The super-friendly baristas and laid-back atmosphere belie a coffee shop that applies serious science to the art of caffeine. Square Mile coffee beans are the preferred weapon of choice, and roasts are deliberately lighter than you’d find elsewhere to allow more delicate flavours to come through. There’s also a dedicated brew bar that offers a rotating menu of filter coffees. Every morning, the baristas test and adjust the grinder settings and coffee-to-water ratios in order to ensure that you’re getting a technically perfect cup. While we don’t pretend to understand the wizardry behind it all, we will say this: We are yet to drink a Notes coffee that is anything but excellent. They also hold fortnightly jazz nights.
Notes, 31 St Martin’s Lane WC2N 4ER; 020 7240 0424
Monmouth Coffee Company
When it comes to artisan coffee, Monmouth is one of the pioneers, and for many Londoners, it’s still the best. The sustainably sourced coffee beans come from single-farm estates and are accompanied with tasting notes akin to a lengthy biography. Queues (understandably) remain impressively snake-like all day long. We love the larger Monmouth outside Borough Market, with its cone-filter bar and communal table. Definitely a must-stop before, after, and midway through a visit to the market.
Monmouth Coffee Company, 2 Park Street, Borough, SE1 9AB
This coffee-haven now boasts three outposts across the capital, none of which have a name above the door — just the street number. Whether you want espresso-based drinks or brewed coffees made in a drip cone or Aeropress, Tap’s anonymous outposts will make it happen with considerable flair, and beans are sourced from roasters including Has Bean and Square Mile. We love the cosy original on Rathbone Place, which is absolutely perfect for taking refuge in when the temperature drops outside.
Tap Coffee, 26 Rathbone Place, W1T 1JD; 020 7580 2163
Photos courtesy of Notes and Tap Coffee