Recently Time Out had an article on London’s Best Coffee (no, not an oxymoron, there really is good coffee to be found here). As a published coffee reviewer (ahem), I was intrigued by what places got the seal of approval. Of course the list was not exhaustive but it did merit consideration of places heretofore unknown to me, and also reminded one of the gems of London’s java joints (disclaimer: I have a predilection for flat whites with skinny milk, no sugar. This may or may not influence my preferred places).
I made a mission to source out two “area” winners: The Espresso Room (Central) and Prufrock (East and overall winner). Previous to this sojourn, my coffee rankings were:
1. Lantana – Consistently excellent, brilliant food too and a vibe that is straight out of a Melbourne café.
2. Tina, We Salute You – The blonde, New Zealand barista is astonishingly good and I’ve never had a bad cup.
3. Flat White – My first coffee there tasted like ketchup…but not in a bad way. The coffee is better in the ceramic cups than take away. Highly recommended: Dose and Taste of Bitter Love.
Overrated: Monmouth Aside from having to suck-it-in to sit down at the table at Borough Market, the coffee is just OK.
The Espresso Room is a tiny closet of a café and my flat white (in a takeaway cup, these details are important) was very earthy but had hints of bitterness that, like Glenn Close’s Fatal Attraction character, will not be ignored. Situated on Great Ormond St, it is probably the best coffee in the area, so Time Out wins in that respect.
Prufrock is nearly impossible to find (I swear 40 Shoreditch High Street is a motorway) so look for the giant motorcycle in the window. Not even a café, just a bench, it was a team effort with one barista pouring the shot and the other the milk, finishing with some nice latte art. This coffee (flat white in a takeaway cup) was divine. Di-vine people. So chocolaty it could have been mistaken for a mocha, every sip took me one step closer to a caffeinated cloud nine.
So now the rankings have changed and whilst Prufrock is competing with Lantana for the number 1 spot, I will wait to venture back lest my illusions of perfection be spoiled. If anything is to be learned, it is that there are plenty of places that make great coffee in London, none coming from a chain, so skip Pret for Prufrock and get one step closer to heaven.