The Travellers Guide to the Best Coffee Shops in Central London

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Introduction

Coffee. Who’d have thought a cup of hot, brown, bitter liquid would take the world so completely by storm? Coffee’s global domination has been a sight to behold. It’s rare nowadays that you’ll find a high street or shopping centre without at least a sprinkling of coffee shops. 

In most cases you’ll find devoted, passionate independents, run by people who see coffee as more than just a drink. They see it as a lifestyle - and we share their appraisal.

Coffee is a lifestyle. Once you delve into it, there is so much to be gained. From the humble Americano without sugar, through to artisan-crafted espressos, and even the ever-controversial pumpkin spiced latte, there’s a coffee for everyone. Yes: everyone, even though some people may not know it yet!

Whether you’re visiting Central London for work or leisure, for the first time, or you’re a seasoned traveller - there’s no denying that there’s always time to indulge in a great cup of coffee. 

We’re dedicated to helping you make the most of your visit to the capital city, so to enhance your experience - we thought to create a list of the best coffee shops you might want to explore during your upcoming trip.

A Guide to London’s Coffee Shops

We’ve put this guide together to connect you with the best coffee shops in London. We believe that anyone visiting our fine city should enjoy the best it has to offer, in every regard. From staying in a fantastically comfortable serviced apartment and seeing the best London attractions, to keeping recharged with the best brew available.

As a melting pot of people and cultures from around the world, London has a way of attracting the creme de la creme. We don’t just have restaurants, we have world-famous chefs with three Michelin Stars. We don’t just have attractions, we have some of the most recognisable and enduring cultural icons in the world. We don’t just have coffee, either. We have a smorgasbord of the best coffee shops in the world, made by impassioned baristas with something to prove.

We’ll start our guide to London coffee with Pimlico, because it’s close to our heart (figuratively and literally speaking). Then we’ll move on to some of the other London highlights. And let’s get something straight: if a coffee shop is on this list, we consider it worthy of making a special detour.

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The Best Coffee in Pimlico

We’re situated in the heart of Pimlico, and we firmly believe it’s one of London’s most exciting neighbourhoods. Steeped in history, boasting phenomenal architecture, and nestled neatly between some of the capital’s best-known areas, there’s a lot to be gained from wandering these streets.

Doing so with a cup of hot, lovingly-crafted coffee in your hands is the best way to do it.

Here are some of our favourite coffee shops in Pimlico:

1) The Roasting, Churton Street

Fairtrade, ethical, and quintessentially Italian. We don’t think there’s a better combination of words to associate with coffee.

Just a few minutes from Dolphin Square, The Roasting sets a high bar for coffee in Pimlico. Their creamy, aromatic drinks are crafted with love by a passionate and dedicated team, and we find ourselves going back time and time again.

These guys make a mean mango espresso macchiato. And if you’re not sure about that combination of flavours: Trust us. It works.

The Roasting is an eight-minute walk from Dolphin Square.

4.5 ⭐  from 318 reviews

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2) Brewhouse Pimlico, Lupus Street

This coffee is designed to be enjoyed. Brewhouses have cultivated a space where you can enjoy a morning coffee with friends, sit with a newspaper and a croissant, or get a portable pick-me-up to help you on your way.

The atmosphere inside is calm and inviting, and the overall vibe is no-frills good coffee. For a local coffee shop, you could do much worse!

Brewhouse makes a fine latte, with several options of milk if you’re not into dairy.

Brewhouse Pimlico is just three minutes from Dolphin Square.

4.2 ⭐  from 18 reviews

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3) Hatch 77, Wilton Road

This cute, trendy space serves good coffee and good food. What more can you ask for?

They also offer a wide array of breakfast foods, making Hatch 77 a fantastic start to your day. You'll find porridge and pastries, right up to traditional breakfasts and eggs Benedict.

We heartily recommend stopping by this charming little spot for your daily brew. It’s a pleasant stroll through Pimlico, taking you along some of the most famous and attractive streets.

Try a chai latte or, if you’re feeling adventurous, a matcha (yes yes, we know this is tea rather than coffee! But trust us: It’s delicious).

Hatch 77 is a 10-minute walk from Dolphin Square.

4.3 ⭐  from 35 reviews

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Coffee In Central London

Other excellent coffee shops in London

As we said earlier, inclusion in this section implies true coffee superiority. While some of these places are up to 35 minutes away from Dolphin Square, they are worth the journey. Each is located in an exciting and enticing area of London, too, so we highly recommend combining coffee with exploration.

We’ve drawn on our staff’s favourite coffee haunts and trawled through online coffee aficionado forums to bring you the following recommendations. Enjoy them.

1) Mouse Tail, Deptford

This charming little coffee shop is now one of several dotted around the capital, thanks to the success of the flagship store. You’ll find Mouse Tail coffee in Deptford - where it all began - as well as Canada Water, Borough High Street, Whitechapel Road, and West India Quay.

Their signature blend comes from Mission Coffee Works, and has delicate notes of milk chocolate, hazelnut, and tangerine. Each cup is made with love and care, and they make a fantastic introduction to the wider London coffee scene.

You’ll find the Deptford branch in a railway arch, too: An iconic and historical setting that’s very London. The address is Arch 3, Deptford Railway Station, Deptford High St, Deptford, London SE8 4NS, and it’ll take you about 35 minutes from Dolphin Square by public transport, but Deptford is definitely worth making a day of.

4.2 ⭐  from 204 reviews

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2) Ozone Coffee Roasters, Old Street

If you’re looking for a coffee shop that captures London’s 2020 cultural zeitgeist, Ozone ticks that box. This place is a distillation of the trendiest parts of the capital, done well.

This extends beyond the mere aesthetic, too. It covers their ethically-responsible coffee sourcing, and the deep relationships they build with partners at every step of the journey. A lot of coffee culture is about breaking away from the conglomerates who exploit suppliers to make artificially-high profits; Ozone places people over profit, and their coffee tastes better for it.

Try a regular espresso: You’ll be hard-pressed to find one better.

The address is 11 Leonard St, Old Street, London EC2A 4AQ, and it’ll take you about 25 minutes to get here from Dolphin Square.

4.5 ⭐ from 1975 reviews

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Coffee Roasting

3) Monmouth, London Bridge

Starting from a basement in Covent Garden in 1978, the Monmouth Coffee Company has carved out an incredible reputation. Now its flagship store, located in London's bustling Borough Market, attracts coffee connoisseurs from around the world. 

The beans for each cup of Monmouth are sourced from single farms, estates, and cooperatives, meaning that you get full insight into who grows, picks, and processes it. The love and energy that goes into sourcing the right coffee comes through in the taste of every cup. Two words describe Monmouth coffee: Must have.

We’d have to recommend an espresso from here, too. When you go to a coffee shop as good as this, you want to try the drink in its rawest form.

The address is Monmouth Coffee Company, 2 Park St, London SE1 9AB, and it’ll take you about 20 minutes to get here from Dolphin Square.

4.5 ⭐  from 582 reviews

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4) WatchHouse, Bermondsey

Bermondsey is one of many areas in London to be considered “up-and-coming” in recent years. As a result, there’s been an explosion of coffee shops, bars, and boutiques on the streets.

For the coffee lovers amongst us, though, this is nothing but good news. WatchHouse represents everything that coffee culture can - and should - be: Their mission, put simply, is "Modern Coffee". While acknowledging the benchmark "Speciality Coffee" provides, WatchHouse looks to do something different, and to craft a new coffee experience. They create excellent coffee, considered spaces, and a network of real people.

You simply must stop by to experience this for yourself. WatchHouse makes a sublime latte, which we absolutely recommend.

The address is 199 Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, London SE1 3UW, and it’ll take you about 35 minutes to get here from Dolphin Square.

4.5 ⭐  from 394 reviews

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5) Prufrock Coffee, Leather Lane

This coffee shop has humble roots, having been founded by a group of friends in the early 2010s. Their mission is to serve coffee and food that’s sure to make you smile, while supporting local producers and small-scale growers. When it comes down to it, you can't really ask for more from a coffee shop, can you?

Prufrock is a mainstay in the London coffee scene, and we definitely advocate a visit. Whether just for a cuppa or a full sit-down meal, we’re sure you’ll enjoy it.

The menu includes an “Ultimate” pumpkin spiced latte, so if you’re in the camp of people who consider this type of coffee legitimate (like us!), we recommend theirs.

The address is 23-25 Leather Ln, Holborn, London EC1N 7TE, and it’ll take you about 25 minutes by public transport from Dolphin Square.

4.4 ⭐  from 872 reviews

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6) The Attendant, Fitzrovia 

We’re showcasing the Fitzrovia branch here, but there are three Attendant stores in London. You’ll find the other two in Shoreditch and Clerkenwell.

Situated in a former Victorian toilet, The Attendant has truly showcased how different a space can be from its original purpose. The fixtures and fittings have been incorporated into the design rather than removed, guaranteeing a distinct and memorable coffee experience.

It’s not a gimmick, though. The Attendant more than delivers on the coffee front, so even if you get a cup to takeaway, you’ll leave with good memories.

Try a latte or flat white while you’re here, and ask for the swan design in your foam. 

The address is 27A Foley St, Fitzrovia, London W1W 6DY, and it’s about 20 minutes away from Dolphin Square.

4.5 ⭐  from 798 reviews

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London Coffee

7) Climpson & Sons Café, Hackney

Climpson & Sons bills itself as the "Original East London Café", and given the scene that's grown up around it, that's a proud accolade to hold. The name itself is taken from the previous owners of the building: Nobody called Climpson, or any of their sons, work here now.

Not only does Climpson & Sons offer a plethora of delicious and perfectly-prepared coffees, but they also offer barista classes, cocktails, and more. Coffee runs through the heart of their business, but they’re not afraid to mix things up (quite literally!) and try something a little bit different.

With that in mind, try an espresso martini. We know it’s cheeky, but why not! It can probably just about be classed as a coffee.

The address is 67 Broadway Market, Hackney, London E8 4PH, about 45 minutes from Dolphin Square. (Remember what we said earlier, though: Each coffee shop in this list is worth a detour!)

4.5 ⭐  from 406 reviews

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8) Look mum no hands!, Old Street

Coffee and cycling is, for many reasons, a match made in heaven. Look mum no hands! is a perfect showcase of how the two can intertwine.

Inside this trendy café/bar/bicycle workshop you'll find delicious brews served by smiling faces, and a fascinating backdrop. There’s more than coffee on offer, too: Look mum, no hands! is an exhibition space that hosts film screenings, art exhibits, and myriad other exciting events. 

Whether you’re into cycling or not, we recommend swinging by just to get a taste of what this coffee subculture brings to the table.

For the authentic cyclist experience, order a double espresso and pretend you need to squeeze out every drop of energy from your muscles before riding another 80 miles later today.

The address is 49 Old St, London EC1V 9HX, and it’s about 30 minutes from Dolphin Square.

4.4 ⭐ from 786 reviews

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Brew do you

London is up there with the best cities in the world for a lot of things, and we strongly believe that coffee is one of them. Whether you’re a fanatic member of the rich and varied culture that surrounds coffee, a curious onlooker, or just someone who likes a cheeky brew once in a while, we hope this guide has pointed you in the direction of the best London has to offer.

As you can see from the guide, there’s a rich and rewarding depth to the coffee scene. Gone are the days where you could choose between a greasy café and… another greasy café. Now are the days where the majority of London neighbourhoods have multiple independent roasters competing for your attention, and letting their innovation and passion run wild.

Not everyone is enthusiastic enough to plan their day around visiting a specific coffee shop, but for the ones in this guide, it’s worth doing so. Each is nestled in a vibrant and exciting part of London, so you’ll have all the more reason to stick around and explore after finishing your brew. Who knows what you might discover?

Then, after a day of coffee and exploration, you can head back to your serviced apartment in Dolphin Square and recharge for tomorrow. Pick up a Pimlico coffee the next morning, and then resume your wandering!