Are you looking for fantastic coffee in London? Well look no further than the Coffeesmith Collective; think of it like a 'hub' for the coolest coffee shops you could ever drink at. There are five cafés in the collective and each pride themselves on selling the best coffee in London. We caught up with coffee guru and the brains behind the operation Tim Ridley (pictured above) to ask what makes the grade to be in his coffeehouse gang, and how we can all make the best cuppa at home.
Tim tells us, "We are always looking for the best coffee beans, as well as new and interesting flavours. As a result we buy one hundred different types of bean every year; that's two a week! If you come and visit us one day, then come back the next week, your Machiato will be made with a completely different bean so will be a slightly different flavour. But it will always be top-notch."
TIM’S FIVE COOLEST COFFEE HANGOUTS AND
HOW WE CAN MAKE PERFECT COFFEE AT HOME
1. DEPARTMENT OF COFFEE AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS
Where? Department of Coffee and Social Affairs is a remodelled hardware store in Farringdon. Being near Hatton Gardens it is at the centre of the jewellery trade and frequented by both lawyers and designers.
Star feature: The baristas here are extremely skilled in 'latte art' - they can even draw you a swan on top of your coffee! Don't leave without ordering a delicious iced bun made by baker extraordinaire Juliet Baptiste-Kelly.
2. SPEAKEASY ESPRESSO & BREW BAR
Where? Speakeasy Espresso & Brew Bar is just off Carnaby street and is a favourite meeting point for the soho creative, as well as fashion people and shoppers alike.
Star feature: You can order single estate coffee (from tiny little coffee producers so you’ll get a really unique-flavoured coffee) at their brew bar and even ‘make your own’ with the help of their team.
Get the vibe at home: Tim suggests you experiment with different beans to find the taste you like. He says, 'at the moment my favourite coffee bean is called Limoncillo from Nicaragua. It tastes peachy and fruity like apricots.'
3. CHANCERY COFFEE
Where? Chancery Coffee is at the heart of London's legal district. Tim jokes, “our baristas serve quality coffee to barristers as well as locals!”
Star feature: There is a wide range of fantastic teas from the Canton Tea Co served here. A small independent UK company founded in 2007 they are a specialist China tea company who buy direct from the farmers in both China and Taiwan. So why not while away a Sunday afternoon whilst tasting a few.
Get the vibe at home: Tim suggests, 'Coffee only lasts minutes once it has been ground. If you want really good coffee don't buy bags of ground coffee - instead grind the beans yourself. It’s quick and not as hard as it sounds. I suggest investing in the Hario slim grinder for around £30.’
4. TONIC COFFEE BAR
Where? Tonic Coffee Bar is wedged between Soho, Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus. It adds a caffeine kick to the neighbourhood's intoxicating energy with a contemporary iteration of an Italian espresso bar.
Star feature: Gorgeous baristas will talk you through the process as they hand-craft your coffee whilst you sit comfortably on a stool watching.
Get the vibe at home: Says Tim, 'the Rocket Espresso machine is an amazing bit of kit. It's an investment at £1400, but I can guarantee it will create top espresso bar standard coffee at home.'
5. THE LIBERTY OF NORTON FOLGATE
Where? At 24m long and just 2.6m deep The Liberty of Norton Folgate is probably one of the longest coffee shops in Europe. Nestled in one of London's busiest legal and financial district, the shop is perfectly situated between The City, Spitalfields and Shoreditch.
Star feature: Order their Espresso - it is made with a different type of bean every single week.
Get the vibe at home: To avoid your coffee being too bitter or too sour it's important not to use water that is too hot. 92.5 degrees celsius is the perfect temperature so boil your kettle and leave it for around 6 minutes before pouring it over your freshly ground coffee. Yum!
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