following TAP's deconstructed flea-market-chic vibe (which arguably 'fits' this particularly small space better than a full-sized cafe), with two stools optimistically placed outside for those braver and more garrulous than myself. The man behind the operation, a smiling, personable chap whose name I didn't manage to obtain, assures me he's here for the long-haul (as opposed to filling a gap in an under lease or similar) and seems pleasingly bullish about his chances in the area. When I mentioned the quality of the competition in the area, his response was "I know... good, right?". Excellent stuff. This said, to assume direct competition with the likes of Kaffeine, TAP etc would be to miss the point: GSE fills a different, smaller niche (if you'll indulge the metaphor) - and I'm sure the passing commuters and residents of the area will appreciate this newcomer for what it is.

Matt
Matt

Went to FreeState Coffee after reading this guide yesterday. Coffee, and staff very good, but no toilet!!! How can you put a cafe without a toilet on this list???? Another (subjective) point that I didn't like was that it is relatively small but with an enormous glass facade, so very hard to feel you have escaped the 'hustle and bustle' which is what I look for in a cafe.

Harry
Harry

You need to review Finns of Chelsea Green.

Lisa
Lisa

Disagree with Barossa. Customer service is absolutely abysmal. Food is nothing to write home about and venue is small and not well laid out. Afraid to say it but the coffee was not on par - I sent mine back and my mates forced theirs down. Don't waste your time. Pop over the river to Grind instead.

Amanda
Amanda

DISAGREE entirely re: Lola& Simon (Kings Road) - coffee is *not* great. Barely good, and not even enough to elevate the cafe into the great coffee places. This list also managed to omit several obvious west London independents within striking distance, all making great coffee: Hummingbird (Oaklands Place), Artisan (Kings Road), and Lavelli (Askew Road). Your reporters didn't actually do any work for this list.

Neon
Neon

How about the new "The Association" cafe by St Mary's Axe?

Molly Assheton
Molly Assheton

Tomtom coffee house on Elizabeth Street is by far the best coffee in London. It's a relaxed atmosphere and everything is top quality standard.

Danny
Danny

If these were on a map that'd be really great.

Ercan
Ercan

Where's Fee&brown on your list of great cafe's?? It serves truly great coffee, great atmosphere,.

jennie a
jennie a

@Ercan As the owner of Fee and Brown, you're entitled to your opinion.