We’ve asked our coffee expert Celeste Wong to share her favourite coffee shops across London, from speciality spots serving carefully selected filter-brewed coffee to cool and quirky cafés for showing off to visitors.
Looking to make barista-quality coffee at home? Find the perfect coffee grinder with these tried-and-tested coffee grinders, then check out how to use an aeropress, how to use a moka pot and how to use a French press. Looking for the artisan beans to make your pour-over? Try Celeste’s tried-and-tested list of the best coffee beans.
London coffee shops to visit
Born Drippy, Clapton
Born Drippy is a specialty coffee shop serving carefully selected filter coffee, with only two brew options; hand-poured or batch-brewed. It’s a no-frills café that only shines a light on its brightest star, the ethically-sourced coffee beans from female farmers and cooperatives. A great place to try filter coffee from different coffee roasters that aren’t readily available everywhere and get some beans to take home.
What to order: filter coffee served hand-poured or batch-brewed
Roasting Plant, Temple
The Roasting Plant uses creativity and technology to wow its customers. There is a vast range of different coffee origins to choose from. Watch them being roasted on a “Javabot” right in front of your eyes and see the coffee beans shoot up through tubes over your head to be automatically brewed by a super traditional Eversys coffee machine. This café is a must see if you are showing off to visitors.
What to order: choose your own origin of beans for an iced americano
Second Shot Coffee, Marylebone
Second Shot Coffee is the specialty coffee social enterprise that trains, employs, and supports people affected by homelessness. The first café was in the heart of Bethnal Green and now there’s a second cafe site in Marylebone. Second Shot offers its own blend of roasted specialty coffee beans as well as a range of guest beans from other top notch roasters to drink and buy. Not only does it make great coffees with a small food offering, you also know you are supporting a business that is really making a social difference. There’s a pay it forward system where you can pre-pay, so that later someone from the street can receive something to eat or drink free of charge. Visit the website for more, or even better, pay them a visit and see for yourself.
What to order: house-blend cortado
Omotesando Koffee, Fitzrovia
This is a minimalist coffee shop that uses a bespoke house-blend by London’s Assembly Coffee Roasters. Named after Tokyo’s Omotesando district, it now has many cafés around the world, so its opening in London was highly anticipated. It has a really peaceful and serene atmosphere, and the coffee is great. The café is small and there aren’t many seats, yet even with a steady flow of customers, it always feels like there’s plenty of space. Maybe it’s the zen design and aesthetic that immediately allows you to take a moment, enjoy your coffee and watch the world go by. We may not have been able to go to see this year’s Olympics, but there’s a little slice of Japan in the heart of London.
What to order: Assembly Coffee Roasters long black and tiny cube cake
The Pavilion Bakery, Victoria Park
Probably my favourite and most popular park café. On sunny weekends this place is humming. It’s one of the few places that can get almost overwhelmingly busy with locals, visitors and families but you can still get your coffee and cooked breakfasts pretty fast, without compromising on quality. Since covid it has reinvented the outdoor dining space well to enjoy English dishes with a Sri Lankan influence. Coffee is roasted by Origin Coffee Roasters and The Pavillion makes its own bread, pastries and other delectable treats. My favourite pastries are the almond and chocolate croissant or the cardamom bun, paired with an oat flat white or cold brew while looking at the swans and ducks out over the pond. There’s a second café in Cornwall too.
What to order: oat flat white or cold brew with a cardamom bun
WatchHouse have seven café sites! The first historically being a shelter for men guarding the graveyard of St Mary Magdalen’s church. The roastery and café on Maltby St has a striking entrance, and I would recommend visiting. There’s a large brew-bar for you to try one of the expertly-roasted specialty coffees and maybe pick up some coffee paraphernalia for home, too. If you’ve never been to Maltby St markets either, this is a great excuse to get a well-crafted coffee and some global street food.
What to order: house-roast pour-over
Climpson and Sons, Broadway Market
This place has come a long way from humble beginnings as a market coffee cart. It sources and roasts excellent coffee, ethically and sustainably, and is always expanding the product range. The latest being a bottled espresso martini, a timely edition during the stay-at-home pandemic! The main café is on Broadway Market which has such a vibrant energy – definitely worth a visit, especially if the London sun decides to show itself. Go here if you like to be seen.
What to order: classic espresso “The Baron”
Coffee By Tate, Tate Britain, Millbank
The Roastery at Tate is a diverse and innovative specialty coffee space situated in a WWII bunker within the historic grounds of Tate Britain. It is the only museum in the world that roasts its own beans, and it’s great coffee too! The coffee bags are adorned with beautiful artwork, and what’s inside is sustainable coffee likely sourced by mostly female farms. The Tate is part of the Gender Equality Coffee Project and really champions coffee producers and professionals of all genders throughout the coffee value chain. The Tate is one of my favourite places in London, visit the café and get both art and coffee at the same time.
What to order: filter coffee made with the Honduran Yolanda Urrea Arita coffee
Crol & Co, Bermondsey
Situated on the corner of a lively intersection, this quirky café does a great job of showing its love of antiques and coffee. The look is a mix between Belgian and Victorian style features. You can see Belgian Royalty biscuit tins artfully placed on the walls and while you wait for your coffee, breakfast or toasted sandwiches, you can choose some artisan pantry goods to take home too. But if you don’t want to go home just yet, feel free to stay and sip on some wine, craft beer or cocktails and watch the world go by. They now also have a second location in London Bridge.
What to order: espresso martini or coffee tequila
Good Boy Coffee, Chiswick
If you’re a dog lover, this is the spot for you! On enetering Good Boy Coffee in the heart of Turnham Green, you’ll likely be greeted by the shop dog, Ezra (a German short-haired pointer). The relaxed café uses The Roasting Party Coffee and other great artisan brands for all brews. It’s not really a spot to sit in and chill all day, but it’s great if you need to drive or walk by and grab a coffee. A great excuse to get to know a different area and take your dog for a walk around Chiswick Common… even dogs need a change of scenery sometimes.
What to order: house-blend latte
Pophams is an artisan bakery, restaurant and coffee shop in London Fields using traditional techniques to create delicious, hand-crafted viennoiserie pastries and fresh pasta with a modern twist, as well as serving Ozone coffee and other guest roasters. Ollie, the founder, used to work in the catering departments of various Formula 1 teams, picking up a lot of experience from diverse cultures on his travels. The pastries are to die for – the bacon maple pastry scroll might be one of the best pastries I’ve ever eaten – so it’s easy to see why is a crowd favourite. If you like beautiful, stylish but understated spaces, race in there.
What to order: piccolo and a bacon maple pastry scroll
Rapha Clubhouse Cafe, Soho
As a lover of both, there’s no doubt in my mind that coffee and cycling go hand in hand. But you don’t have to be a cycling nut to visit Rapha. The fact you like good coffee is reason enough. The café works on a great coffee narrative with highly reputable Colonna Coffee – founded by World Coffee Champion Maxwell Colonna-Smalls. It’s a lovely space, great coffee and always fun to see snazzy lycra!
What to order: one of the ‘rare’ varieties without milk