There was a time not long ago, not at all in a galaxy far far away (we’re talking London), where one would scoff at the idea that there was a UK ‘cafe culture’. Tea rooms and greasy spoons with coffee black or white, maybe, but not a proper coffee house. Well, gone are those days, with many a quality London cafe popping up to give the lovers of the good bean their fix without sacrificing quality or ambience. And there’s something distinct about good London cafes, something you won’t find in Vienna or Paris. Undoubtedly, modern cafes in London represent a rising British coffee culture.
On the hunt for a London cafe? A good place is South Kensington, where a French community has settled in the midst of a busy tourist district, all thirsty for the good oil. South Kensington London cafes are open late to cater to this crowd, so you can be sure you’ll find one of the many quality cafes London has to offer here. Hackney, strewn with hip expats (including many from the Australian and New Zealand expat communities, rightly blamed for introducing the flat white to London), is home to some of the best cafes in London, where great coffee is expertly brewed.
London cafes have had a bad reputation, but that’s changing, with cafes in London now employing trained baristas, and an increasing number of London cafes becoming picky over the beans they use and the roasting process – some even import and roast their own beans. It’s no joke when we say that a sign that you might be sitting in one of the best cafes in London is to listen to the accent: Australian or New Zealanders brewing you a cup? You’re in for a treat. These intrepid coffee lovers take their coffee very seriously – and introduced the ubiquitous flat white to the UK.
You can find some of the best cafes in London using Quandoo. Type ‘cafe’ or ‘coffee’ into the London section’s search bar, or look up the cuisine category ‘coffee and cake’. With lots of results, be sure to use the maps or district filters (no pun - we’re talking fine espresso here) to find a London cafe nearby. Many of the cafes in London emphasise their food more than their coffee, meaning you can’t always tell what kind of brew you’re in for. This makes it a fun mission to find the perfect coffee in the perfect London cafe and make it your own.