Need a pick me up? We’ve got the low down of London’s Best Independent Coffee Shops. If that’s not enough to wake you up, a coffee from one of the places listed most likely will.
A popular spot in the heart of Shoreditch, Allpress Espresso is very highly regarded for the quality of its coffee – both filter and espresso. A light and airy place, it’s enduringly popular with freelancers and those looking to escape the office. Even at closing time the place is usually still reasonably busy with people drinking in and queuing for takeaways.
58 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, London E2 7DP
Housed in the atmospheric Wren church building, this coffee shop is the perfect place to relax in a far from relaxing area of the city. Very little remains of the original Wren church of St Nicholas Cole Abbey, which was almost entirely floored by German bombers in 1941. But this is still a singularly striking place. Service is friendly and the coffee is as delicious as it is cheap.
114 Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4BJ
Look Mum No Hands!
Unsurprisingly, a popular hang out spot for London’s bicyclely-inclined, Look Mum No Hands! also has a bicycle repair shop attached. Whether you own a bike or not matters little, this is a hugely popular and friendly local hangout. The food’s good too with proper belly-filling, saddle-fuelling dishes like baked potatoes and soups.
49 Old Street, London, EC1V 9HX
A spot that could make it onto our list of best independent coffee shops for its devotion to artisan coffee alone. During the week, everyone exists in a bit of an espresso-fuelled blur. On Saturdays, Prufrock Coffee is perhaps the only place on Leather Lane with any customers. The reason for this is their top-notch brewed coffees, which are best enjoyed at a relaxed weekend pace.
23-25 Leather Lane, Greater London, EC1N 7TE
Monmouth Coffee Company
Monmouth is always extremely busy. That can only attest to the quality of its famous coffee. Without doubt one of the best coffee shops in London, the queue snakes down the southern corner of Borough Market every Saturday. The focus here is entirely on the coffee, not fancy furnishings or sandwiches on bits of slate. Here, the first of choice caffeine injection comes in brewed form and coffees can be selected from the company’s peerless range of single-estate beans.
27 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9EU
2 Park Street, The Borough, London, SE1 9AB
Algerian Coffee Stores
A Soho stalwart since way back in 1877, the Algerian Coffee Stores still feature some of the original interior furnishings. A wonderfully cheap coffee spot for its location, this scarlet-fronted place sells espresso for just £1 a shot. An extra 20p will score you a cappuccino or latte. While there are no seats, there’s heaps of atmospheric history.
52 Old Compton St, London, W1D 4PB
A beacon for travel weary commuters, Shoreditch faces out onto Old Street roundabout and the tube entrance. It’s cinema-style sign displays topical and tongue-in-cheek slogans like, for instance, ‘flick your coffee bean’. Don’t be fooled though, coffee is taken very seriously here – the steamy windows and crowds inside a sign of good quality.
213 Old St, London, EC1V 9NR
A vibrant café in the heart of Brixton Market, this is one of the top spots to get a good coffee south of the Thames. All the coffee is made using beans freshly roasted at the local Brixton roaster. We’re told from a reliable source that the cakes here are also otherworldly.
Unit 77-78, Brixton Village, Coldharbour Ln, London, SW9 8PS
On this site since 2011, Notes recently made the major step of doing it’s own roasting in King’s Cross. The decision seems to have been a well-guided one as their coffee is phenomenal. The café is very well designed, light and airy, there’s the choice of tucking yourself away in a corner or grabbing a big table with friends. If it isn’t too busy that is. Right in bang in the middle of London’s centre, just a stones-throw from Trafalgar Square. This is a good location to stop and grab a cultural breather.
31 St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4ER
TAP Coffee (Soho)
The third branch to open, after Rathbone Place and Tottenham Court Road, TAP has succeeded on taking a simple but effective formula. The coffee is simple and unpretentious, the space is relaxing and unintimidating, the waiting staff are actually nice as well as efficient. If you’re lucky enough to secure a table, you’ll have to force yourself to get up and leave by the time your coffee is done.
193 Wardour Street, London, W1F 8ZF