Good evening beautiful souls,
Yesterday my dad and I were London bound to go on a coffee crawl. The aim of this trip was to do some research for dad’s coffeehouse which is currently closed for renovation.
The day didn’t start well as I left the house a little too late and then saw that as it was prime time, rush hour traffic was soo bad that I didn’t think I’d make it on time and would be faster walking. So off I set on my quickest power walk getting more and more panicky by the minute as time kept ticking on. I ran in bursts, my heart started pounding and the closer I got to the train station the more I felt like I was going to die aha. I can laugh now, but I felt terrible thinking I was going to ruin this fun day for dad and myself by not arriving on time. However I eventually did get to the station with about 6 minutes to spare; I was wheezing as I collected our tickets from the machine and when I sat down to try and catch my breath the sweat dripped down my face as the same time as relief washed over me – I had made it! I had made it! Phew!
So after that nightmare of a start to the day we settled down into our seats and I began our journey with a much needed nap. Once feeling more recovered I got out my kindle and began reading Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven until we got closer to London and we went over the plan for the day. At 11.45 we finally pulled into Kings Cross and set off to find the first cafe on our list.
Disclaimer: In the end everyone’s tastebuds are different and everyone has their own preferences – this is just my opinion of these coffee shops.
Coffee Shop no.1 – Attendant
I liked the decor of this cafe, especially all the greenery, and the staff were friendly enough, however I was rather disappointed with the coffee. Dad’s flat white was ok I think, but the filter coffee I had ordered was the last dregs from a batch brew. When I inquired about it not being a fresh V60 (which is what I would expect it to be at £4 a tiny cup) the waitress just told me I could have a fresh cup if it wasn’t hot enough as she was about to brew a fresh batch, so obviously I wanted the freshest coffee not the last dregs and asked to please have a fresh cup, but she just told me to try it first. I was rather annoyed at this but couldn’t be bothered to complain so just drank the coffee which tasted ok but wasn’t hot and had coffee grind left in the bottom which a filter coffee shouldn’t have either, at least not the amount that was in my cup. Later on in the day I saw numerous other coffee shops have ‘batch brew’ on their menus but they were not disguising this by naming it filter coffee and they had a far more reasonable price margin for a cup, between £2.60-£3.
Coffee Shop no.2 – Ozone Coffee Roasters
This was my favourite coffee shop, it had a nice vibe with an open kitchen and brew bar in the centre of the cafe like an island and the scent of fresh coffee being roasted downstairs wafting across every so often. They had the biggest variety of coffees to try here from Filter and Aeropress to Siphon coffee. However when asking for more information on the coffee the waitress wasn’t overly friendly and didn’t seem to know much about the coffee they serve which was a disappointment, simply saying ‘Yeah it’s not too acidic I like this one’ isn’t very informative. In the end Dad and I chose the Aeropress coffee and the filter coffee. We preferred the flavour profile of the Areopress coffee which was a bean from Ethiopia and had flavour notes of strawberry and praline, it really did taste like strawberry chocolates! What we weren’t too keen on was the coffee being served in glass jugs with glasses to drink out of. Dad prefers a nice porcelain cup, it felt too much like we were on a coffee tasting course, which to be fair on this day I guess we kind of were.
Coffee Shop no.3 – Fix Coffee
We didn’t stay here long. My stomach needed a coffee rest so dad just had an espresso which he described as far to acidic to be used as an espresso bean. The place seemed nice at first but wasn’t the cleanest after further inspection and again not all the staff seemed to know their coffees, which when you are serving more than your average espresso based drinks, you should really know so that you can advise and answer customers queries. This was probably my least favourite place.
Coffee Shop no.4 – Catalyst
After a short tube ride and a bit of a detour we eventually found our next stopping point. I tried a long black/americano here which I tasted great. The flavour was good and smooth no bitterness and they also roasted they’re own coffee beans in this little corner coffee shop. The only vegan thing they had was some bread, but it did come with delicious homemade jam which I thoroughly enjoyed. This was probably my second favourite coffee shop after Ozone.
Coffee Shop no.5 – Curators Coffee
And last but not least coffee shop no.5 where I couldn’t drink anymore coffee. So dad ordered a filter coffee which was a fresh V60 but had a steep £5 price tag on it. We could see their brewing station here and it surprised us that they as so many others have a massive gap between the filter and the jug they are filtering into as this is quickest way for coffee to loose it’s temperature when using the drip filter method. Anyway, that coffee lacked lingering taste and dad thought they might have used too little coffee for the amount of water, unless that was the taste they were going for. but the ratio for us, I tried a little sip, was too weak, so sadly a disappointing last cup of coffee.
Leon’s @ Kings Cross
After walking half the way back to Kings Cross to avoid the ridiculously busy oxford circus tube station and getting on at Regents Park instead, we eventually collapsed in Leon for a bit of food whilst waiting for our train home. I had a yummy vegan kale and beetroot falafel salad whilst dad enjoyed some rice and meatball dish. As we ate our food it seemed like we had only arrived in London an hour ago let alone 6! Time had flown by so quickly we only got to about half of the coffee shops that were actually on our list! However it was a great and informative trip all the same. I realised that in general these supposedly more geeky coffee shops with various brewing methods on offer sadly didn’t actually seem to be that informed on coffee (at least the waitressing staff) and in general there just seemed to be a bit of coffee passion lacking which was a shame. We have some good ideas of what we want to add and alter I our own coffee menus for the reopening and are excited to share our passion for coffee with the public again very soon!
Platform 9 3/4
Anyway all in all I had a nice time coffee crawling through central London and checking out how other cafes do their thing. To top it all off Platform 9 3/4 wasn’t busy so I could finally get a photo hehe!
Any other coffee geeks and snobs out there?! Have you tried any of these coffee shops? I’d love to know!