London's best coffee
Posted: Mon Feb 15 2010
BEST IN WESTTaylor St Baristas
Thick, unctuous flat white | Creative latte art | The current espresso is the result of a collaboration with Union Hand RoastersThis Antipodean-run operation is expanding, but the concession in an upmarket supermarket in Richmond (Source) is where it all began. The current espresso blend is a complex mixture of seven varieties of coffee beans (a collaborative effort from Taylor Street Baristas and its supplier Union Hand Roasters), the machine a World Barista Championship-approved (oh yes) Dalla Corte Evolution 2003. The espresso (well-timed) came out a shimmering deep amber with a splendid golden-brown crema. Full-bodied and smooth with a glorious sweet and bright finish, with hints of clove and walnuts that peppered the palate.Source, 27d The Quadrant, Richmond, TW9 1DN (07969 798 650). 7.30am-5.30pm Mon-Fri; 10.30am-3.30pm Sun. Espresso £1.20, flat white £2.20. Kensington Square Kitchen
Staff trained by Monmouth | Frequent bean deliveries | Quiet spot for coffeeAn espresso in west London may not come cheap, but KSK’s coffee comes in at a neat £1.50. Our Monmouth espresso passed the test, with deep golden-red hues and appealing aromas of ripe black cherries, maple syrup and dark chocolate. In terms of flavour it was more mellow, bringing to mind everything from freshly baked bread to popcorn. The core product is good, but we wish that the milk in our latte wasn’t veering so dangerously close to scalding. We were also wary of the large amounts of ground coffee sitting in the Anfim grinder – grinding to order is better. 9 Kensington Square, W8 5EP (020 7938 2598). High St Kensington tube. 8.30-5pm Mon-Sat; 9.30am-4.30pm Sun. Espresso £1.50, latte £2.Coffee Plant
Inspiring variety of coffees, ground to order | Organic and fair-trade | Roasts its own beansWith 15 years of experience, Coffee Plant creates a range of own-roasted beans. On our visit, Peruvian beans were the pick of the day – incredibly complex, starting with roasted peanut notes swerving into apple, liquorice, butterscotch and cinnamon. There follows a slightly salty and herbaceous finish with plenty of umami. Our latte was equally enjoyable, with textured milk so thick and creamy it was almost a flat white. We did cringe at the coffee beans sitting in transparent, open tubs, however, losing aroma and flavour with every passing minute.180 Portobello Rd, W11 2EB (020 7221 8137/www.coffee.uk.com). Notting Hill Gate tube. 7.45am-5.30pm Mon-Sat; 9am-4.30pm Sun. Espresso £1, latte £1.60. Sacred
When the barista’s right, good coffee can be had | Handy shopping trip hit | Fair-trade, organicIt can be a bit hit or miss at this New Zealand outfit at Westfield. We’ve had plenty of creamy, sweet-tasting flat whites here, but depending on the barista, the results are variable. On this visit, we watched as our espresso was extracted for far more than 30 seconds (as a general rule, a normal coffee dose should have an extraction time of 22-30 seconds). As expected, the result was ashy and bitter with strong tannins – quite unpleasant. Diluted in a flat white it was less noticeable, but this was still a blunder. The Atrium, Westfield London, W12 7GQ (020 7700 1628). Shepherd’s Bush tube/rail. 9am-9pm Mon, Wed, Sat; 9am-10pm Thur, Fri; 11am-6pm Sun. Espresso £1.50, flat white £2.20.