A decade ago London’s perception of coffee as a ‘dark fluid’ was revolutionized with arrival of Aussies and their serious approach to our daily caffeine fix. A rapid growth of independent coffee shops in recent years has proved that Londoners have become pickier about their ‘cup of joe’. I am meeting Australian-born Tim Williams, a director of Workshop, who has been personally involved in reshaping London’s coffee culture, to discuss a current state and the future of coffee. Just before a midmorning coffee break only a few loners are sipping their espressos in Clerkenwell-based Workshop coffee house. Friendly-looking Tim offers me a cup of coffee and the smell of brew fills the air. “The coffee culture that we have is the result of number of influences but the Australians’ one is undeniable,” says Tim Williams, one of the most influential people in London coffee business. After getting experience in excellent coffee establishments in Melbourne, in 2006 Tim moved to London and joined Aussie-inspired Flat White team in Soho. Also known as a ‘director of coffee’, …
Talkhouse Coffee has attracted some serious coffee gents and ladies for a chat at the top of famous Portobello Road. Most of them happen to drink 5 oz latte or one of the elegantly served teas. The beans are sourced from James Gourmet, Workshop, Tate and Square Mile. After grinding, coffee is precisely measured on a scale (every gram matters!) This small detail reveals the level of attention and skill in the preparation of their espresso and Aeropress filter drinks. Lattes are exceptionally beautiful as barista is a prize-winner in the World Latte Art Championship.
Nestling in an unexpected location behind Marble Arch station, The Borough Barista makes local hearts explode with happiness of artisan coffee. Fashionable chicks and elegant ladies, young lads and businessmen: all quietly sitting in front of the window and sipping locally roasted caffeinated goodness. It proves me again – coffee unites generations. Only good coffee, of course. … The Borough Barista on Seymour Street occupies the corner of red-brick building and beautifully stands out of the crowd with blueish gray painted walls and intriguing vivid yellow front doors. The sign board saying ‘Coffee For Passion’ lets the whole borough know that this is the place for a ‘decent’ cup of java. This corner coffee shop, surrounded by many bland cafe chains in Oxford Street and Edgware Road, stands proudly and boldly in the corrupt sands of commerce. As soon as you walk in, cheerful barista greets you and this small detail reveals that you are more than ‘just another customer waiting in a queue’. It is always a big pleasure to try locally roasted coffee beans. Without waiting any longer, I order …
Take-and-go or stay for a while. Coffee stands are extremely popular in busy Tokyo where the pace of life is so fast. However, Shonan is quite newly adopting this idea of coffee shops as beach side folks are much more laid-back. Coffee stands in Shonan differ from urban city ones; they are much more slower and personal. Scroll down for the list of the greatest 5 coffee stands around the coast. １． ２７ Ｃｏｆｆｅｅ Ｒｏａｓｔｅｒｓ （２７コーヒーロースターズ） Coffee stand + Roasting works + Espresso lab. It is not cramped like usual coffee shops. 27 Coffee Roasters is spacious enough to wander around freely, check magazines, coffee goods and try coffee itself. There are 14 kinds of coffee beans displayed in 3 stages: raw green beans, already roasted and brewed coffee. Feel free to try them! For latte/cappuccino they use fruity Columbia Omar Collazos that is said to be the best coffee match with milk. 27 Coffee Roasters espresso+milk is really extraordinary; sweet, creamy, but at the same time very light and ‘noncommittal’. As for seating, there are 7 seats outside …
Finally, Aussies with their world-famous coffee obsession started taking over West London. Hidden under a concrete flyover and local offices, Antipode is a real ray of sunshine for locals in the coffee wasteland of Hammersmith. … If there is a lack of shops serving a ‘decent’ cup of coffee in your local area, then create one. Seems that the owner of Antipode exactly followed this rule, giving joy to locals by bringing third wave coffee into an area. Thanks to never resting Aussies spreading their serious approach to coffee, West Londoners are a little bit more relieved for having unrivalled cup of joe on their doorstep. Opened for less than a year, Antipode is a relatively new coffee shop with fresh ideas, how West London coffee culture should look like. A cafe has already regular clientele as well as a queue on peak hours full of caffeine hungry local office workers. Striking 80% of customers are Kiwis and Aussies missing their Antipodean atmosphere and getting a big piece of it next to Hammersmith station. On the counter they proudly serve …
Best known as a perfect breakfast spot in East London, Hackney Bureau lured me in with a screaming espresso machine sound and the smell of Caravan coffee.
The touch of a raw paper slipping through your fingers with beautifully laid out photos and insightful writing is an experience that proves “Print Will Never Die”. Coffee culture has been ignored by magazines and appeared only in a few feature sections across world-wide publications. Finally, our daily ‘dark fluid’ is celebrated with the arrival of fresh globally-orientated DRIFT magazine.
As I come in at 2 o’clock it starts to get busy for an afternoon coffee, I suppose. A lovely elderly couple enters the Antishop café in identical colourful clothes. Adel, the owner, greets them, gives a hug, and serves a croissant and a double espresso at the end. The couple is not too much talkative, but there is no need as honest smiles on their faces speak for themselves. Before leaving, a gentleman compliments Adel: “This is the best coffee ever”. Later the shop owner reveals that they have been coming to his café every day since it had been opened. Situated on the famous Brick Lane Road, The Antishop spreads anti-commercial love with its coffee and generosity.
The Curioisity presents you one more minimalist house project by Japanese architects – Koya No Sumika. Japanese design company mA-style Architects designed the unique space with a roof as a series of V-shaped frames. Small attic space is divided by a triangular roof at this house extension that creates a spacious and bright atmosphere.
A combination of dark and cosy does not usually work at daytime but Footnote Cafe on 45 Vyner Street embodies everything what is good about East London. Discover this hideaway for cup of joe in Hackney.
When you first hear the name of coffee shop like LC-1A, it does not stuck to your memory straight away. The mystical letters and numbers do not give you a clue what it is all about. You make a guess, such as LC-1A might stand for ‘Love Coffee – First Aspiration’ but actually you have no clue. It is much more simple than that and this complicated name is a coffee master’s big life passion – vintage speakers.
“It is rather the building fits our lifestyle than we fit the building.” – with this kind of approach Takeuchi family designed a space where they can live every day with happiness and inspiration. The aesthetic world of two people are not shut between white walls. They are a big part of community through a cup of morning coffee and a love for art. The space is a combination of studio, cafe, living space and even museum, which they recall as ‘Museum of Art’.
Just a short walk from Tottenham Court Road, Store Street Espresso is attracting coffee lovers and busy souls searching for a place to settle. Serving delicious artisan coffee and free pouring latte art, Store Street Espresso is an independent coffee shop which is rapidly getting popular in central London.
The most famous Japanese ‘No Brand Quality Goods’ company, MUJI, cooperating with Japanese architects created a spacious design house in Tokyo. The house itself looks like a small and narrow building from the outside, but thanks to to clever solutions applied by MUJI, the design fascinates with its light and airy space.
Even if most of us quietly blame Starbucks for being too capitalistic mass production and materialising the precious coffee culture, that is where we go first if quick refresh caffeine needed. In cities like London a great number of independent coffee shops is rapidly growing and Londoners will rather choose their cup of joe in there. However, Starbucks does not seem even a little bit less crowded no matter where it is located. In Japan the image of Starbucks has still not been conquered by local coffee shops. With its great popularity, it is a place of relax, study, meeting and one of those rear places for free Wi-Fi around Japan. Sometimes Starbucks’ ‘fast coffee’ space with just stools and tables transforms into artistic design space. Here is the list of 3 stores in Japan that particularly stand out of the crowd with their uniqueness.
London is praised as the greatest city in the world. Stop here. Been there, done that, boring. If you are a keen world traveller, you probably think of London as a very ‘normal’ city with too many tourists and too many queues. However, London is so much more than that. Big Ben or Tower Bridge are not the things that make London special. Unfortunately, there is no single answer why this city is worth living/visiting, but The Curiosity has a possible solution of spending a great day in London.
One of the favourites of simple, modern and esthetic design, Tato (タト), is a fine example of modern interior decorating. Japanese based architecture office currently have had projects only domestically but there is a huge potential for international expansion as Tato designs are being introduced in English publications. The main architect, Yo Shimada, said: “I keep trying to create freedom in rooms as if all of [the furniture] is just randomly placed and used by chance”. His interior design is a combination of minimalism, wabi-sabi and a touch of Scandinavian design. White clean surroundings, spacious rooms and a lot of bright wood – that is the combination that prevails in all Tato projects.
It is hard to find anyone who do not adore fresh flowers. And it is even harder to find a human-being who will resist a great cup of coffee or tea. But let me tell you what is the most difficult – to find a good coffee shop in West. But here it is, Wildflower Cafe, which popped up in my eyes and painted my whole day in vivid purple.
Where to start and where to finish. Let me begin by saying that PIPIPI is the most adorable and personal cafe I have ever been to. Japanese are well known for their madness for cute things, also known as kawaii culture. However, when you take a train from Tokyo towards South, the understanding of ‘cute’ is absolutely different. Colourful clothes, hand-made decorations, vintage teaspoons, flowers and anything basically related to beach – those are some of the things that are highly appreciated and referred as cute in Shonan.
On rainy days I find myself sitting in a quiet cafe. As I have been living all my life in Europe, where rain comes and goes, Japanese one month rainy season has been a quite surprise to me. Like most of the people, my mood depends on weather a lot. I found a perfect place for me to survive those rainy mornings in a beautiful old cafe Mokichi (モキチ).
Caffeine addicted Tokyoites make their way towards Southern Beach in order to fuel themselves with positive energy and great coffee. Surfers and locals beloved coffee shops’ popularity is growing on a national scale with those who are craving for summer vibes. Let me take you to surfing and beach inspired hidden coffee shop and gallery – YUYU atelier gallery café.
With cycling popularity speeding up, women around Britain are getting on saddles more often than they used to a few years ago.
Light jazz music, dusk light, smooth coffee. Miniature trees, collection of cactuses, loads of books and little sculptures from the childhood – all neatly organized in the old style Japanese house. Located on Sakuramichi Road, in Chigasaki, Hachiya cafe satisfies all my temptations.
Sunny day in Chigasaki. I was walking down the beachside, wandering in the narrow streets of this city and looking where I could have a cup of coffee. And suddenly very strange question appeared in front of my eyes – Do you know coffee? The owner of that shop and coffee-pro Nii answers this question instead of me “I don’t know coffee” (it’s the name of this coffee shop). And only after having his made coffee, you realize “Maybe I don’t know coffee, but whatever it is, give me one more cup”.