London's best coffee

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    And the winner is...


    Time to find the best cup of coffee in town. Richard Ehrlich is an award-winning food and drink writer and coffee connoisseur. Now he’s about to taste-test our top five. Over to you, Richard…

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    Monmouth
    ‘Monmouth is a champion of filter coffee, but for round two we tried an espresso. Perfect ‘tiger-tail’ crema, and precise roasting avoided the extreme bitterness of much espresso. Letdown: the coffee went tepid almost instantly. (Tip – store the cups on the warm machine.) So take note: Monmouth’s greatest glory is its range of filter coffees.’

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    Merito
    ‘It takes courage to make a coffee outdoors. The espresso on our second visit was good rather than spectacular, with an undefined and short-lived crema. But the real problem was the paper cup, which shared some of its flavour with the brew. Great espresso cannot be served in a paper cup – but a flat white (pictured), you can get away with.’

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    Taylor St Baristas
    ‘TSB produces a brew that shows the bracingly assertive Union roasting style. My tiny espresso shot needed ample sugar to round out the bitterness; then it went down a treat. But the body (viscosity) was deficient and the crema slightly lacklustre. It worked better used in a flat white.’

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    Espresso Room
    ‘The currently ubiquitous Square Mile blend, but from a different machine to the one Prufrock uses, and therefore different results. It was served in a shot glass, which heightened the crema; and the extraction method made the coffee less berry-ish and more chocolatey, giving a shorter finish. Almost as dazzling as Prufrock – but not quite.’

    London's best cup of coffee


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    Prufrock
    ‘Barista Gwilym Davies achieved perfection in the ‘Four Ms’ of espresso-making: miscela (blend), macinazione (grind), macchina (machine) and mano (the hand of the barista). The crema stood up proudly and the texture of the brew was creamy and berry-rich with an accent of bitterness. The flat white was another winner – though we don’t normally recommend the paper cup option, which can taint flavour. Not here!’

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‘Barista Gwilym Davies achieved perfection in the ‘Four Ms’ of espresso-making: miscela (blend), macinazione (grind), macchina (machine) and mano (the hand of the barista). The crema stood up proudly and the texture of the brew was creamy and berry-rich with an accent of bitterness. The flat white was another winner – though we don’t normally recommend the paper cup option, which can taint flavour. Not here!’Central | North | East | South | West | The Winner | Map

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