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London's Best Coffee Shops

by andrew November 2010 - last edited October by Virgin-Atlantic

You may remember some time ago we ran a competition for a press trip to New York. We were so impressed with all of our shortlisted bloggers, we decided we offer all our runners up the chance to write a guest post for us.

First up is Rick Nunn, a young graphic designer and passionate photographer. Last year he undertook a '365' project, shooting a different image every day of the year for his Flickr stream, so we knew a photoblog from him would be something special. Here he trains his camera on his other great passion, coffee, with the backdrop of London town...

"A few times a year I try and get down to London to enjoy some of the new and existing independent specialist coffee shops. There is an amazing culture surrounding these fantastic places and a healthy level of competition that means you’re rarely disappointed."


1. Fernandez and Wells Espresso Bar— St Anne’s Court, Soho


'Stumpy' at Fernandez and Wells Espresso Bar

'Stumpy' at Fernandez and Wells Espresso Bar © Rick Nunn


A chic little coffee shop in Soho, tucked away on St Anne’s Court; if you weren't looking for it you would miss it. F&W’s renowned speciality is the ‘stumpy’ — a triple ristretto and textured milk in a six ounce glass. The establishment’s sister Food & Wine Bar and Café are nearby.

Near: Wardour Street, Berwick Street (market and record shops)

Clientele: tourists, hipsters, young professionals


2. Tapped & Packed — 26 Rathbone Place, Fitzrovia


Tapped & Packed

Tapped & Packed © Rick Nunn


A new addition to the area, Tapped & Packed has a fantastic atmosphere with regularly changing exhibits of modern painting and photography on its walls. An impressive espresso menu is complimented by variety of ‘single origin’ coffees.

Near: Tottenham Court Road Station, The Roxy bar & nightclub

Clientele: hipsters, young professionals


3. Kaffeine — 66 Great Titchfield Street



Kaffeine © Rick Nunn


An easygoing Australian/New Zealand-owned shop set back a little off Oxford Street, Kaffeine is a long time firm favourite of mine. The staff are genuinely friendly and helpful and will happily tell you about their Synesso espresso machine, the ‘holy grail’ of coffee making equipment.

Near: Oxford Street, Oxford Circus, Scandinavian Kitchen Clientele: young professionals, tourists, writers, freelancers

4. Milk Bar — 3-5 Bateman St, Soho


Milk Bar

Milk Bar © Rick Nunn


Milk Bar is the sister shop to the well-known Flat White and they are the only two shops to have their own custom espresso blend from London-based speciality coffee roasters Square Mile. The latte art is some of the best I’ve seen and Milk Bar is also one of the best places in Soho to get a good seat.

Near: Tottenham Court Road Station, Ronnie Scott’s Typical Clients: Hipsters


5.  LJ Coffee House — Winnett St, Soho


LJ Coffee House

LJ Coffee House © Rick Nunn


Situated in the heart of Soho, among theatres, lively pubs and sex shops, LJ Coffee House is something of an oasis. A small but well-used space, it even has some comfy sofas as well as tables and stools and coffee making is treated as an art here.

Near: Piccadilly Circus, Queens Theatre

Clientele: coffee aficionados, tourists, the Soho gay and theatre crowd


6. Caravan Restaurant, Bar and Roastery — 11-13, Exmouth Market



Caravan © Rick Nunn


Caravan is primarily a restaurant, specialising in breakfast and brunch, but they have a very strong coffee offering. In recent months they’ve started roasting their own coffee on site, in the basement, so you know you’re getting something unique.

Near: Exmouth Market, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Farringdon Station

Clientele: artists, writers, tourists, young couples


7. Dose Espresso — 69 Long Lane


Dose Espresso

Dose Espresso © Rick Nunn


2 minutes walk from the Barbican station, Dose packs in a lot of character for a tiny place. They serve a great, super fresh, organic breakfast menu,  everything is ethically sourced and the coffee is once again from London roasters Square Mile.

Near: The Barbican Centre

Clientele: young professionals, locals, theatre, arts and concert goers


8. Prufrock — 40 Shoreditch High Street



Prufrock © Rick Nunn


Currently residing at fashionable clothing and accessory store Present, Prufrock is a connoisseur concession by 2009 World Barista Champion, Gwilym Davies. This man knows coffee.

Near: Brick Lane. Old St.

Clientele: coffee aficionados


Rick stayed as a guest of the Baglioni hotel opposite Hyde Park - a perfect choice for coffee lovers with espresso machines in every room. To book visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the Mr & Mrs Smith Travel Team on 0845 034 0700.
Baglioni Hotel © Rick Nunn

Baglioni Hotel © Rick Nunn


All photos © Rick Nunn. Header image: espresso machine at Fernandez and Wells.

What do you think about Rick's selection? Do you have any coffee shop recommendations of your own? Let us know in the comments section below.

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AmySmith November 2010
What a lovely post, I love the pictures. I'm a big coffee drinker so I'll bookmark this for the next time I take a trip to London x
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November 2010
Thanks Amy. The photos are really great, you're right.
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Michael November 2010
Brill post. But what about: Taylor Street Barristers (Liverpool Street), Lantana (Goodge Street), the Espresso Room (Great Ormond Street) and Nude Espresso (Brick Lane). Haven’t mentioned Flat White in Soho because it’s owned by the same guys as Milk Bar.
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AmazingCoffee November 2010
which is worth a look if you are into travelling. Today they posted a great article called “London’s Best Coffee Shops“. It’s a great synopsis of some must visits for your next trip to the
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November 2010
Totally agree on Taylor Street - there's one in Brighton where I live and the coffee in there is the best in town. Thanks for the other recommendations :)
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November 2010
Thanks Michael. I love Taylor Street, the Espresso Room & Nude, but there are only so many coffee shops I can get to in 48 hours! :)
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November 2010
Amazing! I had the fortunate experience of accompanying Rick to one or two of these and we had a thoroughly excellent time :)
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LondonRob November 2010
Great photos - made me want to go and grab my 5th coffee of the day (whoops!). Thought you may be interested in my blog which (amongst other London stuff) has a lot about coffee in London:


I have also created a Google map to enable "coffee survival" in central London. The good news is - more and more pegs keep getting added, the most recent are Notes in St Martins Lane and Store St in (surprise surprise) Store St in Bloomsbury:


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MariaMendoza November 2010
Great post - cool photos. Thx.
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kate November 2010
This list was the best find for me as I am heading to London shortly and cannot live without fantastic coffee on a daily basis !!
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SixPlacestoE December 2010
below. And if your preference is for something rich and roasted, check out our recent post on London’s Best Coffee Shops. Share this post: About the Author: Maxine SheppardMaxine is the editor and community manager of
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Liz December 2010
GREAT amazing delicious coffee at new place in Crouch End, Coffee Circus, on Crouch Hill N8. Really amazing. Like crack in a cup.
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December 2010
Thanks Liz. Sounds like I need to make a trip to Crouch End pretty soon then :)
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December 2010
This is such a great map Rob - thanks for the link :)
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December 2010
Thanks Kate - let us know what you think of them!
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Gilka December 2010
Amazing pictures! There is a store in Old Street which makes one of the best coffee I had in London. It is called 'Present' and it mainly sells clothes but definitely worth checking the coffee there!


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Liz January 2011
great blogpost - but you've missed out Monmouth Coffee in Covent Garden!! :)
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vtravelledPlay2 February 2011
L.A. playlist. If you’re into caffeine as much as cocktails, also check out our guide to London’s Best Coffee Shops. Share this post: About the Author: Andrew BowmanAndrew is a member of the editorial team at
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February 2011
Looks great - thanks Gilka.
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February 2011
Think Rick probably needed about a whole week to get round everywhere! But agree - Monmouth is great :)
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March 2011
I think I'd need more than that!

Monmouth is lovely, and one of my current faves is Notes Music & Coffee in Covent Garden. They do amazing carrot cake & savoury muffins.

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Ben March 2011
The coffee is indeed good here. Not up to Flat White or F&W standards, but very decent.

However, the service is the worst I've had in London. So bad, in fact, I will never go back. Rude and offensive, actually. Really rather disappointing, considering the quality of the coffee and the decor of the cafe itself.

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SkinnerUnion March 2011
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SkinnerUnion March 2011
Check out a link a friend sent me. Very interesting - does anyone know what this ST. Ali thing is?


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NoorMahmud August 2011
I want to share a couple of the best coffee places in London, since you seem to possess a genuine interest in the java drink. I would highly recommend Cafe Oporto on 62 Golborne Road and the Coffee Plant on 180 Portobello Road. Cafe Oporto is a Portuguese cafe, so not only do you savour the rich and frothy taste of the coffee, but you can also treat yourself to a typical Portuguese sweet! A bica or a galao are the regular requests in this classic Portuguese cafe.

The Coffee Plant is a great, less traditional and more of an informal cool vibe on Portobello Road. However, this place is serious about java from the diverse coffee selection that one can purchase at the back! They are categorised by light, medium and dark roast… Moreover, they have coco, which if you put a touch of into your coffee, it is literally a match made in heaven… a taste of summer!

Both cafes are phenomenal venues that serve an incredible cup of coffee, where one can enjoy amongst the locals in a friendly, informal vibe

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About the author: andrew

Andrew Bowman

Andrew is an occasional contributor to the Virgin Atlantic blog. He lived in the Japanese countryside for two years until he could no longer resist the pull of London's galleries, pubs and clubs. He likes to pretend he can speak Japanese and also sometimes writes about music.