Where to drink good coffee in London: a guide for connoisseurs

13.12.2023Lyubov Safonova

London is the city of the fourth coffee wave. If on the third only roasters working with specialty coffee appear, on the fourth it becomes so widespread that to do any other already seems indecent. Bottom line is that almost any coffee shop can make you a nice flat white. Sure, it's very enjoyable, but where to drink something special? In this material, gastro-journalist Lyubov Safonova gathered several coffee shops (and coffee chains), which are very attentive to this delicate product.

The Penny Drop

A coffee shop you’ll have to take the week off for a trip to: it’s open Monday through Friday. The owners have decided not to stop at one bean: every week the roaster changes here, and there are always a few options for filter coffee. The baristas regularly compete in championships and train all the time to do latte art, so there’s a chance of a very nice cappuccino. Bonus – cool cards for free coffee: they’re round and made of cream paper with embossing.

Address: 13 Tottenham St


First, Prufrock has great carrot cakes, and second, they know how to brew a balanced cup here. The coffee comes from several roasters, including Square Mile, led by James Hoffman, a popularizer of coffee culture and author of The World Atlas of Coffee. There are 2-3 varieties available for filtering, served in touching ceramic pitchers with piales. You get not only gastronomic, but also aesthetic expierience for the price of going to a coffee shop.

Address: 23-25 Leather Lane

Elwin Coffee

Going to the British Museum? Elwin is a couple blocks away. The beans are ordered from Ozone Roasters and sweet varieties with fruity, nutty and floral nuances are chosen: the taste of coffee will be understood by those who are just beginning to get acquainted with spice. And those who are always looking for interesting places will be able to try rare lots. Every day a question is written above the bar and a small but nice discount is offered for the correct answer.

Address: 13 Great Russell St

The Ethiopian Coffee Company

A tiny coffee shop by the eponymous coffee company that only has coffee from Ethiopia. A good option if you are just starting to explore the world of speakeasies and want to understand the characteristics of the region. There is only one espresso variety, but you can choose any of the ones on the shelf for the funnel.

Address: 61 Amwell Street

Make Make Coffee

A coffee shop by Surrey Quays tube that could easily be mistaken for an ordinary to go, but here they take the product very seriously. The owner is a coffee enthusiast who started out making specialty coffee at festivals and after the pandemic opened his own place with coffee, pottery, postcards and other goodies. Popular and understandable cappuccinos and lattes are made with beans from Brazil. But if you ask to make a flat white or cortado, in which milk is needed to emphasize and reveal the descriptors of espresso, it will be made already on a more flavorful Ethiopian coffee. If you arrive early enough, you can catch cardamom scones from Snapery Bakery. Agreed – not the most central location, but if you’re in the area, it’s worth a look.

Address: 126b Lower Rd

Quima Cafe

An in-house coffee roaster specializing in coffee from Colombia, Ecuador and Yemen (the latter is the most loved here). Here you can find not only the usual espresso-based drinks and variations on the theme of the filter, but also coffee in a turbo, which is also brewed according to all the covenants of the Specialty Coffee Association. Even more unusual, there’s coffee lemonade, fizz made from cascara (coffee bean husks) and several types of lattes that are more like coffee cocktails. The roaster is also located here, on a good day you can catch the roasting process. Professional pastry chefs are involved in the creation of sweets, so in addition to almond croissants in the showcase there are soufflés in the form of coffee bags, canelés with different fillings or choux buns.

Address: 21 Warren St, Fitzrovia.

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