We all know that when in London, a “cuppa,” or cup of tea, is the beverage of choice to go with.
However, for those who are simply not morning people no matter what time of day it is, no amount of “pinkies out” can solve the critical need for a good old cup of Joe.
Of course, London is a huge city, and you won’t have any problems finding coffee—but not all of it is good. And there’s only so much bad coffee a tired traveler can tolerate.
Here, we’ve rounded up the five best coffee shops in London for those who really do appreciate a freshly brewed cup of the ultimate energy juice!
1. Jacob the Angel
Everything about Jacob the Angel is adorable, starting with its name and finishing with its tucked-away location in the corner of Neal’s Yard. It’s a tiny coffee shop where they serve freshly baked pastries, cakes, sandwiches, wholesome salads, and, of course, coffee.
Their coffee is intensely flavored and balanced. The whole ambience is super cozy, with a max capacity of about 15 people. It’s an ideal spot to have a delicious and balanced breakfast or brunch depending on what time of the day you end up in this wonderful district of London. Don’t miss the toast with mashed avocado and poached egg! And save room for an almond croissant or a coconut cream pie for dessert, which is a true delight.
2. Coleman Coffee Roasters
In this minimalist space of wood and glossy whites close to Waterloo in Lower Marsh, there’s no messing around: these guys are working on the most exquisite cup of coffee you’ve ever had. No pressure!
In this little industrial, hipster cafe, they serve small lunch items and cakes along with specialty coffees. Treat yourself to their smoked bacon and stewed oatmeal cakes with tomato and finish off with a pain au chocolate.
Try both their “old-fashioned” espresso and the standard espresso to see if you can tell the difference between the two (you definitely can, it’s remarkable). Their coffee has a great flavor: it is nutty, smooth and with a truly rounded depth.
Be aware that they do not offer vegan milk alternatives for the coffees just yet.
3. Prufrock Coffee
Prufrock Coffee began as a startup of three coffee enthusiasts in 2009, but has since grown into a full-on successful training program for coffee professionals where they share the knowledge, experience and passion for what they do. Nowadays, the team works on delivering the highest quality every day, with delicious seasonal fresh foods, friendly staff, and undoubtedly, incredible coffee.
Located in central London, this funky spot instantly brings a smile to your face: it’s cozy, friendly, and super cute! The first sip of their coffee will tell you more than we could ever with words: it is of perfect strength, with a lovely crema, and never burnt.
Come here for a quick pick-me-up or a full brunch to try their sautéed mushroom toast or almond croissants—at Prufrock Coffee, disappointment doesn’t exist.
4. Federation Coffee
Federation Coffee hasn’t changed much throughout the years—it just stays ridiculously good! Good service, great coffee and some gateau (or cake, for the non-French speakers) make up the “three G’s” of a successful and unsurpassable coffee shop! Add to it the Brixton Village Market corner ambience and views, and you have a winner.
Their house espresso is a unique bespoke blend by Curve Roasters. It varies seasonally and is catered to each customer’s tastes. On the menu, you will find a range of croissants, pastries, grilled cheese sandwiches and sweets. Their flat whites with self-roasted beans are superb, and their banana bread is unrivaled. What else is there left to be said? Run, don’t walk!
5. Climpson & Sons Cafe
Founded in a former butcher’s shop in the midst of the Broadway Market, Climpson & Sons Cafe has been around since 2002, and has indeed proven its quality and brand over the years. For many coffee lovers, Climpson and Sons has become a so-called chapel: they all return here again and again to try their delicious flat white—creamy, smooth and wonderfully sweet—or a well-balanced espresso.
The cafe has a very relaxed and friendly vibe, subtly suggesting that you relax and enjoy every sip of that cup of coffee in the dimly lit space. Also offering quick lunches and breakfasts, with all ingredients sourced from local neighboring business, there’s no real miss when it comes to this coffee shop. Ranging from a warm walnut, beetroot, feta and pumpkin salad, to smoked salmon with wasabi mayonnaise on toast, the menu offers something for everyone’s liking. Come and try for yourself, and then tell us how you find their single-origin daily filters!
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Maria is a Master of Food Science, an avid traveler and a passionate foodie. Some of her favorite things include cats, Sauvignon Blanc and skiing. Living in London made her a real connoisseur of Earl Grey tea, scones with clotted cream & preserves, and Paddington Bear routes. Her most beloved part of London is Covent Garden, especially Neal’s Yard.