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Why go? Full disclosure: Everbean is one of the nicest spots within a ten minute walk from GQ's office, so convenience is a big factor for us. The reason it's the best local spot is because the coffee is consistently good, it's tucked away down the pleasant Avery Row in Mayfair with large windows for people watching and because selection of pastries is hugely expansive.
What’s the coffee like? Excellent. We think it's something to do with the fact that they only work with local London roasteries, only use the best equipment (La Marzocco Linea and Nuova Simonelli espresso coffee machines) and look after their staff since there's a very low turnover in baristas. Conrad Quilty-Harper
30 Avery Row, London W1K 4BB; Everbean
Why go? Because Aussies know coffee. If you’ve ever travelled down under, you will already know that when it comes to java our Antipodean cousins don’t play around. If you haven’t been, just check out Kaffeine. Open since 2009 and now with two branches, this all-day Australian/New Zealand-style café does serve some food (salads, soups, sangers), but the coffee is the star of the show with talented baristas making beautiful music from the Synesso Cyncra espresso machines.
What’s the coffee like?Well, it comes from Square Mile Coffee, London’s award-winning roaster, and Kaffeine is ALWAYS busy. What do you think it’s like? Paul Henderson
Kaffeine, 66 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 7QJ (020-7580 6755; Kaffeine
Wilton Way Café
Why go? Just north of London Fields in the hipster ground zero that is E8 on an otherwise undistinguished parade of shops you will find the Wilton Way, which – unlikely as it seems at first sight – was named by Vanity Fair as one of the coolest streets in the world. This is home to London Fields Radio, a micro local station that “creates podcasts for the creative community of London Fields”. In such a small place the results can be a little like sit-com, but never dull. The food is good, too.
What’s the coffee like? The vibe is ersatz Australian and the beans come from near neighbours Climpson & Sons, so expect a bonzer flat white. Robert Johnston
63 Wilton Way, London E8 1BS (Wilton Way Cafe)
Monmouth Coffee Company
Why go? This Covent Garden institution has customers queueing out the door, possibly because there are a very few places to sit inside, hence the long bench out front. They sell organic beans (whole and ground) from hand-picked single farms, estates and cooperatives that will appeal to the caffeine connoisseur. All the staff wear hemp aprons and will never, ever write your name on your cup. Get there early or you’ll miss out on the other main draw: the pastries.
What’s the coffee like? Real coffee: this is a mocha-frappu free zone. Jessica Punter
27 Monmouth St, London WC2H 9EU (020 7232 3010; Monmouth Coffee)
Rapha Cycle Club London (CCLDN)
Why go? The only thing cyclists take more interest in than their bikes (and riding gear) is their coffee. The pre-, post- and even mid-ride caffeine hit is nothing less than performance enhancing rocket fuel, and the Rapha Cycle Club Café in Soho – it takes up half of the biking boutique – offers NASA-grade java, using beans from Germany and Sweden, plus regular guest coffees provided by Workshop for those serious about their blackstuff. They also serve cake, which is nice.
What’s the coffee like? ‘Black as midnight on a moonless night.’ Paul Henderson
A85 Brewer Street, London W1 (020 7494 9831; Rapha)[instagram id="5FCHCBuSwT"]
Why Go? A row of red Vespas line up outside this quiet corner spot, located close to busy Clapham Junction. Story Coffee is the shop to go to for a very green brunch and creamy coffee. Decorated with handmade wooden benches and stalls, the minimal Scandinavian vibe still lends a comforting air. Story Coffee opens its doors at 7am for the early birds who like a Piccolo while they watch the city wake up. Liberty Dye
115 St John's Hill, London SW11 (www.storycoffee.co.uk)
Why go? Holborn Grind might be small, but it’s the bright, airy antithesis to London’s current trend for cramped, daylight deprived coffee shops. And if the walls of plate glass windows on two sides aren’t enough to make you sit down instead of scurrying out with a takeaway cup, the coffee – expertly poured by staff who are miraculously upbeat no matter the hour - will make you want to stick around. However, this isn’t just a great place to start your day, it’s a great place to end it too. After 6pm, the baristas also start serving a range of cocktails crafted with fresh-ground coffee. Needless to say, it’s one of the best espresso martinis in London - and, trust us, that’s based on extensive testing.
What’s the coffee like? Strong (sometimes served with alcohol). Nick Carvell
199 High Holborn, London WC1V 7BD (020 3693 3400; Grind and Co)
Why go? Flat White is precisely what you want out of your local, hipster coffee den: neither too friendly nor too aloof - I want a coffee not a therapy session to iron out my anxiety - the tiny nook found in the pulsing heart of Soho will quickly become a place you will never tell anyone about for fear of breaking the caffeine-bolstered solace you find here. Oh, and they can make you a cortado which is, like, the new’ double shot, skinny dry macchiato'. But then you knew that, right?
What’s the coffee like? Punchy. Textured. Short. Jonathan Heaf
A17 Berwick St, London W1F 0PT (020 7734 0370; Flat White Soho)
Doppio Coffee Warehouse Kentish Town
Why go? Doppio Coffee both is and isn’t a coffee shop: technically, it’s a stripped-back, semi-industrial wholesale space where the primary business is selling espresso machines, accompanying gadgets, and four types of coffee beans. But it’s also one of the best coffee houses (yes, house, not shop; it’s much bigger than that) in London, with rows of stripped back communal wooden tables and benches where Kentish Towners lounge with iPads and newspapers. The coffee itself is made with a Magister machine imported from Italy: not as showy as some, but the quality is outstanding.
What’s the coffee like? Silky, rich. Stuart McGurk
177 Kentish Town Rd, London NW1 8PD (020 7267 5993; Doppio Coffee)
Taylor Street Barista
Why go? For the joe of course, which is as stridently on trend and true to the specialty coffee culture as it gets. (It also sells a small range of do it yourself kits for the budding barista in you.) But that’s just the beverage side: the snug, hole-in-the-wall café is a Mayfair melting pot of hedgies, Bond Street boulevardiers and lost tourists in need of a jolt – and the freshly prepared food and multi-part soup offerings ensure they keep coming back.
What’s the coffee like? Excellent – and served with a side of tap water. Bill Prince
22 Brooks Mews London W1K 4DY (020 7629 3163; Taylor Street Barista)[instagram id="BCGxbIxyEky"]
Why go? Brixton Village, a hotspot for hotspots, one among them being hipster-haven Federation Coffee. Just around the corner from both Brixton Station and Brixton Underground on Coldharbour Lane, this local nest boasts its own roastery and a monthly change of its single-origin espresso, sourcing caffeinated delights from Sweden to Stockwell. It also has a wide range of nourishing goodies that cater to all tastes, thanks to its partnership with local businesses Brick House Bakery and the widely-praised Salon restaurant.
What's the coffee like? Delicious, divine, different. Patrick Hetherington
Unit 77–78, Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8PS (Federation Coffee)
Back On Track Coffee
Why go? For such a small space (we’re talking four or five tables) it’s surprising how easy it is to find space to sit – and especially so when you sample the coffee. Rumour has it this is a popular spot with a nearby literary agent, so if you’re touting a manuscript be sure to bring it with you.
What's the coffee like? It’s dark and rich, and yet still as smooth as the low-volume jazz that commonly plays. Aaron Callow
3a Wimpole Street, London W1G 9SF (; Back On Track Coffee)
But First, Coffee
Why go? This independent coffee shop has become a neighbourhood hub since it opened eighteen months ago, providing a morning caffeine fix for North London commuters and a relaxing space to spend a lazy Saturday morning. It’s run by a local couple who manage to make make the cosy space feel more like a friend’s living room than a shop. Their coffee is provided by Ozone Coffee Roasters and is the best in the area – including nearby Crouch End’s numerous offerings – as are their cinnamon pastries (if you can get one before they disappear).
What’s the coffee like? Smooth, served with a smile. John Hitchcox
43 Quernmore Rd, Stroud Green, London N4 4QP (But First, Coffee)
Love and Scandal
Why go? This quirky treat with superheroes on the walls is telling of our times: founder Fiona Thompson decided she might as well open a coffee house since she spent all her time working from one. With hours more suited to the early bird than the post-work unwinder (8am to 6pm), this start-up is perfect for providing your daily juggernaut.
What's the coffee like? Strong, creamy and utterly addictive. Patrick Hetherington
7 Lower Marsh Lambeth, London SE1 7RJ (020 7620 3814; Love and Scandal)[instagram id="BChohZvCiF7"]
Fernandez & Wells
Why go? For such a nexus of fashion and media types, Mayfair is surprisingly underserved by decent coffee shops; among the smattering of exceptions is the Fernandez & Wells on Duke Street. Sited conveniently close to Bond Street Tube station, this morning meeting-friendly branch of the London indie chain is attached to the Duke Street Emporium concept store (where you'll also find Jigsaw and The Shop At Bluebird) and offers an array of breakfasts, soups and sandwiches alongside signature roasts.
What’s the coffee like? Heart-thumpingly good. Charlie Burton
55 Duke Street, London W1K (Fernandez & Wells)
Why go? Coffee merchants since 1942, HR Higgins’ Duke Street front feels somehow closer in time to the salons of 19th-century Mitteleuropa. The street-level copper-clad counter carries an extensive range of specialities, while the basement café, refurbished last year – all Vitra chairs and bespoke tiling – will brew you a cup. Ask for a recommendation: whatever nuance of criteria you present will be ably fulfilled by the adroit and knowledgeable assistants.
What's the coffee like? There's a long menu of beans and specialist blends. Aaron Callow
79 Duke Street, London W1K 5AS (020 7629 3913; HR Higgins)
Fleet River Bakery
Why go? Barely a minute’s walk from Holborn tube, this is one of those venues that can look claustrophobic from the outside until you set foot in it, whereupon its passages and additional lower floors materialise and that sense of confinement transforms into cosiness. With its charming staff, a visit to Fleet River Bakery is like coming home and sinking into a favourite chair. It's especially popular amongst younger caffeine-cravers - and even has an acceptable number of plug sockets.
What's the coffee like? Varied, including rare beans. Patrick Hetherington
71 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3JF (020 7691 1457; Fleet River Bakery)
Why go? Unlike other design-led java jaunts, the white-out chic of Curators Coffee’s Margaret Street outlet is unselfconsciously Skandi – an impressive and little-known place to meet artistically inclined clients and contacts. For City-based cognoscente (don’t be shy, we know you’re out there), there’s another branch in EC3.
What's the coffee like? Thanks to its sublimely smooth and fragrant offering, this is the best place in the postcode to prove there’s more to coffee than the burnt and bitter blends more readily available. Aaron Callow
51 Margaret Street, London W1W 8SG (020 7580 2547; Curators Coffee)
Blue Turtle Oasis
Why go: A world away from Brixton’s hustle and bustle is a peaceful haven of serenity, where the coffee is intense and the atmosphere anything but. Take a stroll into Camberwell and you’ll find the understated exterior of Blue Turtle Oasis, a quiet and quirky space tucked beneath Loughborough Junction station. With free Wi-Fi and an atmosphere that would put any library to shame, it’s a great place to get some work done. Get there early though as the comfiest chairs go fast. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a strong brew away from growing queues of tourists and London’s hungry brunchers.
What’s the coffee like: You’ll be productive all day. Helen Brown
210 Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8SA (020 7733 1430; Blue Turtle Oasis)
The Monocle Café
Why go? A testimony to the art of blending substance and style, The Monocle Café, tucked away on the film-set worthy Chiltern Street, is a coffee shop to be treasured. Though modest in size and menu, this petite hideaway serves Allpress blended roast alongside Swedish pastries and Japanese-inspired dishes. True, the Monocle Café is a terribly kept secret, but the staff and atmosphere will still make you feel like you’re the only one who ever knew about It.
What’s the coffee like? Memorable and made with care. Holly Bruce
18 Chiltern St, London W1U 7QA (020 7135 2040; The Monocle Café)
Look Mum No Hands!
Why go? Part café, bar and bicycle workshop, Look Mum No Hands! is the cyclist’s choice for a coffee in East London. Its workshop holds monthly maintenance courses to teach you bike repair fundamentals, so if you want to learn the best puncture repair tactics while enjoying a flat white, this is the place for you. Or, if you don’t want to get covered in grease, you can sit and watch their cycle sport coverage, screenings of films or even take part in their cycle speed dating. John Hitchcox
What’s the coffee like? Expertly brewed.
49 Old Street, London EC1V 9HX (020 7253 1025; Look Mum No Hands)
Why go? What's not to love about a set of haphazardly-stacked shipping containers serving coffee and cake? A Brixton standout bursting with personality, not only will your taste buds languish in deliciousness but you can actually learn the magic methods that go into their products, by taking one of the courses for Macaron-making and Trendy Eclairs, priced at £40 each.
What's the coffee like? Rich, sweet and steamy. Patrick Hetherington
49 Brixton Station Road, London SW9 8PQ (Supercute)