Updated August 2020
For obvious reasons, Central London is the busiest area of the city. Businessmen, workers and tourists roam daily in its streets, offices and museums. For their breaks, they stop by into coffee shops, which are various and of good quality.
Let’s have a look at the best coffee shops in Central London.
Here’s my list of the best coffee shops in Central London
Workshop Coffee (Marylebone branch)
Tucked away from one of the most chaotic streets of London, there’s Marylebone Coffeebar. Workshop coffee is my favourite coffee chain as regards quality concerning the numbers of the current coffee shops open. The more shops, the more complicated to maintain high standards. But that’s exactly what Workshop Coffee does well with a well-structured company, focused on sourcing and roasting the green beans into a delicious medium-to-light roast profile.
The shop is situated in Barrett Street, inside Christopher’s Place, a few steps away from Oxford Street. I visited the shop a couple of weeks ago. I asked for an espresso and the lovely lady suggested to me “mitad del mundo”, an Ecuadorian coffee. The coffee was complex with the high sweetness well-balanced thanks to a bitter cocoa finish. Quite boozy with notes of blackberry and cocoa nibs with a short and clean finish.
Origin coffee (Euston Road branch)
Just outside of the British Library, there’s one of Origin coffee shop. The shop is located on Euston Road, a couple of minutes away from King’s Cross Station. It has been opening for almost three years in collaboration with the British Library. I went there recently for breakfast and, of course, coffee. I have been told that King’s Cross area has got pretty good water, much softer than most of the areas of London.
I decided to go for “El Tablón”, a washed Colombian. The coffee tasted bloody orange with low acidity, an elegant body with a medium and sweet finish. The coffee was truly sweet, it felt like I was drinking a juice.
In the end, I asked the guy behind the bar and he told me that I was right. He explained to me that the water of London is really hard and differs from an area to another one. I couldn’t agree more with him. I tasted the same coffee about a week earlier in the Shoreditch branch, and the coffee differs considerably. This reminds me even more and more about how much impact the water has on the taste.
Situated in Fetter Lane, there’s Prufrock Coffee. The company opened its shop in 2009, becoming one of the most frequented coffee shops in the whole city.
It’s without any doubt one of my top three coffee shops in London. The cafè always rotates its coffee serving two different ones in the hopper and other three ones as filter coffee. The company serves some of the best coffees from multiple roasters across the world such as La Cabra Coffee Roasters, Tim Weldenboe, The Coffee Collective, Five Elephant, The Barn, Koppi, Drop Coffee Roasters and Wood and Co Coffee Roasters.
A few days ago I went in and being served with Nkonge as a filter coffee, a washed Burundi from La Cabra Coffee Roasters. The aroma had a predominance of berries like blackberries. The body was gooseberry-like but also rounded with a lingering finish like herbal tea-like finish.
Watch house (Somerset House)
Part of the Somerset House (on the East Wing), there’s the fifth (and last one) Watch House’s site. The coffee shop’s just opened last February but due to COVID has soon closed their doors back in mid-March. For the luckiest ones like me that had been well, it was great to spend a couple of hours over there.
The company redesigned the place after the acquisition of Fernandez & Well’s, one of the first company that brought speciality coffee in London and after two months of hard work, they brought to life a unique space with great food and, of course, speciality coffee.
On the shelves, you will find their coffees as a new roastery based in Bermondsey is now running and will provide coffee for all the locations. Unfortunately, The Somerset site is closed at the moment but is soon to be open. Check their socials for updates on when it will reopen.
I would highly recommend you to pay a visit as soon as they reopen as it’s for sure one of the new impressive places to try. Along with great coffees, you can have a sit and taste delicious food while admiring the minimal design and looking into the courtyard.
For sure one of the best coffee shops in London.
On Queen Victoria Street, one of the busiest areas of London, Kiss the Hippo was established. Just a couple of years and the business went so well that they have been nominated one of the best coffee shops in the World by Sprudge.
The company works together with some of the best roasteries in the world such as Coffee Collective, SEY, Origin Coffee Roasters, Switch, Proud Mary and so on.
And if this is not enough to pay a visit, you will find coffee beans from Origin coffee on the hopper, brewed by the only 4 group KB90 espresso machine.
Kiss the Hippo Coffee (Fitzrovia)
By the end of September 2019, Kiss the Hippo opened their second shop in Central London.
Just over 2 years since their first one in Richmond and they have already made their mark in London (it’s definitely on my top 3 of the best coffee shops in London). Kiss the Hippo is what speciality coffee is: caring about every single step of the coffee chain.
The company pay a fairer price for the farmers, supporting global and local charities such as Clearer Water, Karma, the London Zoo, the National Literacy Trust, Rainforest Trust, Just a Drop, funding the Kew Gardens coffee research program and donating for the World Coffee Research.
They care about transparency which goes hand in hand with sustainability. They are the first company in London that set an Organic Certified Roastery using 100% renewable energy.
To complement this, they highlight the customer experience with talented baristas, brewing each cup with extreme care and passion. Along with great coffees brewed by the top-notch equipment (they’re brewing with a Kess Van Der Westen Spirit, my favourite espresso machine manufacturer), they also offer superb food.
Do not worry whether you stop by for a little break or for longer, you will not forget how great your experience will be.
So, that’s it for today. This is the first part of my list of some of the best coffee shops in Central London (it will be updated regularly).
What about your choices? Please comment below if you want to share yours.
I am an Italian coffee lover that pushed for the love of this “amazing drug” decided to come to London to study about coffee and its different extraction procedures and tastes.