Pour-over, drip, press, siphon... There's no such thing as plain old filter anymore. Coffee aficionados swear that in the hands of a deft barista, this is still the truest and subtlest expression of the bean.
Filter coffee has made a pretty epic comeback. In Sweden, of course, it never went out of style in the first place, so this clean-lined café in Great Titchfield Street was serving quality brews to Nordic expats long before hipsters started experimenting with dripping techniques. The house pour here is a lovely dark roast from Zoega. 61 Great Titchfield St. Oxford Circus.
Department of Coffee & Social Affairs
As befits a chain with such a portentous name, the DCSA takes its role of ‘serving coffee and the people’ very seriously. Single-estate beans from named farmers are roasted twice a week for freshness and there’s a Coffee School for those wanting to master the art of home-brewing. 19 Slingsby Place. Covent Garden. Branches across central London.
With a ‘brew bar’ dedicated to hand-brewing, Prufrock puts on a new ‘programme’ of featured filters (selected by a World Barista Champion) each week. There’s also a busy schedule of classes and special events. Look out for beans from Danish micro-roasters La Cabra. 23-25 Leather Lane. Chancery Lane.
You wouldn’t guess it from the long lines of hip young things queuing up to worship at this shrine to the bean, but Monmouth Coffee is the granddaddy of the London coffee scene. Avoid the morning rush and the baristas will take time to talk you though the outstanding range on offer. This is the place to try unusual roasts from around the world. 2 Park St. Borough.Other branches in Covent Garden and Bermondsey.
Making good use of an on-site roastery, the beans here are given the vintage drum-roast treatment on a daily basis – head downstairs to watch the team at work (and for a better chance of a seat when it’s busy). There are always two fresh slow-brew specials on offer in the café. The AeroPress produces particularly good coffees for filter fans, but you have to try the cold drip at least once: it’s quite a spectacle. 11 Leonard St. OldSt.