we sink 95 million cups of coffee daily here in the UK, but no one enjoys a pick-me-up more than those in the capital. to celebrate our launch, we take a look back at london’s love affair with flat whites, espressos and everything in-between.
Observe the streets of London and you’ll see a plethora of coffee lovers pounding the pavements. From bleary-eyed commuters clasping a comforting latte from Taylor St. Baristas in a bid to sip away their hangovers to new mamas enjoying a moment’s peace, cappuccino in one hand, baby in the other. You’ll notice laptops lining the window seats of CAYA club and suits talking numbers over a cortado and croissant. Despite what you might think, the London coffee scene isn’t all hipsters and cold brew.
This city is a melting pot at the best of times and, in fact, the inbuilt coffee scene is no different.
the rise of coffee in London
Back in the day (we’re talking 17th and 18th centuries to be exact), coffee was very popular in the UK. It was cheaper than tea and was believed to stimulate rational thought, providing fuel to the fire of philosophical debates that were happening at the time. Coffee houses became hotbeds for thinking and good conversation. All was well in the world of coffee until our trade policy began favouring tea, drowning coffee culture until around the late 90s.
Along with the rise of Brit Pop came the return of coffee and places serving the good stuff started popping up all over. The digital age cemented this growing coffee culture, with many cafes doubling up as cyber suites, offering free internet use and providing an alternative venue to socialise and work. The rise of food culture and demand for breakfast on the go to complement London’s 24-hour lifestyle was all the industry needed to start booming again.
a craft coffee culture
Similar to other culinary speciality products like batch spirits, craft beers, and artisan foods, coffee has diversified its offering by branching out into new flavours and brewing methods – The New Black on Philpot Lane have this down to a T. The 2010 World Barista Championships held in London displayed the depth of Britain’s vibrant coffee culture and the annual London Coffee Festival serves to show just how popular it is. Craft coffee has, in fact, become something of a trend, with coffee experimenters keen to share their latest innovations.
There has been an evolution in flavours and brewing techniques – but you still can’t beat the classics, with the Australian-born flat white brought to the UK by Antipodean migrants, still reigning supreme as the capital’s favourite order. Followed swiftly by a rich black espresso, Italian inspired Cortado and then filter coffee, a favourite with our Scandinavian and American friends, there’s a place for all sorts of caffeine in this town.
the future of coffee
To those living in this city, coffee is not just a stimulant.
Like fine wine and whiskey, it has become something to be enjoyed for the backstory, origin of its beans or the expert means by which it has been crafted. Coffee has become more than just a cup of something warm. It’s a chance to take five and relax in your favourite corner of that odd little place at the end of the street, the one with the book swap or particularly comfy couch.
This is why we’ve made some of the best coffee outlets in the city, hugggable. Which means you can now send a cup to friends from the comfort of your phone. They then collect and enjoy at one of our participating hangouts and you’ve just made their day.
What better way to embrace the coffee culture in London than by sending one to a friend?