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reviewed Urban Angel

164 reviews · 240 followers · a year ago

Good serviceable flat whites with North Star coffee. Stunningly good service with broad Scottish smiles. A gorgeous sunny nook looking out over Hanover Street, and a proper restaurant at the rear, with a strong focus on local food. Salads especially recommended.

reviewed Baba Souks

164 reviews · 240 followers · a year ago

Smooth work with the Roasting Shed espresso blend, and did a nicely executed stumpy on request. Friendly bright barista and decent front-of-house. Calm chill atmosphere, Arabian carpets and a U-shaped built-in sofa area at the bright sunny rear. Excellent addition to Broadway Market.

reviewed Halo

164 reviews · 240 followers · 3 years ago

Warm friendly staff, beautiful north-easterly aspect, and all-day sun, light-filled and pleasant. Busy at the weekend - can be a rush. The staff are world-class in attentiveness as far as cafes go - our waitress had near-ESP abilities to know when we needed anything. Our corn fritters and feta avocado rye toast were excellent, the former fluffy and ungreasy and the latter richly tasty. And yet. The coffee is truly poor. Flat whites come in two sizes: too large, and even larger. It turned out they could do one in a tulip cup, but by that point I should have known what would come next. Bitter, burnt and hiding miserably under 2 cm of pure white foam. Go for the food and the atmosphere, but avoid the coffee.

reviewed FreeState Coffee

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

FreeState is a pleasant space, conveniently sited near High Holborn, east-facing and light. I ordered a flat white, which came in a cute blue cup, the correct size (about 6 oz I would say) - but the coffee, made with Union beans, was grim. Nasty, burnt flavour - really unpleasant. I took it back for a friendly word with the barista, who was lovely about it and suggested it would be better with the Workshop single-origin (which I think was Costa Rican; I failed to make a note). Indeed, the second rendition was excellent; rich, velvety and nicely extracted, with a sweet fruity undertone which enriched the flat white. Very much worth asking for a re-do. The staff were mixed in terms of friendliness and focus. But the two baristas were friendly and helpful to a fault. The food looked fine, but as I was in the mood for a pastry, and the pastries looked a little burnt, I decided to give it a miss. I'll be back for the coffee nevertheless - but making sure I stick to the single-origins.

reviewed The Proud Archivist

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

So, a return to The Proud Archivist, several months later, to give it another try. This time, my flat white came out very hot, with over-bubbled milk combined with over-extracted coffee. It was bitter though not strong, and not a pleasant coffee. So I took it back to the counter to have a very quiet friendly word with the barista, who promised to make another. In due course my second flat white arrived. This time around the microfoam was indeed micro rather than macro. The temp was about right. The texture was very good - not velvety but not far from it. The flavour however was unbalanced and disappointing; it was weak, thin and slightly sour - off-key. Perhaps the extraction, or perhaps the coffee itself. Still, a real improvement on my first coffee - and an even greater improvement on my previous visit to the Proud Archivist. (My coffee rating this time around is based on the second coffee only.) I spoke again with the barista, who was friendly and welcomed feedback, and suggested next time he could do the coffee with ristretto shots, which indeed may be worth a try. I'll report back when I next go. The staff this time were all friendly and competent, apart from one lass away with the fairies, standing in the middle of the space in front of the bar, blocking the thoroughfare and oblivious to customers. Worth noting too: this time around no service charge was imposed - unlike my previous visit, when the bill came to a record-setting £3.15 for a botched flat white.

reviewed Foxcroft & Ginger (Whitechapel)

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

Foxcroft & Ginger's second outpost is a big, airy, vaguely industrial space on Mile End Road. As far as coffee goes, it's not impressive. My flat white was unbalanced, with little flavour, and the milk wasn't properly combined with the coffee, which made for an odd texture. The seating is very comfortable - I would recommend the booths - and there's plenty of space and light. The staff were generally friendly and helpful. Our coffees were brought to us at the table, along with water (in a laboratory flask). Presentation generally was a very mixed bag. The coffee cups were spattered heavily with sprayed espresso from the machine (see pic). The "latte art" (I deeply dislike that term) was painstakingly done. Indeed, more carefully done than the coffee itself. As an aside, I'm not a fan of "latte art". Apart from the try-hard, silly name (art is about making you think, for pity's sake, not about making patterns in milk froth), I find it's usually about fussing over the superficial to the exclusion of the substance. In any case, this was ultimately a botched effort. Despite the time that had gone in to constructing a fern pattern, the coffee had been slopped around in the cups in its trip to our table, so the microfoam was distinctly smaller than the cup by the time it reached us. The set-up behind the counter was of a bar, with prominent beer taps and a few desultory bottles of wine. There was food at 3 pm, but not much - largely the counter looked had that bereft, Soviet look to it - "We're running out of food, so this is what's left, comrade". Heigh-ho. There wasn't anything really at F&G to bring me back to Mile End, but for residents I expect it will make a welcome change from the nearby coffee chains and chicken shops. If I lived round the corner no doubt I'd be glad of it and avail myself of the atmosphere and, perhaps, cold drinks.

reviewed The Canteen, at the Laundry

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

The Canteen is a restaurant set-up, and although they have the shiny La Marzocco and serve Allpress, the coffee clearly isn't their strongest point. My flat white came in a clunky 10 oz cup, although as requested the coffee itself was only 6 oz. Their first try came out noticeably over-extracted and over-heated. I had a friendly chat to find out the extraction time, which at 30 seconds was clearly at the long end. So we gave it another go - the second time round the coffee was off-key again, but this time sour and presumably under-extracted. I hadn't the heart to find out the extraction time, but wrote it off as a lesson learned. I can see myself coming back here for an al fresco lunch some time though - there's a pleasant terrace at the front, with planters and summer sunshine despite the northerly aspect, owing to the low height of the building. The interior space is long and nicely furnished, calm and fairly stripped-back, with a high, exposed concrete ceiling, a long timber-clad bar a range of types of seating including arm-chairs (and even rocking-chairs) and in-built sofas. Along the west wall is a series of printers' type cases (typesetting trays). The refectory table where I drank my flat white comprised four long planks, clearly long and well used, rough-surfaced and warm-coloured, surrounded by bentwood chairs. It's a likeable space, and I wish them well. I wouldn't return for the coffee however.

reviewed Hayden's

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

A pleasant place with friendly staff, nice to while away an hour after wandering around Rye - but poor, over-roasted, over-extracted, over-heated coffee. About what we expected, but all in all the best option in Rye that we could find.

reviewed Origin Espresso Bar

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

Famed Cornish roasters Origin currently have a coffee stand at Selfridge's in London - a stand with ambitions, which may yet graduate to its own space elsewhere and become a permanent outpost in the coffee-fuelled capital. It's a small set-up, in the Selfridge's Foodhall (most easily accessible from Orchard Street, not Oxford Street) - there's a diminutive slate-topped counter, packed with a water purifier, Mahlkönig grinder, a Chemex, V60 filters lined up on plumbing pipes, and behind it a matching counter with the La Marzocco machine. Our flat whites were beautifully crafted, from Origin's Brazil seasonal espresso, 75% pulped natural and 25% natural - acidity was accordingly very mild, and the coffee had a noticeably sweet caramelly mellowness and full rich flavours. Cornish friendliness was part of the deal, and despite being in a food-hall it was a very enjoyable twenty minutes or so with our coffees and hearing more about Origin's Cornwall brew-house and the fazendas where our coffee was grown. Stop by and try them out - with luck they'll be moving to a cafe space in London before long.

reviewed Spruce Goose

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

Under the flight path leading in from the south to Wellington's hair-raising airport (raised from the sea-bed by an earthquake only moments ago in geological time), Spruce Goose sits proudly with its eyes on the sky. In the former National Airways Corporation terminal, smartened up and streamlined, this typically all-day Wellington cafe dishes out victuals and drinkables to the hungry and thirsty. The food is delicious - we had a whole range of brunch dishes, all excellent. The coffee is good; some of us had better cups than others, but no one was unhappy. My flat white was decently extracted, slightly too hot, with good microfoam and nice texture. The staff are adept jugglers, and managed a fairly full house of large families like ours replete with babies and the elderly, as well as couples, a crowd of teens and everything in between. The view over Lyall Bay was good, but as Spruce Goose is on the north side of the road, it's not close or uninterrupted like the view at Maranui Cafe. Much more space and chance of a table though, especially for bigger groups.

reviewed Maranui Cafe

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

Ah, beloved Maranui, with the best view - over the surf, and surfers, of Lyall Bay - as well as knock-out brunches, and decent coffee. It was here where Mr Fig was converted to coffee, by dint of a proper New Zealand flat white, without a trace of bitterness or scalded milk, unlike his northern-hemisphere experiences. It's sometimes served a little too hot though, and on occasion I've found it slightly under-extracted. The microfoam can also get a bit thick and over-fluffed. So the coffee's not the best in town, but you'll forgive them that, as they're friendly (in a highly efficient way), the food is fortifyingly delicious, and the view is wonderful, sunny or stormy (especially stormy!)

reviewed The Shack

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

In a gracious and clearly much-loved wooden verandah'ed Victorian villa, complete with tongue-and-groove ceiling and plentiful light, The Shack knock out splendiferous brunches to a happy crowd, along with very good coffee - our flat whites made with Rocket coffee were rich, velvety, beautiful and had an gentle but appreciable lip-smacking acidity. The food is far and away the best in Raglan that we found during the week we stayed (although check out also the fish and chips at the wharf, and the tacos and burritos from the cart at the end of Volcom Lane).

reviewed Rock-It

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

Rock-It is a likeable combination of cafe, bar and surf shop. It's on the outskirts of Raglan town, on the road to the harbour-mouth, Manu Bay and Whale Bay, set up in an old shearing shed, as I can say from experience. There are some ragged cushions fashioned from wool-sacks, a stunning psychedelically decorated surfboard by local hero Mark Camezind, and and an extravagantly graffitied tongue-and-groove dado around the seating area. The exterior is ideal for bigger gatherings, and in particular summer parties. The coffee is unspectacular though - it's a bit rough around the edges, somewhat over-extracted and with over-bubbled microfoam. None of these flaws was too prominent, but they came together to produce a flat white that fell short. Rock-It get delicious cronuts delivered regularly by courier from Loaf bakery in Auckland, and do decent brunches as well. Worth stopping by; just don't hold out high hopes for the coffee.

reviewed The Wren

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

Hmm, back at the Wren today for a work meeting, late morning. Offhand reception by the staff, who continued chatting while my colleague and I waited. But at the Wren they do bring the coffee to you rather than making you stand around for it, so our coffees were delivered to our table. My flat white was mediocre, this time around - at the hotter end of the right temp, verging into a little too hot, with messy and somewhat fluffed-up milk on top, and fairly roughly constructed. Texture not great. Definitely not as good as my first or second visits, which is disappointing.

reviewed Notes (Moorgate)

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

What a boon for the City! Finally, a cafe with proper coffee in a location with visibility - and particularly as Moorgate suffers (to a greater extent than elsewhere of the City) a dearth of anything but chain coffee bars around. This spot needed the boost, and it seems to know it. When I stopped by a couple of weeks ago, on the cafe's second day since opening, it was already evident that the City-zens who've made do with the likes of the Caffè Nero in CityPoint have taken Notes to their heart. It's not surprising they fell upon it immediately, with its hugely appealing light-filled curved cafe space, double-height wraparound windows, beautiful inlaid wood bar, warm wood tables and chairs, arresting arachnid light-fitting, displays of wine bottles, fresh tall lilies, outdoor tables in the morning sun, and an intriguing arrangement with a projector showing animé films (silently) on the white-tiled back wall. But we must hope that it will be the coffee that converts them, mind body and soul. It's been grim around Moorgate, but things are looking up. My flat white with Notes's Bokasso was fragrant and pleasantly acidic, with a rich fruity flavour, and a creamy rather than velvety texture, worth taking time to enjoy. The staff were uniformly warm and friendly, and willing to talk about the coffee, the space and everything else. The food is a very simple but competent line-up from what I saw at 11 a.m. - fresh fruit, pastries and cookies, sandwiches and salads arriving for display and chilling. They're also licensed, a sensible step in the City, and no doubt one that will raise their profile further. Their hours reflect this, and bring the City closer to acquiring the ideal I cherish: a central, all-day cafe with excellent coffee, food and wine, with a calm bright interior, indoor and outdoor seating, and unfussy service.

reviewed The Modern Pantry

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

Beautifully crafted coffee in a perfect setting, in St John's Square. Not to mention wonderful food and an excellent wine list (especially the sherries, perfect on a hot day with their spiced nuts and marinated olives). Basically, a standard New Zealand restaurant, relocated to Clerkenwell - indoor/outdoor, open all day, serving everything from breakfast to supper, wine, coffee, snacks and cakes, and getting everything right. All the flat whites I've had have been beautifully done. Watch out for their hours though - they're really an almost-all-day cafe-restaurant; they close between the morning and afternoon services during the week, and between afternoon and evening services at the weekend: closed 11 am to 12 noon from Monday to Friday, and between 4 and 6 pm on weekends.

reviewed Curators Coffee Gallery

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

The long-anticipated younger sister to Curators Coffee Studio in the City, Curators Coffee Gallery is clearly the result of tremendous talents in coffee, design and craftsmanship put to work. It's vastly bigger than the team's City outlet, and now there's scope to linger over their wonderful coffee rather than perching on a stool to down it. The hot morning I visited militated against espresso drinks, and I plumped for the cold-brew, with Nude's El Filo beans, which was notably flavoursome, with shades of appealing tropical fruit. I could also have chosen from Chemex, V60, cold drip and of course the usual espressos - and, as the cold curated options, the iced cascara with lime, the espresso punch with muddled strawberries and mint, and iced tea. And the food line-up looked very good - in particular the breakfast torta of refried beans, smashed avocado and fried egg on cornbread. There are Crosstown doughnuts as well, and a range of other eatables coming from a full-sized kitchen downstairs. Also downstairs is more seating in a very quiet space, with natural light from the sizeable light-well between the shop frontage and the pavement; and a gorgeous lavatory, with flowers and a beautiful Victorian photograph of a wahine that made me feel at home. Highly worthwhile - recommended.

reviewed Workshop Coffee Co. (Fitzrovia)

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

The latest and the most beautiful of Workshop's steadily expanding empire, their Fitzrovia coffee shop is a jewel-box - the clean classical lines of the exterior, the hand-made sea-blue rippled glass light-shades, the parquet floor, the ledges of brass inlaid with antique tiles, the shimmering, iridescent Madagascan labradorite granite counter and side tables. A rough concrete column, brick wall and exposed ceiling utilities pleasingly mix the raw with the cooked. And that's before we even get to the coffee. Yes, the coffee. Near-enough perfect, my flat white with the newest Cult of Done was rich, velvety, darkly fruity, and good enough to drown in. Beautifully and carefully constructed. The staff were friendly and unobtrusive, and happy to take me through the other coffee possibilities - Aeropress (with other hand filters to come in time), and batch brew. The food offering is short and sweet, much like that at Workshop's Marylebone shop: simple baguette sandwiches assembled in the kitchen downstairs, and a few pastries, muffins and brownies sourced from Yeast, Little Bread Pedlar and Sally White. Go, go - it's really quite marvellous.

reviewed Fingers Crossed

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

Fingers Crossed is a rough-edged cutie brightening a corner of north Stoke Newington. Behind the counter are antipodeans, and the atmosphere is very laid-back and friendly. The wooden tongue-and-groove walls have been left with a cheery patchwork of paint reflecting their previous uses. The space is likeably crammed with this and that - stacked stools topped with a cake-stand, bags of coffee, a dried arrangement of black leafy stems and cotton branches, half a mannequin, and so on. The menu of Australasian standards is interesting and appealing, having the chef's stamp on it: including a scrambled eggs on truffled mushrooms with thyme and parmesan; a breakfast trifle of muesli, yoghurt, mango and berry compote; also ricotta hot-cakes with passionfruit syrup, berry compote, mascarpone and flaked almonds; and a sourdough sandwich of confit duck with plum jam and rocket. The menu changes regularly. With my coffee I had a gluten-free jaffa brownie cheesecake: meltingly delicious. My flat white though went awry; it seemed to be a case of an unlucky batch of coffee (Hasbean's Jailbreak blend). The first incarnation came out faintly sour, and very thin textured. I had a good chat with the barista (ex-Hackney Bureau), who listened intently; she'd used a 30-second extraction, so sourness didn't make a lot of sense. She went back to the machine for a do-over; upon which she made six more coffees in succession, finding that the beans were very much leaning thin and sour. This was despite the fact that the total dissolved solids were right. After that huge amount of work, she produced a flat white which was beautifully extracted and flavourful, though still lacking in mouth-feel - which I enjoyed all the same. I admired her knowledge and determination, and was grateful for all the effort. A very thoughtful, determined and experienced barista. All in all I'm impressed with Fingers Crossed. The staff are doing sterling work, and the food is just wonderful.

reviewed Coffee To Go

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

The truth is, it was 36 degrees in the shade, and I couldn't face a filter or a flat white - but ordered an iced long black, made with Mokxa's Brazilian Bob-o-link and Burundi Ngogomo blend. It was so good, deeply chocolatey and lightly acidic, I came back later in the day for an iced caffè latte, with the same blend - mellower with the milk, yet still deeply flavoursome and delicious. And exactly what I needed. The barista was friendly and very clued up about what he was doing - and working with some gorgeous equipment: a Nuova Simonelli Aurelia and a nice Mahkönig EK43. He didn't speak a lot of English (the blame of course lies entirely with me for having poor-to-nil French), and when I asked him about cold-brew he hadn't heard of it, and my cousin's explanation in French didn't produce any flash of recognition. We had places to go and things to do, so we didn't sit around, but the place is just marvellous - a beacon in France - and I will definitely go back next time I'm in Provence. It's a shame about the boring, Anglo name though! (speaking as a boring Anglo myself...)

reviewed Lizzy's on the Green

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

Lizzy's is a nice clean-lined wooden kiosk in Newington Green, with a few outdoor tables on its decked terrace, serving coffee along with a simple food menu. Joy of joys, they're working with Alchemy, and doing good work too. My first flat white sadly came out far too hot and slightly over-extracted; I mentioned it quietly to Lizzy, and it transpired the barista was "in training", so Lizzy herself made me a second cup - which was delicious: nicely extracted, very warm but not over-heated, and with a decent microfoam. They only have paper cups, unfortunately; so it would be worth taking a Jococup or similar. There are also wraps, home-made soup, quiches and cakes, and (in summer) gelato. Lizzy is a delight; friendly and very clued-up, and clearly a central fixture of the local scene; while I was there she was chatting with everyone who came in like old friends. Very worthwhile, and head-and-shoulders the best coffee at Newington Green.

reviewed Kaffeekirsche

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

Kaffeekirsche is a roaster and coffee shop owned by the same people behind Mundvoll, the all-day cafe next door. Considering coffee is their entire job though, they're not much cop at it. The beans were somewhat over-roasted, and noticeably over-extracted in my flat white (which at least they'd heard of). Both coffee and milk had been over-heated, though not scalded as we found in Bonn. The microfoam was thick, muddy and messy in appearance, and the drink was served in a cheap moulded ribbed-glass tumbler (the type you would find in a hospital canteen or similar, bought by the hundred for about EUR 15) - though it was the right size for a flat white - about 6 oz. The space was fairly pleasant, with a series of rough wood refectory tables with benches, a collection of stools and nice built-in window tables, fresh irises, distressed paint rear wall, and wooden floorboards. However there's more comfortable seating and proper food available at Mundvoll next door, and Kaffeekirsche are happy for you to take your coffee (in a cup) next door with you to eat.

reviewed Kaffeerad

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

After our dreadful coffees at Frau Holle Cafe-Roller (Kreuzkirche), and given that both Kaffeekontor and Der Kaffeeladen (apparently the best in Bonn, for what it's worth) were shut, we continued our tour of Mr Fig's old haunts in Bonn, holding out little hope of finding proper coffee. But at the southern stretch of Poppelsdorfer Allee we found a gorgeous wooden coffee trike, fitted out promisingly with a shiny Wega machine and a nice Mahlkönig grinder. Thinking ourselves in luck, we ordered again a cortado and caffè latte; but the coffee was only a notch above Frau Holle's hideous brew - over-extracted, overheated, with scalded milk - though noticeably less ghastly than our first coffees of the day. The owner was chatty and likeable (I think; he and Mr Fig were shooting the breeze in German while I wandered the beautiful setting of the Allee and the grounds of Poppelsdorfer Schloß with my cortado), but again the coffee was poor. It would be several days later, in Berlin, before we found drinkable stuff.

reviewed Frau Holle Cafe-Roller (Kreuzkirche)

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

Really awful. What a bad introduction to German coffee. We'd had recommendations for Kaffeekontor and Der Kaffeeladen (also on Beanhunter, though as of June 2014 still awaiting reviews); but both of those are shut Sundays and Mondays (our two days in Bonn), so we made do with what we could find. And very poor it was. Frau Holle seems to be a collection of carts dotted around Bonn, with young friendly staff serving dreadful coffee. The type of thing you would have got in London in 2005, or in New Zealand in 1985. In our cortado and caffè latte, the beans were over-roasted and badly over-extracted, and the milk was scalded (underneath the scald it tasted like long-life milk too). Both were served at the temperature of lava. Avoid.

reviewed Bygga Bo

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

Bygga Bo is a little corner of Sweden in Walthamstow, a recent and desperately, desperately needed addition to the area. It's friendly and welcoming, in a former hairdresser's site with light-bulb-bedecked mirrors and a couple of built-in hair-dryer hoods retained, along with an eighties brass-panelled ceiling complete with electrical sockets. The coffee is decent - it's made with Climpson & Sons beans, on a La Marzocco; but the machine had apparently been un-co-operative that morning and needed adjustment - my first flat white was badly over-extracted, but after politely asking for a re-make, the flat white they produced was good. Just slightly over-heated, with a level of froth in the microfoam (though certainly not enough to qualify as a strong caffè latte). They serve in pretty china cups, but lacked for saucers at the time, and produced a cute side plate to stand in. They work from a proper kitchen and make their own appealing food, mainly sandwiches with meatballs (obviously), beetroot, smoked salmon, and several other tasty options - but crucially produce wonderful Swedish pastries - I can definitely recommend the kanelbullar (cinnamon buns). The space is pleasant; as soon as you're past the dark-tinted front windows, it's bright and calm, with nice sixties-style formica tables, fresh flowers, and a wall-full of Swedish (and Swedish-style) items for sale, from retro tea-cups and cushions, handmade shoes to lotions and children's clothing. More awaits: there are several more tables on their sizeable back terrace, with bright annuals and saplings in pots, and an indoor playroom behind the terrace. Swedish flags in various corners complete the scene. Clearly very popular with a proper-coffee-starved crowd in Walthamstow, it's particularly welcomed by local mothers and babes from what I can see. Very glad to see its arrival; I'll be back in the coming months to see how the coffee is coming along.

reviewed Campbell & Syme

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

Campbell & Syme is a new roastery in East Finchley, which for the present operates as a cafe two days a week (but watch their Twitter feed, and this Beanhunter listing, for an extension to their cafe hours soon). I made a little pilgrimage one Friday recently to try their filter offering, and hugely enjoyed the hospitality, commentary and insight of Andy, behind the counter. With time and care he made me a V60 filter of washed Buf Remera from Rwanda, an appealing complex dark-flavoured bean, very rich and chocolatey. In fact, chatting with Andy about the flavours, he made me a second, *and* gave me a third he'd made earlier that morning - so I could try the Rwandan very warm, somewhat warm, and room-temp, and enjoy the varying intensity and balance of flavours. The cafe space is unassuming; calm and pleasant with a few tables, a good soundtrack and various coffee paraphernalia. The star of the show is the roaster, a 6 kg royal-blue Giesen roaster, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Thomas the Tank Engine. Andy is a delight, friendly and knowledgeable, and even recommended some places in Zurich and one in Geneva for my upcoming Switzerland trip. A truly worthwhile trip, and a great new spot. Watch out for their beans at their cafe and further afield in the coming months.

reviewed Platform

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

The A-board that Platform put out on the street promises great coffee. The reality though is not impressive. The beans are from Algerian Coffee Stores, which is a bad start. The expected burnt flavour came through in my flat white despite it being a weak cup (single shot, I think) and served a bit too large (8 oz). No flavours other than burn were noticeable. The microfoam was beautiful, but everything underneath was disappointing. In the background, at 10 am, were club versions of a mix of heavily played old pop like Fine Young Cannibals. The main space on the second floor is pleasant and airy, south-facing, with large light-wood tables, benches and stools carefully and beautifully painted with a simple geometric scheme. The walls, ceiling and windows all look largely unchanged since the sixties, other than a scrub-down and basic painting-over in white. There is a view over the railway line south towards the City (hence "Platform", presumably). A few desultory pot-plants complete the picture. There is a terrace somewhere as well, which after my coffee I felt disinclined to seek out. The coffee-maker was perhaps not a morning person; he never smiled once.

reviewed CanDo Coffee (Paddington)

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

On the way to Paddington station I happily stumbled across this canal-boat coffee purveyor, using Monmouth beans - and what a nice surprise. CanDo is a not-for-profit social enterprise which trains people in need of a leg-up, and employs them in its coffee carts and canal-boat. It was founded by Mark Johnson, who used to live on the streets of Westminster, and has now found a way to make a huge contribution to London - and to continue to raise the profile of independent, London-roasted coffee in the west of the city, where it's thin on the ground. CanDo coffee carts can be found at Hyde Park Corner, Queensway, Regent's Park, Horseferry Road, St John's Wood, and occasionally elsewhere. The canal-boat ranges between Regent's Canal and Grand Union Canal. (The whereabouts are available on CanDo's Twitter account daily - @coffeecando.) I had a happy kickstart to my morning at Regent's Canal with CanDo's witty, cheerful man on the spot, who whipped me up a flat white that kept me going for hours. A cause hugely worth supporting.

reviewed Guardian Coffee

164 reviews · 240 followers · 5 years ago

I think I must have caught #guardiancoffee on a bad day - my flat white made with Nude's East blend came out more than a tad bitter; so I chatted with them about the grind and extraction time, which they said they were in the process of re-adjusting for the day. So they gave it another try - and this time it was a little sour and clearly under-extracted. So, not much coffee hashtag goodness for me. Still, the staff are candid and personable, and the space is calm and light. There is a terrace as well - although given the sheer throngs of lorries, buses, heavy construction vehicles and other diesel-powered traffic on Shoreditch High Street I value my lungs too much to avail myself of it, or indeed to stay at #guardiancoffee for more than a short while. The cafe is run by Nude under Guardian branding, and all the boxes seem to be ticked - equipment, training, beans. So I'll chalk this one down to misfortune, and come back another time.

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