I honestly love coffee exploring as much as I love food exploring. There’s something so necessary about smelling those beans and sipping a hot drink when the sun is out, no matter where in the world I am. Plus I love how it doesn’t compromise the number of meals I can intake in the day.
So when I’m on holiday, in a city, I always make it a mission to try out as many good coffee shops as I can. I briefly attempted during my trip last year from London, Nottingham to Edinburgh. I also came up with a list of 5 Coffee Shops to Visit in Taipei earlier this year. Now here’s a proper one for London!
(Addresses are all in the Google map at the end of this post)
Let me say it upfront, Timberyard was my favourite coffee shop in London this time. Ok, the coffee is good but perhaps wasn’t necessarily the most outstanding one we had, but I just loved the feeling of being in this cafe. We went to their Covent Garden and Soho branch on separate occasions and they were both so warm and relaxing. Half the people there were alone, laid back and doing their own thing, and the other half were happily chatting away with their friends or partners. The staff were also super friendly in both places.
2. TAP Coffee
This place was jam packed when we arrived. It’s not that small but we struggled to get a seat for a long time. We actually ended up standing around with our coffees for a few mins before a by-the-bar seat was available. Their coffee was really good, but it was just a little too noisy, and not ventilated enough considering the traffic. I’d say it’s a good place for takeaways, but not so much a chill spot.
3. Monocle Cafe
I was so happy to accidentally stumble across Monocle Cafe as we walked to our breakfast at Chiltern Firehouse. The cafe made me feel like an expert hipster just by walking in. The coffee is so-so, but the vibe is cozy. They also do coffee + magazine combos for a super reasonable price.
Kaffeine is located behind Oxford Street so it was a convenient one for us to get to. It’s a decent coffee shop to stop by. The coffee was pretty good and they seemed to have accumulated a flow of loyal customers.
5. Monmouth Coffee
Last year when I was on holiday with my family, we came here and agreed that this was the best coffee we had in UK. Perhaps it was because I sampled multiples more coffee shops in London this time round that Monmouth became a secondary choice. But the baristas at their Borough Market branch also seemed a little rushed when making our coffees, so that probably played a role too. The coffee was still good and enjoyable. The highlight of this place, however, is the coffee beans. They sell super freshly roasted coffee beans at a very reasonable price (25 pounds per kg). I think they were a little shocked when I asked for 4 kgs of beans.
6. Soho Grind
I was sooo lucky because I started following Soho Grind last year on Instagram and one night I saw it was their second anniversary and they were doing FREE coffees all morning! Their Shoreditch branch also recently had their fifth anniversary (go follow them – it’s worth it). Their coffees are delicious, and judging by how I’m still loyally following them on Instagram despite being too many miles away, tells you something about how cool this shop is.
7. Workshop Coffee
I remember I didn’t love Workshop Coffee when I came last year. But this time I checked out another branch of theirs, which was also conveniently located near Oxford Street. The coffee was alright, but it was just a little too milky. Plus, the seats were uncomfortable. It’s a place for a short break.
8. Rapha Cycle Club
Rapha Cycle Club is a sportswear shop and so automatically it looked like an interesting coffee spot to check out. We walked past their branch in Soho, but ultimately spent an afternoon in their Spitalfields Market branch and the ambience was super chill. The coffee was pretty good too.
Milkbar is a small and cozy coffee shop located bang in the middle of Soho. It was a very balanced flat white which was made to near perfection.
How did I stomach all that?
If you managed to check out my list of 8 of London’s Must Visit Restaurants for First Timers, and now see that I managed to have over 9 coffee breaks (I didn’t even mention Joe & The Juice in Soho since they have that in Hong Kong and many other countries), you could be wondering how I stomached all that. I have to be honest, I was starting to feel put off by food in general by the 5th or 6th day of my trip… and I did put on 3 lbs. Well, I don’t get to visit London every month, so it was a foodie trip well worth the calories!