Top Ten Coffee Shops in London
Feeling the chills or still suffering that post-Christmas slump? Amazing what a caffeine hit, a good cuppa and a slice of cake or two can do.
London’s independent cafés, eateries and coffee shops are the perfect remedy to the winter blues. With so many rich pickings, we’ve rounded up our top ten coffee spots to bring you just the right winter pick-me-up – Doctor’s orders!
1. Frequency – King’s Cross
Best for Venezuelan Style & Sophistication
Imagine sipping citrus mouthfuls of dark expresso or hazelnut hot chocolate. Then, after a few seconds of sizzling sounds, a plate emerges. A melting fusion of crisped sweetcorn pancake, authentic Latin American cheese layered with salty smoked ham. Don’t worry – we haven’t gone all rambling food critic on you. We’re just channeling the sophisticated vibes of King’s Cross coffee shop, Frequency.
Complete with clever design details, geometric tiled tables, reclaimed wood and a jazz-infused soundtrack, this South American spot feels like an invite into the Venezuelan intelligentsia. But whether you’re inspired to pull out your favourite read, become a scribe yourself or just lounge back with friends, one thing’s for sure – both mind and stomach will be satisfied.
Frequency is open until 7pm; we highly recommend trying their signature Cachapas.
2. Half Cup – Euston
Best for “Something for Everyone”
We of all people know our city serves up a never-ending supply of tempting food & drink options. Let’s face it, London’s innovative quality is what makes it such a top place to live and work. Yet, sometimes multiple choices can lead to multiple arguments, especially when you put together a group of people with very different tastes.
Half Cup deserves some thanks for resolving our decision-making dilemmas. The large and varied menu at this King’s Cross spot offers everything from Nude Espressos for die-hard caffeine fans to turmeric & beetroot lattes for health nuts. The central location makes Half Cup a perfect meeting point for catching up with your whole group over weekend brunch. Pancakes with berry compote & fresh cream or maple syrup & crispy bacon are stomach pleasers everyone can agree on.
Address: 100-102 Judd Street, London, WC1H 9NT
Contact: 020 8617 7835
3. Syrup of Soot – Bloomsbury
Best for Vintage Charm
Think old school London and what do you get? Red telephone boxes, rain splashed buses, Buckingham Palace and perhaps a dash of Sherlock Holmes for good measure? Well, London’s history reaches a lot deeper than these trite tourist trappings.
We’re proud that our city’s always had a constant flow of thinkers, movers and shakers. Skipping back to the start of the last century, the most infamous group to paint the town red was the Bloomsbury Set. Yet, their world of disposable time – sitting, thinking and writing – seems a distant dream in our 24/7 lives. Sure, we love Insta, Twitter and FB, but finding a spot to switch off sometimes is necessary.
That’s where Syrup of Soot comes in. Located right by the British museum, this coffee spot satisfies any time-travelling fantasy. With the original wooden panels, William Morris-esque wallpaper and even oil portrait paintings with glass eyes, this is a place to get creative juices flowing. Its vintage charm also extends to the tea and cake: Syrup of Soot’s lemon drizzle cake is moist and fragrant, and the chai lattes are some of the best in town.
4. My Place – Soho
Best for Late Nights
You know that point in the day where the sun’s just set and tomorrow’s deadline still looms? The only possible solution can be coffee. Yet, there’s a surprising lack of caffeine injections on offer beyond 6pm. Striding around town, knocking on closing café doors can feel like a ‘no room at the inn’ scenario.
Thankfully, Soho’s My Place is definitely our place. Open until 11pm everyday, a casual coffee is as welcomed by the friendly team as an espresso martini for those of us that need a stronger kickstart. With fast wifi and calm lighting, this spot keeps us from hitting the late-night panic buttons.
Address: 21 Berwick Street, London W1F 0PZ
Contact: 020 3417 2829
5. Subtitles – Dalston
Best for Film Fans
Nothing banishes the Winter Blues better than snuggling up with a good film. At Subtitles, you’ll find a selection of well curated cult movies, spot-on vinyl rhythms and just about the best chai latte in all of London.
We’re almost loath to give away this secret, postage stamp-sized spot. Run by film and music enthusiasts Lukas and Jade, every offering at this tiny gem has been crafted with love. The aforementioned chai is a homemade recipe; local fruit and veg suppliers are used for the fresh juices and salads; the coffee is fair trade, and all profits from the small wifi surcharge go to charity.
The good vibes continue and everyday stresses disappear as you browse their handpicked records and original film posters. We recommend attending one of their weekly film screenings or live music performances.
Address: 42 Balls Pond Rd, Dalston, London N1 4AP
6. Detox Kitchen – Fitzrovia
Best for Health and Happiness
Workout? Cake? Workout? Cake? To be fair, for us it’s a no-brainer. Our extended stomach capacity means sweet treats always win over sweating it out, which is why Detox Kitchen’s Mortimer Street deli has our back. And our belly, brain and body in general.
As pioneers of the philosophy that healthy can be delicious too, their wholesome salads, juices and raw cakes have graced the pages of every fash-set magazine; they’ve also opened a counter in no other than the foodie shrine that is Selfridges. Now, these guys have upped the ante and gifted central London with a spacious new café.
Sitting beside a living botanical wall on earthy wooden benches, the homemade almond chai latte definitely gives us positive vibes. And our sweet tooth? Completely spoiled for choice, with our favourites being the pistachio and rose cake, goji and cacao bites, and the signature beetroot-chocolate brownie. Oh, and if you’re still up for that workout, then Detox Kitchen’s first fitness studio is just downstairs. What a perfect balance.
Address: Fitzroy Place, 10 Mortimer Street, London, W1T 3JJ
Contact: 0207 498 6417
7. Parcafe – Mayfair
Best for Park Lane Indulgence
It’s freezing outside, Christmas magic is further away than Sydney, and Monday workloads are just the wrong side of heavy. It’s definitely pick-me-up time. The Dorchester offers that slice of decadence that inevitably leaves us pining for more whenever we visit. Yet, since Park Lane’s five-star hotels don’t casually slip into our daily grind, such indulgences can seem worlds away. The Dorchester’s very own coffee spot, Parcafe, is just the escape we need.
Conveniently located halfway down Park Lane, this is the kind of café that makes you want to linger. Everything is available for take-out, but sitting on the smooth leather seats and breathing in the coffee-scented air is a boost to the soul. Mahogany wood is sculpted into curvilinear wall panels, salads are wrapped with silk ribbon, and gold leaf embellishes the mini strawberry mousses. Don’t worry, though – this is luxury without the pocket-burning price tag. We loved the turmeric latte, fine hot chocolate and one of the best cold brew coffees we’ve had.
Address: 53 Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA
Contact: 020 7317 4990
8. Clerkenwell Grind – Clerkenwell
Best for a 24/7 Lifestyle
Hello, Instagrammers. We’d like to introduce you to Clerkenwell Grind. These guys have done the hard work for you, with sleek marble and blush-hued velvet making it impossible to snap a bad photo. But it’s not all looks here. No, these guys have substance and beauty.
Clerkenwell Grind’s coffee is exceptional. The Grind group have steadily build a thriving fanbase, and it’s easy to see why. The espresso here is one of the best in London, with the perfect mix of fruit, caramel and citrus notes. This makes all the other coffee varieties top-notch, with staff on hand to guide you from flat white to filter.
Looking for something a little different? Beetroot and turmeric lattes taste as good as they’re picture perfect, and they make top energy boosters for early risers. When night descends? Well, that’s a different matter. The cocktails are crafted with the same attention to detail as the coffee. It goes without saying that their espresso martini is now legendary, but this creative lot have even more tricks up their sleeves. We loved the Appley Married; they even concocted an off-menu Matcha Martini for us. With new offerings being tested out each month, watch this space.
Address: 2-4 Old St, London EC1V 9AA
Contact: 020 3019 7177
9. Curator’s Coffee – Fitzrovia
Best for Artisan Tastes
You’re in the hectic mecca that is Oxford Circus. There’s 15 seconds before the lights change and the bag-bashing bonanza begins. What’s your escape route? This is where Curator’s Coffee comes to the rescue. Just seconds from the tube, this artisan coffee spot does things differently.
As the name suggests, everything from the paintings to the food is thoughtfully selected. If you’re serious about your caffeine, Curators’ Coffee has a whole menu of blends to choose from. With their own house beans as well as a changing guest coffee, this is the place to hone your palate courtesy of expert baristas. Founded by Antipodeans, the flat whites are naturally spot-on, but purists can enjoy the nuanced tastes of flavourful cold drips and espressos.
The seasonal signature drinks are concocted with the same wizardry. For pure comfort, we love the spiced hot chocolate with cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla and star anise. Another saviour is the virgin hot toddy with ginger, honey, turmeric, cayenne pepper and lemon, guaranteed to ward off any lurking colds. With no wifi and so many specialties to try, this is a spot to switch off, test your tastebuds and be inspired by the creativity of Curator’s Coffee.
Address: 51 Margaret Street, London W1W 8SG
Contact: 020 7580 2547
10. The Good Life Eatery – Chelsea
Best for Matcha
There’s no doubt that London’s exploding with spots offering all varieties of this traditional Japanese green tea. We may be over dry Jan, but the antioxidant, memory-boosting, energy-enhancing benefits of matcha seem almost too good to be true. But it is true – the Japanese have sworn by the stuff for centuries.
The Good Life Eatery was one of the pioneers that brought the matcha latte to London, and it’s still as good as ever. Strong and frothy, with a variety of nut milks to choose from, this one keeps us buzzing all year ’round. A favourite of the ‘Made in Chelsea’ cast, it’s worth trying one of their epic smoothies whilst you’re there. We loved the aptly named ‘Incredible Hulk.’ This green monster of a drink includes pineapple, coconut, banana, basil, spirulina, chia seeds and even bee pollen for extra strength.
Address: 59 Sloane Ave, Chelsea, London SW3 3DH
Contact:020 7838 9172
Find these and other great cafés, restaurants and bars in London by checking our Just Opened Map; it updates each week with the best openings.
Words by Charlotte Brohier