London's best coffee shops; we bring you 20 Stylist staff favourites

Posted by
Anna Pollitt
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites

For London's increasingly fussy breed of coffee drinkers, a big name chain just won't do.

The capital's caffeine addicts bounce from one expert independent to another, hunting for an evermore high-end brew. If you've fallen victim to the opiod-like effects of a quality roast, we've rounded up 20 of the Capital's most beloved coffee houses as selected by the coffee loving staff at Stylist.

Who did we miss? Tell us below.

Main image: Rex Features

  • Ozone Coffee Roasters, EC2

    Owned by New Zealanders who are passionate about coffee, Ozone is both a cafe and roastery that excels in a rich, fruity blend. The industrial, warehouse-vibe is a hugely popular draw for the local creatives.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Soft brew, syphon coffee, monthly cupping (coffee tasting) events, super-fast wi-fi on a weekday, boozy brunches at the weekend.

    Don't expect: A quick turnaround on the syphon brew - it takes around 15 minutes.

    11 Leonard St, EC2A 4AQ

  • The Espresso Room, WC1

    Walking down Great Ormond Street, the delicious aroma from The Espresso Room will hit long before this tiny shoebox of a shop registers. Each weekday, from 7:30am, streams of coffee-loving Bloomsburyites can be found queuing for the smooth, strong flat whites and bold espressos.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Unusual cakes, good soups, discounted refills for travel mug types.

    Don't expect: A seat - there are no guarantees.

    31-35 Great Ormond Street, WC1N 3HZ

  • Sally White, SE11

    A Kennington hero, retro hotspot Sally White is named after its owner, who ran the Design Museum cafe before going local. It's not as coffee-intense as some of its central London peers but undoubtedly offers a stellar brew.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Relaxing weekend brunches, old school food heroes, including handmade scotch eggs and fishcakes, a Fisherman's Friend special - made with two double shots.

    Don't expect: Coffee snobbery.

    353 Kennington Road, SE11 4QE

  • Prufrock Cafe, EC1N

    The name is inspired from the line in T.S. Eliot's The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, in which he wrote, “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons.”

    Prufrock is the brainchild of 'Britain's best barista' Gwilym Davies and its complex coffee makes it a star of the capital's coffee scene.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Awesome espresso, expert chat from the baristas, simple, hearty food.

    Don't expect: Cosy - its decor is "sparse and industrial".

    Prufrock Café, Leather Lane 23-25, EC1N 7TE

  • Freestate Coffee, WC1

    Freestate Coffee staff are "intensively trained" by the shop's head barista before they're allowed to serve customers on their own.

    It all sounds a bit, well "intense," but frankly we don't care, they're smiling when they serve us and the brews are good.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Unusual beans from around the world, along with a house espresso and core blends from coffee stars Union, Caravan and Workshop and decent take away breakfast items, including good old toast with butter and marmalade.

    Don't expect: Pret - Freestate took over from the chain last year.

    23 Southampton Row, WC1B 5HA

  • Vagabond, N4, N7

    Perfectionism pervades in Vagabond and staff are not averse to making, then throwing away, a good-looking brew if it doesn't meet their exacting standards.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Dedicated, friendly and knowledgeable baristas (owner Dai Noras came from Fitzrovia's Tapped & Packed) and all the latest brewing techniques.

    Don't expect: A "sorry about the wait."

    Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, N4 & Holloway Road, N7

  • Counter Cafe, E3

    This 'industrial chic' coffee spot in Hackney Wick is especially proud of its San Franciscan roaster that eliminates the bean burn that sometimes gives coffee an overly bitter taste and lets the cafe control the whole process on site.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Relaxed atmosphere, great views, on-site roasted coffee to take away

    Don't expect: Office-standard wi-fi connection.

    7 Roach Road, Hackney Wick, E3 2PA

  • Notes, WC2

    Coffee aficionados who use woodnecks (that's filtering using cloth - not paper), Notes is a major player in London's coffee shop scene.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Music (including Jazz Wednesdays), home brewing masterclasses, hearty charcuterie and complimentary fruity water.

    Don't expect: Wi-fi - laptop types are not welcome here.

    31 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4ER

  • Artisan, SW15

    We're going saarf west for a lovely cup of joe at Artisan. If you're worried you can't get a super cuppa outside central, just check out their cold brew contraption (left).

    As well as superb coffee, go for: A smooth, not-too-sweet chai latte.

    Don't expect: A child-free zone - this is Putney, after all.

    203 Upper Richmond Road, Putney, London, SW15 6SG

  • Monmouth, WC2

    With branches in Covent Garden, Borough and Bermondsey, Monmouth is something of a London institution. The owners travel to source the beans from farmers they know, so it's all fair trade as well as excellent-tasting.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Take away coffee bags, scrumptious brownies, good pastries from Little Bread Pedlar.

    Don't expect: Wi-fi - laptop types can't really slouch around here.

    27 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9EU

  • Sacred, W1F

    Another quality coffee house run by New Zealanders, and another establishment with a strict policy on training (baristas must have a year's experience before being considered for a job) Sacred specialises in organic, fairtrade coffee that's "mellow and aromatically complex with a full body, moderate acidity and nutty/earthy flavours."

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Cosy atmosphere, a nice line in latte/flat white art, antique tea pots for the non-coffee drinkers.

    Don't expect: Much change - but then you are in the heart of central London.

    Ganton Street (Off Carnaby Street), W1F 9BL

  • Kahaila, E1

    Amazingly, this Brick Lane venue serves near-perfect coffee while also being a non-profit charity.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Wonderful red velvet cake, good community vibe.

    Don't expect: To want to leave - it's all too moreish.

    135 Brick Lane E1 6SB

  • Foxcroft and Ginger, W1F

    A laid-back Soho gem with a beckoning neon light sign, Foxcroft and Ginger offers seasonal beans and uses water purified by a reverse osmosis method that removes all the impurities.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Super sourdough pizza, good breakfast, fast wi-fi.

    Don't expect: Big comfy sofas.

    3 Berwick Street, Soho W1F 0DR/ 68 Mile End Road, Whitechapel E1 4TT

  • Dose, EC1

    Dose is run by a coffee-mad Kiwi (yes, another one) James Phillips, who was a barista for eight years in new Zealand before setting up this top quality coffee shop in London five years ago.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: A nice line in porridge and bircher muesli, guest blends.

    Don't expect: To leave without wanting to buy a cake.

    70 Long Lane, EC1A 9EJ

  • Kaffeine, W1

    Yet another Australian/New Zealand coffee house, Kaffeine is a tiny but brilliant spot in fancy Fitzrovia. Its website offers a comprehensive list on why it's so good, including the machines, milk and baristas (they must have three continuous years experience behind a professional espresso machine).

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Exceptional cakes, menus that change every week, lovely staff.

    Don't expect: Masses of room.

    66 Great Titchfield St, W1W 7QJ

  • Electric Coffee Company, W5

    "Making great espresso is a process that involves machinery, art and magic," says Ealing's Electric Coffee Company. Whatever they say, we just like the java - they use beans from East London's Square Mile roastery and Volcano coffee works in Dulwich.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Nice views, delicious sourdough toast, wide range of flavours.

    Don't expect: Wi-fi - they're old-fashioned like that.

    40 Haven Green, Ealing, W5 2NX

  • H.R. Higgins, W1

    This coffee shop has been around since 1942, so it knows its stuff. As well as being thoroughly quaint and charming, it also has a royal warrant, which you certainly won't find down at Starbucks.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Hot pastries, an awesome selection of teas, wonderful aromas.

    Don't expect: Latte art - it's not their bag.

    79 Duke St, London W1K 5AS

  • The Roastery, SW8

    Claphamites rejoice. As the name suggests, this place roasts its own (bullet coffee) on site and is rewarded with customers loyal and many. The decor is '50s style and kitsch, to say the least.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Bags of coffee to take home, free wi-fi, a mean sirloin steak sandwich.

    Don't expect: Weekday brunch - it's served Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

    The Roastery, 789 Wandsworth Rd, SW8 3JQ

  • Shoreditch Grind, EC1

    Shoreditch Grind combines coffee, music and cocktails inside a lighthouse-type setting in the heart of Shoreditch. It's very trendy, as you'd expect, but not at the expense of the coffee, which is beloved by the fussy locals.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Typical Shoreditch minimalism, specialty flat white, cocktails after your coffee.

    Don't expect: Great views - it's overlooking a roundabout.

    213 Old Street, EC1V 9NR

  • Flat White, W1

    Flat whites emerged in New Zealand in the '80s but it took a while for them to hit Britain. Flat White has been serving up its super velvety versions for nine years and is still deemed one of the best coffee shops in the capital.

    As well as superb coffee, go for: Artisan snacks, Bonsoy soya milk as a dairy-free option, friendly staff.

    Don't expect: Wi-fi or card machines.

    17 Berwick Street, W1F 0PT


Share this article


Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant.