It’s no secret that when it comes to specialty coffee, London is one of the most thriving scenes in the world right now. With numerous places to visit offering their own unique twist on the exquisite drink, there is a lot to explore for someone with active interest in more interesting flavors and combinations.
And let’s not forget the social aspect – a great part of what makes specialty coffee so popular in the first place is the way it brings people closer together, and the opportunities it provides to share a unique experience with likeminded people. To this end, there’s a lot to see and do in London. So, where’s the best specialty coffee in London right now, and what should you know about the local scene before getting started? Let’s find out!
London Has Always Been a Hot Spot for Coffee Enthusiasts
It’s worth keeping in mind that this is not a new development in general. London has always been an attractive spot for coffee lovers, and the city has actually seen a significant growth in tourism in recent years because of this. With various coffee shops and more specialized clubs to explore, we’ve seen the creation of various communities revolving around coffee. Right now, it doesn’t matter what your specific preferences towards coffee are – you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a group that matches your interests.
There’s a bit of history involved here, too – the ongoing blending between coffee shops and pubs is something that has contributed a lot to the current situation. But we’ll go into more detail on that below.
Specialty Coffee Is Taking Over the World as a Whole
It’s also important to take a step back and look at this phenomenon from a more global perspective. Specialty coffee has been taking over the world as a whole for the last couple of decades. More and more people have been finding themselves exploring the more intricate parts of the scene and learning what coffee has to offer. This has prompted the opening of more coffee shops and specialty stores as a result, and this is something that we’ve been observing not just in London, but across the world as a whole.
There are many reasons to believe that this trend will continue in full force. The scene has been moving fast, especially in the last few years, with people discovering many exciting new flavors and combinations. London in particular seems to have many positive aspects that have been drawing attention from many sides, and the city has been thriving in this regard.
Blending Pubs and Coffee Shops
Interestingly enough, coffee shops actually used to enjoy a lot of popularity in London a couple of centuries ago, but the hype eventually started to die down with the growth of attention to alcohol. More and more people started to hang out for a beer or two instead of a cup of coffee, and the situation eventually got to the point where some of the most classic coffee shops started seeing a conversion to pubs. The line between the two started to blur fast, and many people lost their interest in coffee, switching their attention to alcohol instead.
This lasted for quite a while, and many historians agree that the middle of last century was the turning point when things started looking up for coffee enthusiasts once again. This coincided with a change in demographics, as the post-war period saw a surge of young people full of enthusiasm and a positive outlook about life. This kind of crowd did not mesh well with the established pub scene, as most of them were looking for a more relaxed experience that didn’t cloud the mind. Hence, coffee shops started to climb back up in popularity, to the point where they eventually overtook pubs in some parts of town.
Of course, that did not mean the end of pub culture – quite on the contrary, London is well-known for this aspect of its lifestyle today. But the city is now home to many great coffee shops as well, and its thriving culture on that front has kept drawing a lot of attention from multiple sides. At this point, it’s highly likely that we haven’t even seen the peak of the scene yet, with many people being convinced that things are about to get even more exciting over the next few years.
Good Places to Start with
If you’re new to London – or just its coffee scene in particular – you might find yourself a bit confused over where to even begin exploring what the city has to offer in this regard. There are lots of established coffee shops with a long-running reputation, but which of them would be best for a beginner? Of course, the scene isn’t that exclusive, in the sense that you’re mostly free to check out any establishment you want, and you should find it easy to blend with its crowd. However, there are a few places with a reputation for being particularly friendly to beginners who don’t know much about coffee and might need some assistance in their choice.
Kapihan is always a good choice for a beginner, with lots of different flavors from all over the world. The place is particularly known for catering to some more exclusive tastes, featuring beans from countries that have been traditionally underrepresented on the coffee scene. If you’re looking for a great start to your adventure in the world of coffee and want to choose from a variety of exciting options that you might not get anywhere else, this is definitely a great place to check out.
Paradox is another well-known location run by enthusiasts with a lot of reputation on the local scene. The place has some unique recipes that you won’t find anywhere else, and if you’re looking for that special coffee experience that will have you coming back for more, you should look no further. Most of the coffees here are from various parts of Europe, though the shop does occasionally offer various alternative options. If you want something more special, just ask – this is one of the best places to visit if you’re looking for good recommendations.
Omotesando Koffee London is one of the more recent additions to the local scene, starting as a very small shop and quickly growing in popularity to the point where it’s now one of the most prominent locations in town. The shop focuses on Japanese coffee and food culture, so if you’re a fan of Asian flavors, you’re going to love what they have to offer. Even if you’ve never tried anything like this before, this is definitely one of the most important places to have on your list. You can’t explore London’s coffee shop scene without at least one visit to Omotesando. And if you’re like most people, it’s very likely that things won’t end with that first visit at all. Many people rank this as one of their favorite local places, and for good reason.
The Internet Has Played a Major Role
It’s interesting to look back on all these developments and think about how we came to this point in the first place. There’s a noticeable link between the coffee scene in London and the rise of the internet. The love for coffee has united many online users under various communities, and this eventually spilled over into real life as well. The two are now blended very closely for obvious reasons, and social media has continued to play a major role in the growth of the local coffee scene.
If you’re looking to get started quickly, joining a community is one of the fastest options. There is no shortage of forums and chat rooms to check out if you’re after getting in touch with other coffee lovers. Keep in mind that some people on this scene are much more serious about their hobby than you might expect though. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself catching up all the time. But sooner or later, you’re going to find a group that you blend well with. And you’ll find out that exploring the wonderful world of coffee is even greater with a group of people who share your interests and tastes.
So, what are you waiting for? With so much to check out in London’s coffee scene, you’re missing out on a lot if you still haven’t started exploring the place. You don’t have to make a big deal about it in the beginning – just pick a place that seems like you might enjoy it and check out what they have to offer in a couple of visits. Keep a list of places you’ve been to and what you enjoyed (and didn’t enjoy) about them, and before you know it, you’ll be the one giving people tips on the best coffee roasters London and where they can go to get that perfect cup of coffee in London! And that’s where the real fun begins.