Us city workers are absolutely coffee obsessed, and with 30,000 people commuting to the square mile every single day, it’s possibly also the area of London most densely populated with coffee shops too. Yet despite the insane levels of coffee consumption, I’m shocked at the number of people who seem to go for Pret, Eat or worse.. Starbucks 😦 At least those with Pret coffees can argue its convenience (I do like their food and can see the impracticality of queuing twice) but I think I’d sooner drink coffee from our machine at work than Starbucks – it tastes so bad I simply cannot even begin to comprehend its apparent popularity. I suppose we can only hope that one day our coffee culture will even begin to start catching up with the likes of Australia..
If you want an absolutely stunning cup of coffee, go to Rosslyn. They’re relatively new, and not right in the city like the others on this list, but they’re just a ten minute walk away (towards St Paul’s) and trust me it’s worth the effort. They’re serious about their coffee – each cup is made to perfection and they’re incredibly passionate. This is the type you truly want to sit and enjoy, so take some time out, grab a pastry and sit by the counter watching everyone else rush past.. They also serve their drink-in coffees with the most beautiful wooden spoons!
If you want an all round great coffee shop, Black Sheep is a great option. For a simple long black they’re one of my favourites, but their flat whites and cappuccinos are great too. They always have a selection of baked goods – the one opposite my office has monster almond croissants as well as baklava and some seriously chunky cookies. Seating is limited though, but luckily they have another branch very close by (on the ground floor of the Leadenhall Building) which has an upstairs area so big that you could probably work there for a good few hours without feeling bad!
I absolutely love Curators coffee, and although my favourite branch is their gallery just off Oxford Street, there’s a lovely spot with outdoor seating right in the City, next to Leadenhall market. They do incredible coffee and a great matcha latte too!
Any coffee-lover in London will undoubtedly mention Taylor Street Baristas, and I’m lucky enough to have one just opposite my work. Tucked down a beautiful side street (opposite one of my favourite places for falafel in London- Chickpea!) they also sell some incredible Aussie-inspired baked items and some locations even have Tim Tams! Personally I find their house blend a little too fruity for an Americano, but they do a great filter (plus if you opt for filter you don’t have to queue!) and their more milk-based coffees are always a winner.
Similarly Notes is another great option – they have quite a few over London and they deservedly feature heavily in the London coffee guide. Again, their Americano is more on the acidic side (thought slightly less so than TSB) but they do an incredible flat white. There’s slightly more seating the others thanks to an upstairs area, plus there are St John doughnuts on the counter, and a Kontidor and Cook a few stores down!
A couple of other perhaps slightly less well-known places that I love are Coffee Works project (and if you’re there you must try their wonderful salted caramel brownie!), Association Coffee and The New Black. The New Black epitomise busy city life, with an app that allows you to place a bespoke order before you even arrive (or order on an iPad instore), with a huge range of blends and strengths, beautifully colourful coffee cups and some colourful croissants to match! Hopefully this list is extensive enough that no matter what your preferences are, you shouldn’t have to end up with a terrible cup of overpriced coffee (okay it probably will still be overpriced, but at least it will taste good!).