Travel | The pursuit of coffee in London

Let me be very clear. We have great coffee in Adelaide. It is strong. It is real. It is Italian. It was a very large wave of Mediterranean immigrants that changed our coffee and food scene forever. Now we do coffee daily, sitting in cafes, on streets, chatting, reading, having breakfast. Or lunch. We drink it walking to our next destination, driving in our cars, talking on the telephone.

Coffee is important.

Coffee Travel

In 2008, it is so hard to find a good coffee in London. People tell you, “yeah, there is this place in Soho, run by New Zealanders. They are almost Australian, right? They make good coffee.” So you track it down, and it is tiny and you have to wait half an hour and then the coffee is weak and pale and over milky. It is Ok, and by London standards, probably spectacular. But, well, not worth travelling the length of London for.

Coffee Travel

There are many cute little cafes, pink chairs, flowers on the tables and all, but coffee without substance. French shops where you might expect the coffee to be outstanding. But isn’t. Intriguing little providors who care about their food. But not their coffee.

man over coffee shop travel

Even coffee roasters.

coffee roasting london travel

And coffee shops that believe they are the best. But, er, well, still not to my tastes.

Best? Coffee London Travel

I found 2 places that satisfied my taste. My daughter tells me there is a third.

Coffee man London Travel

The first is in Islington, a great little restaurant/cafe that sells breads and wonderful cakes in their front section. Ottolenghi. Mediterranean style food. I would go for their coffee alone, and one day complimented them on it. I was told the barrista was Australian.

The second place was Monmouth. There is one in the Covent Gardens, a cute, tiny establishment where you can choose not only the style of the coffee but the type of coffee. Now that I like. Brazillian anyone? Their Brazillian coffees are the best.

Cafe Corner London Coffee Travel

VERY tiny.

Monmouth London Travel

There is also a Monmouth near Borough Markets, with more seating and food, and similarly excellent coffee. A blackboard shows the date of each roast AND THE ROASTER. That is commitment to coffee.

Man and Coffee London Travel

These guys love their coffee so much they travel the world meeting with their growers, and in their shops you can read stories about each grower. Fabulous.

Monmouth London Travel Coffee

My daughter has discovered a third. A French cafe in Highbury. More details as they come to hand. It is Le Peche Mignon. She says it has the best coffee in London with the best almond croissants on the weekend. It is a tiny tiny place -so please, leave her a seat and a newspaper to read.

In a country of tea drinkers, it is not surprising to that good coffee is so rare. But it was hard work to travel to the other side of London for a shot of coffee.

Coffee Love London Travel



Author: Ganga108

Heat in the Kitchen, Cooking with Spirit. Temple junkie, temple builder, temple cleaner. Lover of life, people, cultures, travel. Champion of growth, change and awareness. Taker of photos. Passionate about family. Happy.

22 thoughts on “Travel | The pursuit of coffee in London”

  1. i make lousy coffee. i am a tea person, but would love to learn how to make good coffee. any method or ideas?
    oh bee, it is a bit like making tea if you don’t drink it. Very difficult to get right. I’d take up drinking coffee, get a friend to make it or just go out for coffee.

    Seriously if you do want to make it at home, buy good quality beans. It makes all the difference. Don’t buy them from the supermarket – find a roaster if you can. Make sure they are fresh. Don’t store them near heat.


  2. You bet coffee is important. As an avid coffee lover, I’d probably die if I ever ran out of it! I especially love going out for breakfast to lovely cafes that serve delicious coffee-based beverages. Makes your day start all the more nicer! 🙂

    A coffee in the morning is the best. Sitting in the sunshine outside a cafe – wonderful. These days many cafes have wonderful heaters in their outdoor areas that keep you toasty warm.


  3. beautiful pictures vegeyum!…coffee is the most important thing for us too…

    the couple in the last picture look perfect!..thanks for sharing!

    Is that look of love on his face divine? A gorgeous couple.


  4. Was a tea drinker until I moved to the US and then became addicted to coffee. And still am.

    We need to find Australians in Chennai and set up coffee shops! 🙂

    There’s only so much filter coffee one can have… too much sugar and too much milk.

    Can I come to Chennai and set up a coffee shop? Always wanted to live in India.


  5. Going to London next weekend, and was planning to go to Ottolenghi for lunch – great to know that they make excellent coffee too!

    Fabulous! I wonder whether they have the same barrista. Let me know if the coffee is still great there. Try to get to Monmouth too, if you can. Their place is another experience altogether.


  6. Good coffee is essential for life! I hate the kind of stuff you get around here but every once and a while I stumble across a great cup and be in heaven!

    Hi Ginny, yes in Australia we think that the US has really bad coffee and chocolate. So I can understand. It must be heaven to find a great place.

    In my street where I live I have 4 great cafes! How lucky am I?


  7. I am not a coffee drinker or lover but I do appreciate and get the yearning at times for a simple cup of coffee, freshly roasted and ground beans, brewed, sweetened with some Demerara sugar and I am good to go 🙂

    No argument from me, it sounds very delicious


  8. so glad I couod see this. I’m off to London soon and will pop in here again for these addesses. I’m willing to go far and beyond for a real good cup! thanks for this great post!

    Hi ronell, enjoy your trip. Make sure that you go to Monmouth. My daughter tells me that Ottolenghi’s is not as good any more – maybe the Australian barrista left – but still good by London standards. Also the food is still good there. I will get the address of the little French place for you.


  9. ok, after much hesitation (the coffee is sooo good and the cafe sooo small – would i still get my little spot with all of you there?), here is possibly the best coffee in london


    oh and the almond croissants on the weekends are pretty special too.

    We will keep the details to ourselves…. promise.


  10. I too am from adelaide and bemoan the lack of decent coffee in this city (London). Machines with buttons on them can never ever make good coffee !

    And the great news is that i live in N1 so i am going to check out the highbury place.

    And i love ottenleigh but have never had coffee there so i will check it out.

    PS when your in adelaide go to cafe zuma in adelaide markets and get frank to make you coffee. All his staff there are highly trained baristas. My brother worked there and did a weeks training off site just on coffee making !

    Zuma is good -but there are even better places now – we go from strength to strength. Good luck with the French place in Highbury. My daughter tells me that they have put a lovely bit out back, so when the weather is fine, it is a lovely place to sit.


  11. oh, for the sake of completeness regarding coffee in London, you might also mention The Tapa Room on Marylebone High Street. Order a flat white and prepare to be impressed. The food is wonderful too.

    And I haven’t been here, but I’m keen to give it a go next time I drag myself into town – Taylor St Baristas

    It sounds wonderful. Along with your French cafe it will have to be my coffee shop de jour on my next visit.


  12. Before I got up to the bit about Ottolenghi I was going to suggest there, I worked there for a few months and before moving to London, I vowed to give up coffee because its not like having coffee at home and I gave up once I had coffee at Ottolenghi


    1. I hear that the coffee at Ottolenghis is not as good any more – the barrista must have changed! Never fear, there are several new places opening up that do awesome coffees, including the French one mentioned in the post.


  13. I’ve been to many of these places and miss them. I have curbed my coffee drinking since then, but would still love a Monmouth around the corner! Great to find your blog. Happy days, lee


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