Why I love London coffee shops

I’m going to put my hands up and admit that I’m a coffee snob and I’ve done some slightly ridiculous things in the pursuit of a good coffee. This includes, walking 15 minutes out of my way (and more when I’ve taken an unexpected detour), being late for work, being late for meeting friends and almost missing our train to Birmingham at Christmas. James and I even have an ongoing joke about how I don’t like Pret coffee and it looks like I will never live down my snobbery.

So I thought I’d set the record straight about why I love London coffee shops, and how after drinking it on a regular basis it’s hard to go back.

But-first-coffee-Printable from Etsy

1. It has encouraged me to explore new places. I started writing this blog about four years ago and coffee shops were one of the first things I went to as a way to explore the city. I quickly noticed that it took me to so many new areas without breaking the bank. Since then it has helped me gain my bearings in the city and I even find other new places to visit along the way. This happens when I leave the city too and I’ll often check out Brian and Giulia’s blogs to see if there’s anywhere I should check out. Next stop ~ Colona & Smalls (I’m heading to Bath in Spring).

2. It tastes better. I still drink coffee at Starbucks and Costa but it’s just not the same. The coffee from London coffee shops has a much more silky and smooth texture, a less bitter taste and just generally more flavour. I haven’t got a refined pallet to be able to make out all of the coffee notes just yet but I’d love to do a cupping class.

London Coffee - 2015-16

3. It’s pretty. I’m not going to deny that part of the reason I drink what is slightly more expensive coffee (by about 50p -£1) is because of the latte art, it’s so pretty! Throw in a colourful cup and it’s irresistable to Instagram. Follow ~ @LondonCoffeeShops on Instagram for more.

4. There’s usually delicious sweet treats or a brunch/ lunch option on offer. Most cafes in London either have an amazing kitchen or have teamed up with a great bakery. I’m particularly partial to banana bread (this could easily be a future feature), but offer me a hunk of carrot cake, a freshly baked flaky pastry or a tasty toastie oozing with melted cheese and my money is yours.

5. The cafes are often very lovely, inside and out. The promise of latte art with a colourful background makes it almost impossible for any colour magpies like myself to miss it. Next stop ~ Paper + Cup and Hej Coffee.


6. The people are nice. It takes some real guts to set up shop in London. Not only is it SO expensive and you’d need to put some serious lifetime savings on the line, but it’s competitive too. This usually means the people behind the scenes have a real passion for what they’re doing, what they’re serving and they expect it to come across in the people who work for them. Despite it being a competitive industry in London, they’re usually super nice about other cafes too!

7. You’ll get a nice atmosphere with your coffee.  Add all of the above together and you’ll find a pretty nice place to enjoy a coffee or two.

_ _ _ _

Do you love London coffee shops? What do you love most about them?

This post was inspired by a Travel Link-Up series, hosted by Jessi, Emma, Kaelene, Angie!



  1. February 5, 2016 / 11:32 am

    I am so with you on all of these points!! Especially number 1, seeking out different cafes has helped me explore so much more of London and I do the same when visiting new places – I practically plan my trips around coffee shops I want to visit 😉

    Ps – Colona & Smalls is wonderful!

    Emma x

    • ThisCityLifeLondon
      February 5, 2016 / 11:35 am

      Aha I have been known to secretly plan coffee stops and direct our travels towards them. I definitely need to get to Colona & Smalls then. It’s great how many more coffee shops in the rest of the UK now! X

  2. February 6, 2016 / 5:25 pm


    Thanks for the plug for the Coffee Spot! And thanks for a well-written summary of what’s so great about independent coffee shops. A lot of your motivations are very similar to mine and I feel honoured to have inspired you to visit places (which is precisely why I set up the Coffee Spot).

    Like you, the search for good coffee shops has led me to all sorts of bits of London I’d never otherwise go to and to various parts of the UK I would never have considered visiting. And I’ve missed a few trains in my time!

    Keep exploring!


    • ThisCityLifeLondon
      February 6, 2016 / 5:28 pm

      You’re welcome Brian! I hope you keep on exploring too! 😊

  3. February 7, 2016 / 7:09 pm

    Totally agree with all your points. I love discovering a new independent where I can hang out. ‘Two doors down’ a great little place near my work totally exemplifies your point 6, such lovely people and also yummy salted caramel cookies! (I haven’t been to the coffee place you mention in Bath but the city itself is lovely, have a great time!)

    • ThisCityLifeLondon
      February 7, 2016 / 9:45 pm

      You had me at salted caramel cookies. Sounds delicious! Although dangerous to have near to work 🙂

  4. February 7, 2016 / 8:41 pm

    This is all so true: I’d much rather spend a little more on really good coffee, made by people who have an interest in seeing it done well, than some rubbish version from the high street. It makes it a bit more of a treat (and I definitely have been guilty of planning my routes around where is – and isn’t – good for coffee.

    • ThisCityLifeLondon
      February 7, 2016 / 9:43 pm

      I agree with it being more of a treat! I only usually have them on a Friday or at the weekend and that first sip tastes so good.

  5. February 7, 2016 / 10:52 pm

    Couldn’t agree more – independent coffee shops are the best! I love seeing how their owners have put their individual stamp on the place, and of course the delicious coffee buzz. A few more dairy-free treats around and I will be perfectly content! Thanks for joining Travel Linkup 😀

    • ThisCityLifeLondon
      February 12, 2016 / 7:54 am

      😊 I’m looking forward to finding out what the next one is!