The Liverpool Street branch of this seven-strong chain was heaving the day we visited, and as you would expect from the area, much of the chatter concerned high finance: ‘What’s in it for you?’ ‘Has the M&A team run the numbers yet?’ Despite the location, in a rather dreary shopping arcade, the place manages to convey a bit of boho charm.
Attractive dark wood flooring, big windows and some eccentric wall decorations all help. As does the presence of non-money clientele, earnestly deep in coffee, cakes and conversation. TSB buys most of its beans from Union Coffee Roasters, the source of its very high-roasted espresso blend. Some would find this blend just a bit too dangerously dark, and the crema died pretty quickly. But the cup arrived decently hot (a rarity nowadays) and a dose of sugar corrected the balance. With milk in any form, the blend comes into its own.
Guest beans are from Square Mile and Has Bean: single-origin coffees for conventional brewing. The edible offering – cakes, sandwiches, salads – isn’t large but it’s good, and staff are well informed.