Apparently spring is just around the corner, but we’re still feeling a bit like hibernating. So for some help staying up during those extra daylight hours, we thought we would round up some of London’s top independent coffee shops for you, whether you’re looking for a new stop for a caffeine fix or want to see who’s stirring up a flat white storm.
You need to run with us on this one…an espresso bar, serving a set wholesome meal on a daily-changing menu alongside an eye-watering selection of cakes and treats from Bittersweet Bakers – all out of a converted toilet. Not just any toilet though – what was once a Victorian gentleman’s toilet in the heart of Fitzrovia has been lovingly restored over the last two two years and finished with beautiful vintage pieces from New York. The white porcelain loos are now thankfully blocked up and provide the perfect little one-man pod from which to enjoy your lunchtime bite or afternoon cake and coffee. While we’re on the coffee, small batches ground daily by Caravan and organic milk from Ivy House Farm mean The Attendant is more than just another cool West End fad. Put this at the top of your to-do list, but act sharpish, as we imagine there will be quite a queue for these loos. Typical.
We love The Shoreditch Grind. We can’t help it, we just do. We love that it sits waiting for us as we battle the elements on that tough slog up out of Old Street station, we love that it looks so simple and cool with cinema-style letters screaming slogans like, ‘Sex & Coffee and Rock n Roll’. But most of all, we love that they take their coffee pretty seriously. You literally won’t find a blend like it as they have theirs roasted personally for them to a delicate specification, and their baristas really know their way around the impressive-looking machines, serving up silky smooth cups of steamy perfection. And that’s not the only secret they can boast: upstairs is a recording studio available to hire if you are feeling particularly inspired after your caffeine fix – AND they have an alcohol license, so you could always swap the espresso for an espresso martini after hours. Grab a window seat, settle down and watch the world go round (the Old Street roundabout).
Bustling Climpson & Sons may not be a place to while away a few hours reading the papers, but the quality of its specialty grade coffee, which is supplied to coffee shops all around Hackney, is undeniable. Coffee enthusiasts come from miles around to sample the locally-produced beans, roasted just a block from the café, whose location on hip Broadway Market is what really makes this place stand out. Come Saturday morning, the queue of hipsters and yummy mummies snakes around the corner as the hungover masses descend on to the market, happily waiting the 20 minutes for their name to be called so they can collect their perfectly velvety flat white.
46b Espresso Hut nestles inconspicuously at the Homerton end of Chatsworth, but shouldn’t be overlooked for its slightly out of the way location. Serving the best flat whites London Living has ever had, the space is small but perfectly formed, with seating outside on the pavement for warmer days. With pastries and breads from the E5 bakery, this place is a real gem and the owners are a delight.
Blink and you’ll miss The Little One. In fact you probably have, many times, walking up Regents Park Road in Primrose Hill. In a tiny corner, hiding snuggly between a gallery and a beauty shop, this is an oasis of crepe and coffee-filled calm. Starting out as a caravan-based venture, fortunately The Little One is now stationary and a great place to stop by on a spring walk towards Regent’s Park on the weekend. You may need to push past the prams to reach the counter to order, but make sure you grab one of their huge and generously filled crepes to accompany your sensational coffee hit when you do. You may also need to squeeze past the prams to grab one of the mini, mismatched child-sized chairs outside; but don’t worry, we won’t judge you.