Located at the end of Islington’s iconic Exmouth Market, Caravan is a fusion of restaurant, bar, and phenomenal coffee house. Purveyors of a selection of beans from multiple countries, Caravan offers visitors a choice between espresso and filter coffees – the long black is exceptionally good, as is the flat white. The menu features a great selection of small and large plates, perfectly crafted for each meal of the day. Dishes include grilled lamb with butternut hummus, grilled pork chop with Vietnamese slaw, and seabass with orange-glazed chicory. There are also a number of great desserts, wines and beers available.
Caravan Exmouth Market, 11-13 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QD, UK, +44 20 7833 8115
Climpson & Sons Café
Climpson & Sons Café opened in 2005, when the London coffee scene didn’t have quite the gravity it does today. Climpson was a pioneering venue and is rightly viewed as one of the leading lights of the coffee revolution. The walls are lined with wood, and Climpson has a distinctly no-frills vibe, but it is perfect for both hardened coffee-drinkers and the casual caffeine-fiend. The venue is situated a stone’s throw from Broadway Market, meaning that visitors can take in some brilliant food stalls and street busking before picking up a cup of steaming coffee.
Climpson & Sons Café, 67 Broadway Market, London, E8 4PH, UK, + 44 20 7812 9829
Located in Brick Lane, Full Stop. has an unassuming exterior, with the typical East London retro fittings, as well as a relaxed and cosy atmosphere. Customers can – and often do – spend hours here, drinking coffee and taking in the Brick Lane culture. The squashy armchairs are just too comfortable, and too easy to sink into, for guests to easily extricate themselves. Full Stop. is also something of a local hub, with regular live music, (alcoholic) drinking festivals, and even nightly quizzes. It is a bit on the small side though, so make sure your group isn’t too large.
Full Stop., 202 Brick Lane, London, E1 6SA, UK, +44 20 7739 7086
Goswell Road Coffee
Despite having a reputation for brusque service, Goswell Road Coffee knows how to serve up a great cup of joe to get you through the morning (or any other time of the day). The interior is decorated with retro posters, aged chesterfields and a number of bar stools. While Americano and espresso coffees are a bit pricey, they are of an exceptional quality. For a fast, cheap fix, Goswell Road also has a quick filter coffee – known as builders’ brew – for under £2. To accompany your jet-black hit of caffeine, there are a number of great cakes and pastries on offer too.
Goswell Road Coffee, 160-164 Goswell Rd, London, EC1V 7DU, UK, +44 20 7490 7444
Kipferl is London’s premier Austrian coffee shop, set in the beautiful Camden Passage, just a few short minutes from Angel tube station. The concept is that, as in Austria, visitors approach Kipferl aiming to spend some quality time there, reading a newspaper or enjoying a selection of fine pastries. Kipferl serves a variety of soups, stews and dishes that hail from Central and Eastern Europe, including the classic Viennese Sachertorte, cheesecake, and apple strudel.
Kipferl, 20 Camden Passage, London N1 8ED, UK, +44 20 7704 1555
Look mum, no hands!
As the name suggests, Look mum, no hands! is a coffee shop particularly popular with London’s cycling community. The coffee shop is sparsely decorated with tables and chairs, although there are a few bike-inspired decorations as well. So popular is Look mum, no hands!, that the shop has started selling its own branded mugs for those who wish to take a piece of this iconic Old Street coffee shop with them. Also open for lunch and breakfast, the café serves an array of comfort food, such as toasted banana bread with homemade cinnamon butter.
Look mum, no hands!, 49 Old St, London, EC1V 9HX, UK, +44 20 7253 1025
Nude Espresso Roastery
At the Nude Espresso Roastery, staff craft-roast, bake bread and bag coffee beans entirely by hand – the quality of the finished product is telling of these efforts. The coffee shop claims to have the UK’s most advanced barista training scheme, and the baristas are certainly highly skilled and knowledgeable, readily answering customer questions on coffee-making techniques and varieties. If customers are feeling hungry, they should let staff tempt them with delicious cupcakes and brownies, all of which are made on site, fresh each day.
Nude Espresso Roastery, 91 Brick Ln, London, E1 6QL, UK, +44 78 0422 3590
Ozone Coffee Roasters
Ozone Coffee Roasters, which opened a couple of years ago, was an instant hit with local office workers, and continued to bound from strength to strength. However, the venue is somewhat a victim of its own success – due to its small size, when it gets busy, customers have to head down to the unfurnished basement, or even outside, in order to find somewhere to sit. The shop boasts ‘slow-brew’ specials, such as the peaberry from Kenya. The food at Ozone is a particular point of celebration, with dishes such as eggs Benedict, and bucatini pasta with merguez sausage, garlic, chilli, and shredded zucchini. Additionally, there is a fantastic wine list (for when coffee simply won’t cut it).
Ozone Coffee Roasters, 11 Leonard St, London, EC2A 4AQ, UK, +44 20 7490 1039
Meal service:Brunch, Breakfast, Lunch
Taylor St Baristas
The arcade in which Taylor St Baristas is located is somewhat lacking in soul, but the same can’t be said of inside the place – the bohemian character is what attracts punters every day. The eccentric décor – dark wood floors balanced by overly large windows – reflects the medium-light-roasted espresso blend that is lighter than the coffee served by some rivals. The staff, experts of the espresso world, know more than you could believe possible about coffee beans. Walls are decked with local artists’ work, something that adds to the bohemian theme. Taylor St also offers particularly enthused customers the chance to study at the altar of espresso, with three-hour barista courses, involving tastings and technical practice.
Taylor St Baristas, 125 Old Broad St., London, EC2M 4TP, UK, + 44 20 7929 2207
Workshop Coffee Co. Clerkenwell Cafe
Workshop Coffee Co. has a few sites in London, but this venue on Clerkenwell Road is the original one. An expansive downstairs area is filled with small tables and a large serving island, heaped with coffee and cakes. The back of the room houses a large roaster, where fresh beans are prepared for grinding before going into filter and espresso coffees. Workshop Coffee Co. also serves an array of lunch and brunch options, with the most popular menu item being toast with butter and homemade jams. Big fans of Workshop’s home-roasted coffee can also take some home with them.