Coffee has a storied history in London, first arriving down the River Thames on boats from far-flung parts of the world way back in the 1600s. Today, the classic brew remains an integral part of London life, from convivial cafes-cum-social hubs to caffeine-fuelled enclaves for remote working.
While few of the city’s historic coffee houses still exist today, a new wave of small batch and speciality roasters have since landed in the city, giving you access to quality coffee on almost every street corner. From London Bridge to Deptford, Hackney to Chelsea, we’ve hunted down the best of the best in each London neighbourhood. Discover iconic institutions, late-night lattes, socially conscious producers and trailblazing roasters, which all come together to form the city’s exciting modern coffee scene.
The best coffee shops in East London
Best for: friendly, quality coffee from an OG of the London scene
Location: 23-25 Leather Lane, Farringdon, London, EC1N 7TE
Price: From 3.50 for a filter
Thanks mainly to its relaxed, unpretentious energy and staff who are serious about their coffee without being intimidating or overbearing, this Leather Lane cafe has established itself as one of the frontrunners in London’s artisan coffee scene. Prufrock sources its coffee from equally celebrated London roastery Square Mile, while also stocking a rotating list of blends from around Europe and beyond. Three filters change regularly, alongside a strong list of speciality teas.
Climpson & Sons
London Fields and Spitalfields
Best for: A weekday morning stroll
Location: 67 Broadway Market, London, E8 4PH
Price: 3 GBP for a V60 filter
This Hackney institution has been bringing well-crafted coffee to the masses since 2002 when it graduated from a stall on Broadway Market (which still exists today) to the current bricks-and-mortar cafe in an old butchers’ shop. The options are simple: espresso drinks, daily batch filter, and a range of grilled sandwiches, brekkies and toasts made with bread from much loved Dalston bakery Dusty Knuckle. Climpson And Sons was the name of the Butchers that used to be on the site, too, so it’s keeping a little bit of East London history alive. Warning: this place, along with the market, gets mobbed on a Saturday, so consider yourself warned.
Dark Arts Coffee
Best for: heavy metal coffee
Location: 1-5 Rosina Street, Homerton, London, E9 6JH
Price: 4 GBP for a bottle of house-made cold brew
The guys behind Dark Arts seamlessly blend semi-ironic Hells Angels chic with a love of the occult and an uncanny ability to make dumb coffee content that absolutely kills it on TikTok. In short: they’re fun, but their coffee is also really, really good. The roastery site in Homerton is where it all goes down, and well worth a trip for bags of beans and takeaways if you’re in the area and fancy hearing what kind of metal the roasting team are playing. There are also outposts in Shoreditch and Waterloo if you don’t want to travel that far east for a fix, too.
Allpress Espresso Roastery
Best for: a multisensory bean-to-cup experience
Location: 55 Dalston Lane, London, E8 2NG
Price: 2.50 GBP for a filter
A quiet calm comes over a well-versed Londoner when they see the retro-style Allpress font on the side of a takeaway cup: it’s simple, recognisable and – with more than ten years in the roasting game – close to iconic. Thankfully there are about 250 Allpress-serving cafes inside the M25, so getting your fix isn’t too tough, but we recommend going straight to the source. Alllpress’s Dalston roastery site allows you to witness the magic first person, and you can see (and smell) green beans becoming intoxicatingly flavourful small-batch roasts over a coffee or two and brunch.
The best coffee shops in London Bridge
Best for: After-hours vibes (coffee negroni anyone?)
Location: 2 London Bridge, London, SE 1 9RA
Price: 9.50 GBP for a coffee negroni
For dependable coffee and all-day buzz, look no further than Grind. There are eight sites around the city, most of which open for evenings from Thursday to Saturday, but the London Bridge flagship is your go-to for after-hours coffee and, equally importantly, coffee-infused cocktails. It’s open until 1am on weekends, so chase that turmeric latte with a coffee negroni.
Monmouth Coffee Company
Best for: Kid in a candy shop vibes
Location: 2 Park Street, London Bridge, London, SE1 9AB
Price: 3.10 GBP for a cappuccino
A stalwart of Borough Market since its regeneration in the late 1990s, this site is the grand dame of coffee shops in London, taking on a warm, slightly preppy vibe that’s quintessentially British without being overly twee. The coffee is obviously great too, and you can grab several different single-origin varieties bagged whole bean or ground, and also pick up a range of filters and espresso drinks to have in and takeaway.
The best coffee shops in North London
Best for: go for the pastries, stay for the coffee
Location: 19 Prebend Street, Islington, London, N1 8PF
Price: 3.20 GBP for a latte
This one’s kind of cheating because they’re definitely more of a bakery than a coffee shop, but you’re always going to grab a coffee to wash down a pastry or two… Popham’s is famous for outright ridiculous viennoiseries like their maple and bacon swirl and their marmite and schlossberger cheese pastry, but they also serve banging coffee from Ozone roasters too. Just be prepared to get in line for a bit at the weekend.
Best for: a cup that gives a little back
Location: Unit 109 Stable Street, Coal Drops Yards, Kings Cross, London, N1C 4DR
Price: 3.2 GBP for an americano
With its roastery based in a prison just outside London, Redemption is a little different from some of the other cafes and producers on this list. Yep, this small coffee chain’s story is a good one: the roastery was founded to help train offenders in skilled labour while in prison so they’re more likely to find work again when they get out. Redemption also helps ex-offenders back into work after they leave prison, either through its own cafes, or with community partners throughout London. There are ten outposts all across the city, but the Kings Cross branch is a great addition to Coal Drops Yard – a covered outdoor shopping mall that’s home to several concept stores and regular weekend markets like The Drops and the Independent Label Market, which sees some of the UK’s most forward-thinking indies sell limited edition vinyl.
The best coffee shops in South London
Best for: an early Sunday breakfast
Location: 224 Rye Lane, Peckham, London, SE15 4NL
Price: 2.70 GBP for a batch brew
There’s something incredibly nourishing about NOLA in Peckham. Maybe it’s the play of light and shadow on the stripped-back wood interiors and off-white walls; maybe it’s the coffee roasted by Bailies in Northern Ireland; maybe it’s the all-day brunch menu, or the fact we’re an absolute sucker for a grilled cheese and kimchi sandwich. Whatever it is, it works. This is a great spot to go early on a bright Sunday morning, whether you’re nursing a hangover or just feeling the end of weekend blues.
Best for: design-led interiors and experimental brews
Location: 36 Maltby Street, London, SE1 3PA
Price: from 3.50 GBP
Found in a repurposed railway arch in Bermondsey, the WatchHouse Roastery flagship on Maltby Street boasts an experimental laboratory with floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing customers a glimpse of the espresso experts at work. Order an artisan brew from the slick U-shaped central bar, designed by architectural studio Kirkwood McCarthy. WatchHouse also has sites in Tower Bridge, Bermondsey and Somerset House.
Best for: a south east London mooch
Location: Arch 7, Deptford Market Yard, Deptford High Street, London, SE8 4BX
Price: 3.30 GBP for a V60
Lomond is an all-female roastery based in South London with cafes in Deptford and Tooting. Their Market Yard Blend, named after the locale surrounding their Deptford site, is a blend of Columbian, Brazilian and Kenyan beans that gives off notes of cocoa, hazelnut, tangerine and blackcurrant. We’d recommend heading down to Market Yard for brunch before a browse of celebrated South London beer shop Hop Burns & Black, or a trip to one of Deptford’s many brewery taprooms like Villages, Little Faith and SALT.
Best for: a proper community cafe
Location: 70 Camberwell Church Street, London, SE5 8QZ
Price: 2.90 GBP for a flat white
Part cafe, part deli and general store, Lumberjack has been serving the people of Camberwell since 2016, sourcing its beans from industry leading roastery Assembly in nearby Brixton. The cafe is also partnered with London Reclaimed – a charity that finds paid work and apprenticeships for 16 to 24 year olds who are out of education and employment. It sits between South London Gallery and a row of unfussy but excellent restaurants and bars including much loved beer bar Stormbird and legendary Chinese restaurant Silk Road. Looks like you’ve got a day out on your hands…
The best coffee shops in Central London
Best for: a coffee with conscience
Location: 16 Sherwood Street, London, W1F 7BJ
Price: 3.10 GBP for a flat white
Ethical roaster Old Spike may have made its name down in the South East neighbourhood of Peckham, where it still has its roastery, coffee training campus and original cafe, but its newer site near Golden Square is a great spot in central if you want a top class and socially conscious cup. As a social enterprise, Old Spike is committed to getting homeless people into work, either by offering coffee training and work assisting at its roastery or by working as a barista in one of its three London shops.
Best for: A flat white, obviously
Location: 17 Berwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 0PT
Price: 3.20 GBP for a flat white
An Antipodean institution in the heart of London, this Soho coffee shop has been at the centre of the city’s scene since it became one of the first cafes in town to serve the eponymous Aussie short coffee way back in 2006. These days, Flat White’s house roast comes from Homerton’s Dark Arts (as mentioned above), and while the inside is small, the latte art is strong. Thankfully the seating spills out onto the street for a little extra space, too.
Best for: All-hours people watching
Location: 23-25 Old Compton Street, Soho, London, W1D 5JL
Price: 3.50 GBP for a black coffee
All neon lights, beaten up floor tiles and Italian football on the TV, this coffee shop isn’t about beautiful microfoam and tasting notes – it’s about sitting on the street with a strong black coffee and a cannoli and watching the world go by. There are only three hours a day when you can’t get a coffee at Bar Italia (between 3am and 7am, if you’re asking), so wait long enough and you’ll see actors, musicians and TV journalists walk past the door. Coffees are on the pricier side, but hey, a couple of quid is nothing when you’re funding an institution.
Algerian Coffee Stores
Best for: stepping into a retro shrine to all things coffee
Location: 52 Old Compton Street, Soho, London, W1D 4PB
Cost: 1.50 GBP for a cappuccino or latte
Possibly London’s original speciality coffee shop, Algerian Coffee Stores has been hawking coffee on Soho’s Old Compton Street since way before most people even knew what a cafetiere was. Inside this Soho institution, you’ll find more than 80 different varieties of coffee to take away, as well as over 120 loose leaf teas. Oh, and somehow it’s still only £1.50 for a cappuccino or latte – you don’t see that often in London.
Best For: A pick-me-up while shopping and gallery hopping
Location: 8 South Molton Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 5QQ
Price: 3.60 GBP for a Kyoto latte
More design concept store than coffee shop, this elegant, whitewashed and light-filled cafe is part of a Japanese-inspired global chain founded by Kenneth Shoji. Expect a sparse array of immaculate white bar seating and a barista working from inside a gigantic wooden wheel. % ARABICA elevates coffee to art, which is good considering the numerous Mayfair galleries and boutiques it sits right in the middle of. Try the Kyoto latte if you’re a coffee head, or the Matcha soft cream if you aren’t.
The best coffee shops in West London
Tomtom Coffee House
Best For: coffee and Cuban cigars
Location: 114 Ebury Street, Elizabeth Street, London, SW1W 9QD
Price: 3.95 GBP for a cappuccino or latte
Positioned on the corner of Ebury Street and Elizabeth Street in one of London’s smartest postcodes, Tomtom Coffee House boasts a variety of punchy beans from around the world, spanning Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rica and Ethiopia to name just a few. The lively site is recognisable by its seasonally changing facade, and it also has an alcohol license for those seeking something stronger. Further down Elizabeth Street, you’ll find Tomtom Cigars, where you can buy both coffee beans and Cuban cigars.
Best for: a pre-gallery pick-me-up
Location: 9 Duke Of York Square, Chelsea, London, SW3 4LY
Price: from 3 GBP for a seasonal filter
When it comes to London coffee, it would be remiss not to mention Caravan, the six-site chain of Antipodean speciality coffee roasters and restaurants that’s the catch-all for almost any occasion. Vibey enough for brunch with mates, easygoing enough to take your dad to dinner and classy enough that it makes a nice easy client lunch spot. Vardo is a sister restaurant to Caravan, set in a refined circular pavilion right outside the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. Sit out front on Duke Of York Square and watch the crowds pass by up and down King’s Road, and then maybe let your coffee (ours is a Caravan seasonal filter) roll into lunch, where there’s a list of grain bowls, sourdough pizza and Australian-inspired small plates.