Instagrammable coffee shops in the UK
Looking for the best coffee shops in the UK? We've asked coffee experts (instagrammers, roasters and coffee masters) across the country to share their favourite places to get coffee, from Cornwall to Brighton, Glasgow to Belfast
Ever wondered where the UK latte art champion goes for his coffee? Want to know where the Scotland's best baristas hang out on their days off? Fancy bumping into the man behind London Coffee Festival?
We’ve asked some of the country’s top coffee experts and our biggest coffee aficionados on the olive magazine team to share their favourite coffee shops in the UK (and to take some great snaps for Instagram, too).
Best coffee shops in Cornwall
Food photographer and coffee enthusiast Milly Kenny-Ryder is always on the look out for the best places to drink coffee to update her Weekend Journals (look out for more Cornwall spots in the next edition of Cornwall Journals out May 2018, or our favourite foodie places here). She shares some of her favourite coffee shops on the South West coast here...
Beacon Coffee, Falmouth
One of Cornwall's newest speciality coffee shops, Beacon in Falmouth is run by two baristas, Alex and Sam, who trained up the road at another great cafe, Espressini. The boys really care about their coffee, carefully selecting beans from their favourite roasters around the world, most recently Old Spike and Colonna & Smalls.
Which coffee to order: The ‘one + one’ – a flat white with an extra shot of espresso – so you can taste (and appreciate) the coffee solo before enjoying your drink with or without the additional shot.
Origin Coffee, Porthleven
Origin Coffee started as a small roastery and cafe in Cornwall before expanding across the country. The tiny Porthleven cafe is a charming place to stop by for your morning croissant and a coffee made with its own blend of beans.
Which coffee to order: The Pathfinder blend, made from beans from Colombia and Rwanda, with lovely notes of cherry and papaya.
Temple is a colourful cafe in the North Cornwall town of Bude. There is a small fashion boutique, great brunch plates and great coffee from Allpress.
Which coffee to order: A creamy flat white to accompany your delicious breakfast.
Best coffee shops in the South West
Jimmy Dimitrov, Clifton Coffee Roasters Training & Education Manager, shares his top three favourite places to go for a coffee in Wales, Devon and beyond...
The Exploding Bakery, Exeter
One of my top favourite places to stop for a quick coffee and cake whilst visiting Exeter or on the way down to Cornwall. These guys know how to make some of the best cakes I have ever tried, and their coffee is always on point too!
The Exploding Bakery uses London’s Campbell & Syme, Exeter’s very own Crank House Coffee (one of my favourites!), and occasionally Clifton Coffee.
Which coffee to order: Naturally processed coffee made on La Marzocco Linea, and the hand-crafted cake of the day.
Corner Coffee, Cardiff
Corner Coffee uses coffee roasted from various roasters from around the UK including Clifton Coffee. Made to precision on the only Faema e71 in Wales from some of the top Welsh baristas out there! If you are a speciality coffee fan and you like to taste something different in a quiet cafe environment then this is the place you should check out. It's easy enough to find as it's only a stone’s throw away from Cardiff Castle.
Best coffee shops in Bristol and Bath
Callum Parsons from Extract Coffee Roasters, and South West heat winner for the UK Barista Championships 2017, shares some of his favourite coffee shops in Bristol and Bath. More of our favourite Bristol cafés and restaurants here...
Little Victories, Wapping Wharf
This open and vibrant space comes from the guys behind Small Street Espresso (one of Bristol's most acclaimed coffee shops among baristas and coffee enthusiasts). The cafe offers amazing coffees and a whole host of other drinks, including espresso martinis and cold brew negronis.
More like this
This is the place to come and kick back on a sunny Sunday and enjoy a few coffees followed by a couple of glasses of wine!
The Epiphany Cafe, Bristol
Tucked away in the RWA is a real hidden coffee gem. Alex 'The Bristol Barista' is brewing on a custom La Marzocco and has some fantastic guests on rotation for filter. He also makes an amazing cheese toastie!
Colonna and Smalls, Bath
The coffee shop that starts a lot of guys in the coffee industries journey including mine! Exceptional coffees on rotation, with tasting notes in a grid to demonstrate how the flavour changes when adding milk. Barista knowledge is exceptional, so don't be afraid to ask advice on your choice.
Which coffee to order: The Gigesa Grade 1 Washed, an Ethiopian coffee with promise of peachy sweetness, hints of melon and bergamot.
Mokoko, Bath and Bristol
This one is an olive favourite, check out our other favourite independent foodie businesses in Bath here...
With two branches in Bath (a smaller one opposite the bus and rail stations mainly used by take-out customers, and a larger one beside the Abbey that also serves salad and quiche-style lunches) and a bakery cum coffee shop that also does breakfast bowls and lunches at Bristol's Wapping Wharf.
There are two elements that set Mokoko apart. One is the coffee, which is all single origin and roasted in-house (as well as the usual flat whites and cappuccinos you can choose between aeropress, chemex and syphon filter coffees). The other is its cakes, which are freshly baked at the Bristol bakery, change regularly and usually include a vegan choice or two. Current picks include the cherry cheesecake cruffin and banana and peanut butter cake.
Best coffee shops in Oxford and The Cotswolds
Society Café, Oxford
Coffee blogger Celeste Wong (the_girl_in_the_cafe) roasts her own exclusive beans with @theroasterydept, so she knows good coffee.
She says: "I love the vibe and bright interior of Society Cafe – they have a good variety of food and coffee with friendly relaxed service. Hopefully they still have the words "keep it sassy" on their teal coloured La Marzocco coffee machine!"
Which coffee to order: A filter coffee from one of their weekly changing guest beans, or a piccolo from their house blend Origin Coffee Roasters.
Coffee Dispensary, Cheltenham
These guys brew espresso on arguably the most advanced coffee machine on the market. The team offers coffees from roasters across the whole of the UK and parts of Europe. It's a must visit!
The UK latte art champion's favourite coffee shops
Dhan Tamang, 5-time reigning UK latte art champion, travels the country making coffees look beautiful. He shares a couple of his favourite coffee shops...
Coffee Lab UK, Winchester
I liked the concept of opening coffee shop a outside London areas to develop the top-notch coffee culture and passion to offer speciality coffees. The Roasting Party roasts the coffee, with a bespoke house blend called Create. The knowledgeable and passionate barista team also serves guest blends and single origin coffee.
Which coffee to order: I usually order flat white made with house Create blend, the flavour is just delightful, with milk chocolate and strawberry jam notes.
Best coffee shop in London: V69 Coffee shop
Great coffee, pleasant atmosphere and lovely staff. This is a little gem that’s well worth a visit, and a smile comes complimentary every time you enter V69. The beans come from Curve roaster, and the house blend, Peru, is a single origin light roast.
Which coffee to order: I ordered a V60 on my first visit, roasted by Curve Coffee. It was an Ethiopian Guji that had beautiful parma violet, blueberry and jammy notes.
Best coffee shops in London
Jeffrey Young, founder of the buzzing London Coffee Festival, shares his favourite roasters and coffee shops in London...
Allpress Espresso, Dalston
Allpress Espresso has coffee shops in Australia, New Zealand and Tokyo, but in London you can find them in Dalston and Shoreditch. Light and airy, Allpress is the perfect place to relax with a newspaper but it’s equally as good for business meetings or to visit with family and friends.
Which coffee to order: I personally tend to go for a flat white, the espresso is excellent.
Ozone Coffee Roasters, Shoreditch
Founded in New Zealand in 1998, Ozone is a well-established speciality coffee roaster, meaning the coffee served in its Shoreditch shop is delicious. With an endearing, un-refurbished basement, it’s a unique and fun place to visit and offers interesting workshops on different topics for those looking to learn more about coffee.
Caravan, King's Cross
Inhabiting a monolithic former granary building, Caravan has graduated to the major league in both London’s coffee and casual dining arenas. The unabashed use of concrete and other reclaimed materials combined with its chic décor creates an industrial atmosphere on a grand scale. The knowledgeable baristas are happy to offer advice on their seasonal blends, which are freshly roasted on the premises, the worldly food menu and wide range of coffees offer an excellent opportunity to experiment with coffee and food pairings.
Which coffee to order: For espresso lovers, the espresso is made using the freshest and tastiest crops of the season. The filter coffees on offer are excellent too – a mix of single origins and blends have been chosen specifically for their unique flavour characteristics and quality.
Best coffee shops in Brighton
Flourpot Bakery is one of olive's go-to places for coffee in Brighton (check out our guide here). Head barista Luicano Zelaschi shares some of his favourite coffee shops in the Brighton and Hove area...
Bond St. Coffee
Bond street is a well known gem of the North Laine, serving Horsham coffee to the speciality standard that leaves you wanting more. Kitted out with must-have gear of the speciality coffee industry, a full retail shelf of home brewing kit and single origin roasts to choose for your desired coffee. With quirky rustic decor and nerdy tattooed hipsters writing screen plays, Bond street is definitely worth a visit.
Which coffee to order: Espresso, to let the Horsham coffee beans shine
Small, in the sticks of Hove, but wow is this the place to go for precision brewing. Run by one of Brighton's finest, 44 Poets is serving up Square Mile coffee (something of a rarity in Brighton). Beautifully crafted with OCD satisfying carpentry, a streamline bar for efficient brewing, and a Victoria Arduino Black Eagle as the centre piece of the shop.
Which coffee to order: A pour over
This speciality espresso bar is the slick, industrial and stylish coffee spot of the South Lanes. Just a "pebbles" throw away from the seafront, Point One serves up a fantastic pour over brew or an espresso-based drink with the finest coffee Horsham coffee roaster has to offer.
Which coffee to order: Flat white
Best coffee shops in The Midlands
Wayland's Yard, Worcester and Birmingham
These are really passionate guys who really take care crafting each coffee served. Make sure you chat to the owner Sam as you will for sure pick up on his dedication to making a really great cup of coffee.
Which coffee to order: A flat white made with Extract's Strongman espresso
Get to Outpost coffee early in the morning to grab a babka bun (baked just up the road by Kate at Tough Mary’s Bakehouse) and chat to barista Chris before the queues start growing. All the coffees are roasted by hand just down the road from the shop, and the coffee itself is bought direct from Brazil, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Colombia. Baristas go out to these countries to meet the farmers, visit washing stations and try the coffee directly before bringing the beans back to the UK.
Which coffee to order: The Japanese ice brew is a refreshing pick-me-up, or taste rich plum notes in the Judas espresso blend.
Best coffee shops in Yorkshire
Holly Bowman, director and co-founder of olive favourite North Star Coffee Roasters (here are our other Leeds favourites), shares some of her favourite coffee shops in Leeds, Sheffield and beyond...
North Star Coffee Shop & General Store, Leeds
This spot provides the ultimate coffee experience with a rotating range of seasonal coffees available on both espresso and filter. If you visit during the week, you will also see the beans being roasted next door and can get a real feel for the coffee supply chain. The baked goods and plated dishes from the award winning Noisette Bakehouse are all designed to pair perfectly with the coffee so you can really have a full sensory experience. The team on hand are super knowledgeable and happy to talk about coffee all day long!
Which coffee to order: Batch Brew – this is my personal favourite as it is a great way of receiving filter coffee quickly and a chance to get to grips with the true flavour of the coffee.
Upshot Espresso, Sheffield
This is one of my go-to spots when visiting Sheffield, I love the atmosphere and the varied customer base they have. All of their bakes and dishes are prepared on site, too, and the food offering very much stands up to the coffee. The baristas really know what they're doing and the service style is distinctly Yorkshire!
Which coffee to order: One of the guest espressos (and definitely a matcha and white chocolate éclair on the side!)
Bean and Bud, Harrogate
This is the shop that got me into coffee – a real stalwart and the original speciality coffee shop in Harrogate. It was set up by Ruth and Hayden, who have real passion and ethics behind what they do, with a desire to put the producer at the centre. It is such a welcoming space with none of the pretentiousness that can come with specialty coffee shops. There is a wealth of knowledge and attention to detail behind every cup served, and the tea offering is brilliant too.
Which coffee to order: Pour over – expertly prepared filter coffee using beans from one of the guest roasters.
Best coffee shop in Newcastle
This is an olive favourite, check out more of our top foodie spots in Newcastle here...
Flat Caps, Newcastle
Set up by Joe Meagher, Flat Caps sits on the corner of Carliol square in Newcastle city centre. The open space is warmed up by hanging plants and strings of lights, while people spend their days working away on squishy sofas and wooden chairs. There are three brew methods to choose from: filter, aeropress and syphon, and at least two guest coffees on the board at all times.
Which coffee to order: If you like strong coffee, choose syphon as your brew method. Or in the evening the space turns into Night Caps, so order a smooth espresso martini made with Workshop Coffee espresso.
Best coffee shops in Cumbria
Gareth Kemble, owner of Cumbrian coffee roasters Carvetii Coffee, shares his favourite coffee shops in and around the Lake District...
It’s only just been open for three years but the guys here very quickly established Homeground as the go-to place for coffee lovers in the Lakes. The baristas definitely know their beans… and the fresh cakes and all-day brunch menu make this a winner.
Which coffee to order: A flat white and mouthwatering Huevos Rancheros on sourdough bread is the perfect start to any day.
You’ll be hard pushed to find a more artistic and stylish setting for an excellent cup of coffee than the Scandi-influenced Mathilde’s in Grasmere’s Heaton Cooper Studio. Even the light shades are works of art so expect some inspired latte art on display!
Which coffee to order: The espresso blend to get the creative juices flowing and an amazing salad featuring all the colours of the rainbow!
The Moon & Sixpence, Cockermouth
Cockermouth, often referred to as the Lake District’s ‘gem’ town, has its fair share of coffee shops, but a visit to the Moon & Sixpence is like popping in to see an old friend. Homemade cakes are displayed in a quirky old bookcase and there are coffee cupping sessions and acoustic music nights.
Best coffee shops in Scotland
James Wise, Coffee Masters champion 2017 and Assembly Coffee business development manager, shares his favourite coffee shops in Edinburgh...
Cult Espresso, Edinburgh
These boys really know their coffee. Last time I stopped by I was given probably one of the best espressos I’ve ever had, from Round Hill Roastery.
Which coffee to order: Grab an espresso, grab a filter, grab a comic off the shelf – just steer clear of milk. You won’t need it.
Century General Store & Cafe, Edinburgh
Although coffee is a huge focus for the team at "Cenny Genny", the brunch here takes the spot light. Awesome menu, awesome coffee.
Which coffee to order: The corn fritter and an Assembly flat white.
Lowdown Coffee, Edinburgh
The coffee industry on a whole has its fingers on the pulse when it comes to design, but few stores do it quite as well as Lowdown. This hidden gem on George St. sources its coffee from Koppi in Sweden.
Which coffee to order: Grab a filter coffee and escape the busy street above.
Lisa Lawson from Dear Green Coffee Roasters (check out our piece about the roasters here) shares her favourite coffee shops outside of Edinburgh...
Primal Roast @primalroast, Glasgow
A haven in Glasgow's CBD with attention to detail in all things coffee and freshly prepared food. Great vibe, friendly staff and a top notch Dear Green espresso prepared on a La Marzocco Linea, along with a selection of rotating roasters on hand-brewed filter. Always expertly prepared.
Exuding passion, ethics, hospitality. This place is worth the 3-hour drive from Glasgow and feels like you’ve been welcomed home the minute you walk through the door... Skilled baristas, excellent food and so much going on! There's no stopping these guys in their pursuit of excellence and quality. Leading the way with speciality coffee in Aberdeen and beyond.
The Wildcat, Fort William
When you're heading through the Scottish Highlands, about to climb Ben Nevis or just off the slopes… finally you can find a really great coffee in this most scenic of spots! A breath of fresh air, this place ticks ALL of the boxes… it's even inconspicuously vegan! Dear Green beans prepared on state of the art equipment.
Best coffee shops in Northern Ireland
The Ireland Independent Coffee Guide shares some of its favourite coffee spots in Belfast and Beyond...
Tell any coffee head that you’re visiting Belfast and the first thing they’ll ask is: ‘You’re going to Established, right?’. Owners Bridgeen and Mark are serious about speciality, working with Belfast’s best baristas to fashion flawless coffee made with beans from 3fe in Dublin, as well as guest roasters from across Europe. The place is seriously Instagrammable too – visit on Sundays for drip filter and the best pie this side of the Atlantic.
Which coffee to order: A seasonal espresso and cortado coffee flight.
Finegan & Son, Newry
A weekly guest roaster has appeared on the coffee menu at Finegan & Son since it opened in Newry in 2016. As well as a sweet spot to sample impeccably prepared coffee – choose between espresso, V60, Chemex and AeroPress - Finegan’s haul of baked goods and lunch dishes makes the offer of a second brew too good to turn down.
Which coffee to order: A flat white made with espresso from Belfast roasters, Bailies.
Locals flock here on weekends for the epic bill of badass brunches, but those in the know head to Haptik for its quality caffeine offering. Catching the coffee bug down under, owners Johnny and Rachel curate a collection of UK and European roasted beans to sip in-store or buy to brew at home.
Which coffee to order: Try the latest guest via AeroPress.