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The 130-Year-Old London Coffee Shop That Still Sells £1 Lattes

Picture of Georgina Wilson-Powell
Updated: 3 January 2019
Forget your high street brand cafes with their fancy (expensive) lattes and mochas. If you’re in Soho there’s a place that’s been quietly getting on with supplying Londoners with their favourite drink for nearly 130 years.

130 years of history

When Algerian Coffee Stores opened in 1887, London’s coffee society was in full swing. Victorian London was the capital of the British empire and businesses and the city itself were booming. Since then it’s survived the Blitz, the ration years, the swinging 60s, several recessions and Soho’s ongoing development away from its seedy brothel past into the thriving foodie centre we know today. As shops have come and gone like clockwork, the red awning of Algerian Coffee Stores has stood firm against the test of time.

Stepping into Algerian Coffee Stores is like stepping back in time – the wooden display case and counter haven’t changed in 128 years and neither has the friendly and knowledgable service. The big plus is that prices haven’t risen that much since it opened – you can still pick up a coffee here for a £1. Bargain!

© Adu Lalouschek
© Adu Lalouschek

Shop for all things coffee

The unassuming Soho shop is like a temple to all things coffee – from hi-tech grinders that would satisfy the east London hipster to traditional Turkish coffee pots, the store celebrates our favourite caffeine drink in all its forms. (It’s also started stocking everything you might need to make matcha, 2017’s drink trend du jour).

Sourcing the beans

What’s made Algerian Coffee Stores so special is their dedication to a cup of Joe. You can choose from 80 different types, both single original and plenty of blends to find your perfect pick me up. And while coffee is the name of the game here, the store also has a pretty strong commitment to tea, stocking 120 different types of the stuff.

© Adu Lalouschek
© Adu Lalouschek

Try something new

While you can certainly purchase your Arabicas, organic Bolivian or Fairtrade Mexican beans or grinds, the store wouldn’t have survived without a selection of some more unusual coffees. Some of the rarer types include Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee, reputed to be one of the most expensive coffees in the world and predominantly exported to Japan.

The store also sells coffee flour, made from the fruit that surrounds the bean and it’s pretty good stuff. According to the store, ‘It contains more protein per gram than fresh kale, more iron per gram than fresh spinach, more fibre than wholegrain wheat flour, more potassium per gram than two bananas and is lower in fat than coconut flour.’ And it doesn’t taste of coffee.

Next time you’re on Old Compton Street, pop in for a cheap latte and discover this historic treasure trove.