From the perspective of a coffee lover
Even though I’m a Brit, London has always been a city that I’ve never really had the opportunity to venture to – only a handful of times in my 25 years! However, I wanted to make this trip different. One of my closest friends took the reins with planning everything we wanted to do. From the best surprises, to spending time with old faces, to sweaty sightseeing in the 35-degree sun, almost everything was covered. My job however was to search for coffee shops to conquer. So, here it is. A coffee lover’s rendition of a weekend in London.
Upon arriving at King’s Cross at the height of Brunch time, I knew we needed somewhere close to eat. Even though we couldn’t book, we scoured a few blogs to look for coffee shops and took a chance on Half Cup. The Bloomsbury location in which we visited is the original of two locations, the other being In Barts Square.
Their website speaks of “getting away from the busy life of London” and I must say it does just that. The aesthetics lean into the realm of whimsical, with watercolour-like Murals on the walls alongside natural woods that bring something natural to contrast the bustling urban streets of the city.
Did I mention whimsy and nature? Well, I must be talking about the coffee and food too! I once again ordered my quintessential oat flat white (whilst finding out that my Yorkshire accent is slightly hard for Londoners to understand – sorry!) and it was the perfect caffeine punch I needed. Bold and made with love, what could be better than that?
The food though – what a vibe! What I loved about the menu is that you could go for something stereotypically English all the way up to something more millennially aesthetic. I, myself, had the hash benedict, which I believe perfectly fit in the middle. It had that traditionalism of an eggs benedict with that natural and modern twist of hash browns instead of bread and a little added haloumi.
On the sunny Saturday morning, the plan of action was to saunter around the British Museum. If they had a penny for each time I mentioned the Rosetta Stone, let’s just say they would be very rich. But first thing’s first – coffee and breakfast.
The coffee shop of choice this morning was a quick walk around the corner from our Airbnb in Holborn. They have quite a few locations in the city, but one thing is common in all of them. Redemption Roasters pride themselves on being BOLD, and I couldn’t agree more. As the world’s first prison-based coffee company, their mission is to offer education and employment in the coffee shop industry. So inspiring! Upon looking on their site, I didn’t even realise they sold coffee in Nespresso pod form! As a Nespresso fanboy, you know I gotta buy me some of these too.
My order of choice was a soy flat white (didn’t want to relive the oat milk trauma of yesterday tbh) with the Salmon and Poached Eggs. A fresh and crisp morning needed some fresh and crisp food at match. The heat was yet to arrive, and at this time of the morning, it was the best temperature for a warm coffee.
I have also recently fallen in love with pastries and just loved the Pain Au Chocolat and knew I just had to buy one. They were just looking at with their pastry version of puppy dog eyes and I just couldn’t say no. Why would I say no anyway?
Sunday was sadly the day we had to travel back home, so it was the perfect day to have a chilled jaunt around Borough Market and the surrounding streets. Roasting Plant, however, was a great first stop before the wandering could begin.
Another roastery with many locations around London, Roasting Plant was like a coffee shop from my dreams. It really does exude modern minimalism. Silos line one wall filled with the freshest of coffee beans. You probably couldn’t get any fresher! Each tube chock-full of a variety of blends that had just been roasted and ready for the grind, giving the coffee a fresher, smoother flavour. Each blend has its own story which you can read at the café itself or on their website.
As this was my first time here, I decided to opt for a flat white with their classic Roasting Plant Blend. With notes of chocolate, plum and spice, it was a bold enough blend that I could pick out the flavours amongst the milk as well. It’s so versatile that they even recommend adding hints of their other blends into it too!
It was early Sunday afternoon, and the August heatwave was in full force. The gang had been walking around the market and decided to take a stroll along the river. We ended up at Tower Bridge and found WatchHouse down the cutest cobbled road. What a perfect opportunity to take a break from the heat!
I ordered myself, as well as everyone else, an iced latte to cool myself down. It was conveniently accompanied by a little place card detailing the blend of our coffee, in which case was the 1829 Espresso. With notes of red apple, pistachio, and milk chocolate, it was said to be the perfect base for milk coffees, and I couldn’t agree more. I may even have to buy Nespresso pods from here too!
I can imagine this would have gone so well with an array of sweet treats displayed on the counter, but unfortunately this was a fleeting visit.
To sum up this jam-packed weekend, London has coffee shops dotted on most corners. I don’t have that lush London lifestyle to try them all out, but I’m glad to find a few faves that I can always count on. On my next trip to London though I must ask myself, where next?
Looking for another quick look at coffee culture? Take a look at A Weekend in Dublin!