On London’s drinking and dining scene, trends come and go quicker than you can say serving cocktails in teapots. Coffee however, is a constant – whether it’s served in shops that are serious about origins, paired with cakes and pastries that would satisfy any sweet tooth, or made colourful and Instagrammable, coffee is the lifeblood of many a Londoner. If you’re looking for somewhere new to get your fix, cast your eye over our favourite coffee shops and cafés in the capital and try them out by any beans necessary (sorry).
Best for Instagram
Because sometimes you just have to do it for the ‘gram
EL&N London Brompton Road, Hans Crescent, Lowndes Street, Market Place and Park Lane
Why: Decked out with floral installations and powder pink furnishings, EL&N London’s stable of locations are among the most Instagrammed spots in the capital. It’s not just the interiors that are eye-catching though – check out the Velvet Latte made with red espresso, or the Black Magic latte, which is made with activated charcoal and sprinkled with glitter. Sweet treats meanwhile, include a chocolate and raspberry brownie and a vegan, pumpkin and coconut cake.
Where: 239 Brompton Road, SW3 2EP; 42 Hans Crescent, SW1X 0LZ; 25G Lowndes Street, SW1X 9JF; 9 Market Place, W1W 8AQ; 48 Park Lane, W1K 1PR
Peggy Porschen, Belgravia and Chelsea
Why: One of the first ‘Instagram famous’ cafés, Peggy Porschen draws in the crowds with its soft pink interiors, floral installations and array of cutesy sweet treats and cakes. Head here for shots of espresso or a hot chocolate topped with miniature marshmallows. You can also satisfy your sweet tooth via the likes of a banoffee sponge, orange and almond cake or one of Peggy’s signature macarons, with flavours including raspberry and rose, or elderflower.
Where: 116 Ebury Street, Belgravia, SW1W 9QQ; 219 King's Road, Chelsea, SW3 5EJ
Saint Aymes, Soho
Why: One of the prettiest destinations in the capital (and sure to rack up the likes on Instagram), Saint Aymes has become famous thanks to its decadent drinks – just take its colourful unicorn lattes, which come with a marshmallow topping and a shot of espresso on the side, or the Marie Antoinette milkshake, which is made with pink white chocolate, and topped with pink sprinkles, Oreo crumb and 24ct gold.
Where: 59 Connaught Street, W2 2BB
Best for serious coffee fiends
Because coffee is the solution to all of the world’s problems
Caravan Bankside, City, Exmouth, Fitzrovia and King’s Cross
Why: The whizz-kids behind Caravan Coffee Roasters have come a long way since opening their first gaff on Exmouth Market. Now spread across the capital, each site follows the formula with urban-industrial interiors and a seasonally changing all-day menu bristling with ideas from around the world – including the jamon and smoked san simon croquettes with saffron aioli. Naturally, both filter and batch brew coffees are available.
Where: 30 Great Guildford Street, SE1 0HS; 22 Bloomberg Arcade, EC4N 8AR; 11-13 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QD; 152–156 Great Portland Street, W1W 6AJ; 1 Granary Square, King's Cross, N1C 4AA
Climpson & Sons, Hackney
Why: If you’re serious about your coffee, it doesn’t get much more serious than Climpson & Sons. Attracting coffee-holics from across the capital and beyond, Climpson & Sons sources, blends, roasts and grinds its own coffee, while also serving up a selection of homemade cakes and quiches, which are made using locally sourced ingredients.
Where: 67 Broadway Market, E8 4PH
Fernandez & Wells, Denmark Street, Exhibition Road and Somerset House
Why: This mini-chain of coffee shops has plenty of fans across the capital, including us. All of the single-origin beans for Fernandez & Wells' espresso-based coffees are supplied and roasted by Has Bean Coffee in Stafford, and it’s available to buy in-store. As well as drinks, you can enjoy delicious sarnies too – check out the grilled chorizo in a sourdough bun, or the butter croissant filled with ham, cheese and tomato.
Where: 8 Exhibition Road, SW7 2HF; Somerset House, The Strand, WC2R 1LA
Grind, Shoreditch and various other London locations
Why: One of London’s most recognisable coffee shop chains (Starbucks, Costa and the like aside of course), the Grind in the title here refers to the freshly roasted and brewed coffee which is served up daily. Try it in the form of a skinny latte, an espresso or various other options, while tucking into smashed avocado and poached eggs on toast or a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with fries.
Where: 213 Old Street, EC1V 9NR and more
Ozone Coffee Roasters, Shoreditch
Why: ‘Coffee for the people’ is Ozone’s slogan, and this artisan roasting coffee shop and café is bang on target. When visiting here, you can expect an industrial space including stripped-back brickwork, weathered tables and hand-painted signs, while you can pretty much order every coffee under the sun. You can also come by for the all-day brunch menu, which features a smoked squash, kale and sheep’s curd omelette, and gluten-free pancakes.
Where: 11 Leonard Street, EC2A 4AQ
Best for remote working
When you’re sick of using your living room as your office
Bulldog Edition at Ace Hotel, Shoreditch
Why: If you can’t find a spot in the lobby, instead go a few steps further and make your way to Bulldog, where you’ll find sofas and tables to set up camp on, as well as a café for drinks and snacks. Sip on coffee from Square Mile Coffee Rosters, while taking your pick from a selection of bagels, cookies and freshly-baked pastries. We’d recommend getting here early though, as this place is regularly rammed.
Where: Ace Hotel, 100 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JQ
Mare Street Market, Hackney
Why: If you live in East, Mare Street Market’s expansive mix of food, drink - and even a florist - is enough to keep your senses stimulated while working hard. If you need to perk up, you can order anything from an Americano to a Cortado, while snacks to graze on include a ‘nduja scotch egg with saffron aioli or Korean-fried chicken wings. There’s free WiFi to make the most of too, while the vast square footage should ensure you bag a spot.
Where: 117 Mare Street, E8 4RU
Riding House Café, Fitzrovia
Why: This cosy all-dayer is more of a restaurant, than a café, but it’s well-suited to working out of the office. Set up camp on one of the sofas or at the long communal table, and order from the menu of brasserie-style dishes, which includes kedgeree and a chorizo hash. Coffees, juices and cocktails (if it’s that kind of day) are all on hand too.
Where: 43-51 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7PQ
Timberyard, Covent Garden
Why: Designed to give freelancers a place to work, you and your laptop will be welcomed with open arms at Timberyard. There are meeting rooms downstairs if you need them, while sofas and counter tops are the place to set yourself up. While working away, we won’t judge you for being tempted by Timberyard’s coffee menu and vast array of goodies – sip on a turmeric latte while snacking on the likes of doughnuts, cakes and brownies.
Where: 7 Upper St Martin's Lane, WC2H 9DL