London’s East End has witnessed a steady transformation over the past decade or so. Once impoverished and industrial, it has reinvented itself to become the home of young creatives and IT start-ups. And with them came the coffee shops and roasteries. Although the well-known coffee chains have started to find their way to this part of the British capital, the coffee scene here is still very much dominated by independent cafes. Here are 12 of my favourite East London spots to get your caffeine (and sugar) kick.
Allpress (Shoreditch and Dalston)
This New Zealand coffee roaster has made it all the way to East London, where it now has two gorgeous locations. Their hip espresso bar on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch is a perfect spot to get a quick caffeine fix. And further up north in Dalston Allpress recently opened a roastery. Based inside a derelict warehouse and with a lovely little garden, this is the place to be for some down time with a flat white whilst watching the coffee beans being roasted right in front of you.
Ozone Coffee Roasters
Another roaster from New Zealand that decided to set up shop in this part of the British capital. Ozone Coffee Roasters is one of East London’s nicest coffee spots, not just because of their brilliant, home-brew coffee, but also because of the stunning location with an in-house roastery in the heart of Shoreditch. It’s also a great place for brunch and lunch.
Ozone Coffee Roasters: 11 Leanard Street
For those that love Scandinavian bakes (a good old cinnamon bun, anyone?), this is the place to be in East London. Fabrique, based underneath the railway arches near Hoxton Station, is a Swedish bakery that also does great coffee. Although it’s first and foremost a bakery, there are a few seats inside as well as outside on the quiet cobblestone street from where you can get a glimpse of the ovens and the baking process.
Fabrique: Arch 385, Geffrye Street
Hackney Coffee Company
Hackney Coffee Company is a hidden gem. From the outside, on busy and somewhat run-down Hackney Road, you wouldn’t know that behind the shop front is a local coffee roaster with an incredibly bright and spacious café lounge that runs all the way through to the back of this beautifully renovated building. It’s a popular spot among freelancers (myself included) but it’s equally great for a good catch up or a quick double espresso.
Hackney Coffee Company: 503 Hackney Road
Climpson’s & Sons
This is a coffee institution in East London. Climpson’s & Sons is a local coffee roaster with a café on lively Broadway Market. Their coffee is slightly bitter and has a real kick to it so it’s the perfect place for a post-meal caffeine stop to sort out that after-lunch-dip. A bit further down the road, underneath the railway arches at London Fields, is their roastery, which also has a small café area.
Climpson’s & Sons: 67 Broadway Market
E5 Bakehouse and Millhouse
Located right next to London Fields station, E5 Bakehouse is known far and wide in East London for its authentic sourdough breads. So, don’t be surprised to find a queue here on a Saturday or Sunday morning. The bakery has a small seating area and offers a small brunch menu. And great coffee, of course. Although you might have to wait a while to get your coffee during peak hours, it will be worth it. Do try their amazing almond croissants (if they haven’t all gone yet)! Or, alternatively go for the moist and tangy lemon drizzle cake. Next door, the bakery’s little sister Millhouse offers more indoor seating as well as a nice outdoor space.
E5 Bakehouse: 395 Mentmore Terrace
The Bread Station
For a slice of hygge head to this Danish bakery in London Fields. Located underneath one of the railway arches and with a great outdoor space (perfect for when the sun is out) The Bread Station is a wonderful place for a coffee with a cinnamon bun.
The Bread Station: 373 Helmsley Place
21 SID recently opened its doors on the ground level of a new apartment building just off lively Mare Street. Tucked away in a little corner, the public has yet to discover this newbie, but I’m already a regular. Why? With a nice indoor space and a quiet west-facing terrace (afternoon sun!) it’s the perfect spot for coffee, a small bite and some blog writing.
21 SID: 21 Sidworth Street
One of my personal faves because it’s located on Wilton Way, an über charming street that has witnessed a bit of a revival in recent years. This is where locals go to during the weekend when they want to escape the crowds of nearby Broadway Market. Footnote is a lovely corner café that not only serves great coffee but also a number of freshly prepared, contemporary brunch dishes. I love their sourdough bread with cooked mushrooms, tomatoes and tahini!
Footnote: 51 Wilton Way
Ever since Violet owner Claire Ptak had the honour of making the wedding cake for Prince Harry & Meghan’s Royal Wedding, her tiny little cupcake place in East London has been flooded with people from all corners of the capital and beyond who are dying to try her now famous bakes with a cup of great coffee. It’s best to go here on a sunny day as indoor seating is limited, but the café has a lovely outdoor terrace. Everyone who comes here has their own favourite bake, but personally I love the tahini brownie. Sooo good!
Violet: 47 Wilton Way
I love Regent’s Canal because a walk along this 19th century canal allows you to see East London from a different perspective whilst escaping the hustle and bustle of city life for a moment. The canal is popular among runners and cyclists but even if you’re not the sporty kind of guy it’s a lovely place for a morning or afternoon stroll. Towpath Café is there for your caffeine pit-stop. This tiniest of cafes is located right on the canal and only has a few (outdoor and indoor) seats so you might have to wait a bit. But that shouldn’t be a problem in this tranquil environment…
Towpath Café: 42 De Beauvoir Cres
Industrial Hackney Wick is a little piece of East Berlin in East London. Many of the former factories and warehouses in this area have been repurposed in recent years and turned into microbreweries, bars, galleries AND coffee shops. Take Stour Place, for instance. Based in a former canal-side warehouse, this gallery-cum-coffee-shop combines the best of Hackney Wick in one.
Stour Place: 7 Roach Road