Money (or maybe love) may make the world go round but coffee gets it going. We explore the cafés making the best flat whites in Covent Garden.
Gone are the days of the Gold Blend couple falling slowly drip by drip in love over an average cup of *gasp* instant coffee. No one wants their coffee in an instant these days, even if they may want their love that way. And no one asks for just ‘a coffee’ anymore (apart from mother). We all have a type – the Australian flat white evangelist, the Seattle whizz kid with a latte to go, the Italian standing at a zinc bar for a fuelling shot of espresso before dashing off. You can make an entire pastime out of drinking coffee and you would be in good company; from the original London coffee houses that Pepys frequented, to ardent cake lovers meeting in grand cafés to debate Heidegger, coffee has been loved and revered for centuries. Whether you are on the go or looking for a more leisurely appreciation, read on for our current top spots for your hot shot.
This café was a forerunner of the revolutionary coffee movement all the way back in 1978. Now as then, they
are serious about building meaningful and sustainable relationships with their suppliers. Coffees are sold on rotation and in small batches and it is always worth popping in for the heavenly smell as much as anything. Ask the experts for advice on exactly what you are looking for and they’ll even grind their beans for you. Coffee made to measure is a good start to any day.
Monmouth Coffee: 27 Monmouth St, WC2H 9EU
Jacob the Angel
This café in Neal’s Yard, comes with an excellent pedigree by way of the team at Palomar and The Barbary. Not only will you find excellent coffee courtesy of Square Mile Roasters but there are swoony (and very ‘grammable) baked offerings – babkas and canelé and coconut cream pies that will make you drool more than a teething infant. The tahini madeleines would make Proust weep with jealously. Treat yourself to a little something with your ristretto – we can’t be angels all of the time.
Jacob the Angel: 16A Neal’s Yard, WC2H 9DP
Located on Southampton Street is an Antipodean meets South American coffee house that is the epitome of laid-back all-day dining. The coffee beans are all single estate and from across South America so you can choose from Nicaragua or Honduras as you eye up the cakes. The latter really are
a thing apart AND you can order them to take away (book in advance). You’ll have a tough time choosing between the archetypal Australian lammington, the chai spice with figs or the rose and pistachio. The café is so welcoming and homely that you might just decide to spend the rest of the day there which is very much the way Abuelo intended it to be.
Abuelo Café: 26 Southampton St, Covent Garden, WC2E 7RS
6 SHOTS OF COFFEE TRIVIA
1 The word coffee comes from the Ottoman Turkish ‘kahve’, which in turn came from the Arabic ‘qahwah’. Dutch importers renamed it ‘koffie’.
2 There are two main coffee plants – Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is the earliest cultivated coffee and the most widely known and planted. Robusta contains more caffeine and has a slightly bitter edge.
3 Brazil is the leading grower of coffee beans in the world, providing a third of all coffee beans which are produced over 10,000 square miles.
4 Single Estate or Single Origin Coffee is coffee from a single farm and within a specific geographic origin.
5 The number one coffee mistake? Boiling water. Use water that is just off the boil so that you don’t burn the beans and spoil them.
6 You would need to drink about 35 cups in a very short time period to come close to a lethal dose. Stick to a flat white, we say, so you don’t flatline.