Where to get the best coffee in London
Milly Kenny-Ryder, a food writer and born and bred Londoner, has written a beautiful book – London by Weekend Journals (£15) – which showcases over 40 of the capital’s best food, drink, art, hotel and shopping highlights.
Inside are also some top recommendations for coffee shops and cafés across the city so, if you’re in need of a caffeine fix, here are some of the best places in London for you to hot-foot it to.
115 St John’s Hill, Battersea, SW11 1SZ
Story is the place to go in Battersea, conveniently close to the chaotic Clapham Junction station, but far enough away to feel calm and laid-back.
The café has found a home in a charming corner spot of St John’s Hill with a little community, and appealing shops and restaurants surrounding it.
The husband and wife team proudly serve Square Mile Coffee, while a short menu of brunch favourites is available all day.
18-20 Bedford Hill, Balham, SW12 9RG
Balham has been a better place to eat since Milk opened in the neighbourhood. The café, with its Australian vibe, was created by Julian Porter and Lauren Johns and their smiling team proudly serve speciality coffee and irresistible brunch dishes.
The light and airy café is relaxed but chic, with rustic wooden tables and retro branding. The café is always busy, often with a queue out the door, but the moreish food and expertly made coffee is worth the wait.
Everything on the menu is delicious, from baked eggs to soft-serve ice cream. Don’t miss the special weekend buckwheat pancakes, which always arrive with a variety of beautiful toppings. In the evenings, the café hosts collaborative dinners with guest chefs from some of the capital’s best kitchens.
174 Bellenden Road, Peckham, SE15 4BW
Bellenden Road is at the heart of the creative activity in Peckham, with a row of innovative eateries, quirky shops and welcoming cafés.
General Store stands out, thanks to its charming façade with bunches of seasonal flowers or baskets of apples perched outside. As well as a larder, featuring some of the best British food brands, General Store also offers great coffee and has a selection of tempting pastries and bread.
The Habit Café at South London Gallery
65-67 Peckham Road, Peckham, SE5 8UH
Camberwell is one of the most exciting districts in London, with lots of events and creative venues opening every month.
The South London Gallery was established on its current site in 1891 by philanthropist William Rossiter to ‘bring art to the people of South London’. Inside, The Habit Café is a great place to refuel with hearty brunch dishes, locally-roasted coffee, wine and craft beer.
Coleman Coffee Roasters
20 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, SE1 7RJ
Waterloo commuters rejoiced when Coleman Coffee Roasters opened on Lower Marsh in early 2016. This speciality coffee shop was the first of its kind in the area and is always full of caffeine-craving fans.
Jack Coleman originally established his coffee brand in 2010, serving up from a stall in the food mecca Spa Terminus in Bermondsey. Coleman Coffee Roasters, his first permanent space, is housed in an old delicatessen and its previous life is evident in the layout of the small venue with large shop-front windows and a unique terrazzo marble floor.
Although what is on offer at this pretty café is limited, every item has been selected personally by Jack for its delicious taste and aesthetic appeal. The South American beans have been roasted in-house and have a velvety rich flavour, while accompanying snacks are irresistibly stacked on the bar including pastries from Little Bread Pedlar and particularly good Iranian nougat.
2 Park Street, The Borough, Southwark, SE1 9AB
Monmouth was the pioneering force in speciality coffee in London. The artisan company started roasting and retailing in 1978 in the basement of their tiny Covent Garden store, before opening a second, more expansive space in Borough Market.
The team travels extensively to source the best beans from single estate farms. Through their growing business, Monmouth leads the way in promoting sustainable farming and egalitarian trading. This thoughtful process ensures they serve only the finest quality coffee, and has given the brand a cult status.
The Borough branch is grand and welcoming, with a pick’n’mix-style counter of fragrant beans to buy, and a barista station for freshly made coffee to drink. The café is always busy with locals and tourists alike, enjoying some of the best coffee and pastries in London.
Ozone Coffee Roasters
11 Leonard Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 4AQ
Old Street station is a hub of activity with lots of exciting young pop-ups. The area changed hugely when many businesses moved their offices to ‘Silicon Roundabout’ and restaurants followed in quick succession.
Ozone Coffee Roasters was founded in New Zealand in 1998 and opened in London in 2012. The industrial-style roastery and café soon became a favourite with locals working in the area. Ozone’s speciality coffee is roasted onsite and is served in cafés all over Europe. The baristas are some of the best in the city at brewing and pouring, and both the espresso based drinks and pour-over options are worth trying.
Alongside the unbeatable coffee, Ozone serves a tasty brunch menu throughout the day.
19 Prebend Street, Islington, N1 8PF
London has upped its pastry game in recent years, a trend that is led by North London bakery Pophams. Located down an unlikely street in Islington, many make the pilgrimage to Pophams every weekend to pick up the finest flaky croissants in town.
The bakery was founded by Ollie Gold in 2017; with the help of head chef Florin Grama, he aims to share his love of the finest sourdough breads and interesting pastries. Many of the flavours and inspirations come from Ollie’s travels and previous experience working in the hospitality industry. The team starts baking at 2am and the specials often sell out within a few hours of opening.
Alongside the inimitable artisan treats, Pophams serves Ozone coffee and a variety of high quality teas and hot chocolate.
Some more ideas:
- Estate Office Coffee 1 Drewstead Road, Streatham, SW16 1LY estateofficecoffee.co.uk
Charming café serving Allpress coffee alongside locally-made pastries, bread and sweet treats.
- Old Spike Roastery 54 Peckham Rye, Peckham, SE15 4JR oldspikeroastery.com
Social enterprise that offers training and jobs to the homeless, while roasting and serving premium artisan coffee.
- Workshop Coffee 1 Barrett Street, Marylebone, W1U 1AX workshopcoffee.com
Just off Oxford Street, this charming café serves great coffee and homely food in a simple, flakeboard-furnished space.
- Climpson & Sons 67 Broadway Market, Hackney, E8 4PH climpsonandsons.com
Cult café that sources, roasts and crafts some of the finest coffees in East London.
London by Weekend Journals is written by Milly Kenny-Ryder and designed by Simon Lovell. Photography is by Gabriel Kenny-Ryder.
You can find two more books Provence by Weekend Journals (2017) and Cornwall by Weekend Journals (2nd Edition, 2018) on the Weekend Journals shop, here. Use discount code INTHEKNOW10 to get 10% off your purchase.