Now over 35 years old and still a major presence on London’s coffee scene, Monmouth seems to be busy all the time. On Friday and Saturday, it’s heaving – be prepared for a lengthy queue. The location at the southern end of Borough Market accounts for much of the popularity, but the unfailingly high quality clinches the deal. Food (breads, pastries and so on) is simple, well chosen and low maintenance for the staff. They have other priorities: making and serving coffee. Which they do as well as anyone in London.
Espresso (a bargain at £1.70) and its milky derivatives are well made, using full-fat milk – because Monmouth (unlike many customers) knows that semi-skimmed gives inferior results. But it’s the brewed coffee, from the company’s outstanding range, that takes top billing. If there’s a relatively small crowd, dawdle and talk to the coffee experts, who will share their enthusiasm and expertise with anyone who shows an interest. Seating is basic but comfortable enough. Come and worship at this shrine to the bean, or at the two branches in Bermondsey and (Monmouth's original home) Covent Garden.