London's most innovative coffees

Food & Drink

These days, creative latte art and an extensive range of milk alternatives are no longer enough to make a coffee shop stand out. From inventive flavours to extravagant decoration to international variations, a new wave of coffee has started to arrive in London. We sent Rosie to test them out.

Beanbag Coffee

It started with a stand at Maltby Street Market selling iced coffee served in a beanbag, and has evolved into a business that specialises in ‘functional’ coffees that serve as the perfect natural pre-workout sold in London’s top boutique gyms such as BXR and Barry’s Bootcamp. Flavours include coconut, peanut, cinnamon, ginger and turmeric – and taste absolutely sublime. They’re made with organic and sustainably-sourced ingredients such as organic peanut butter and organic coconut flesh, and are naturally low in calories: the coffee shots contain no more than 50 calories and the bigger bottles no more than 150 calories, and they’re dairy-free, vegan and gluten-free too. Be warned – this stuff is seriously addictive!

Photo: Beanbag Coffee

The Black Cab Coffee Co

The Black Cab Coffee Co was founded in 2012, using a black cab to travel the country making coffee and cocktails. The company now has a permanent home and roastery in Battersea, recognised for its fine beans and killer cocktails. The cab can still be spotted at events, ensuring that you don’t go without a decent cappuccino even in the absence of a specialty coffee shop.

Photo: Black Cab Coffee Co

OPSO

If you’ve ever been to Greece, you’ll be familiar with their incredible Cappuccino Freddo. It has yet to become a thing in London – until now, with Greek restaurants such as Marylebone’s OPSO making it a feature of their epic brunch menu. The drink is made by blending a double shot of espresso with ice and then pouring a freshly beaten milk froth over the top. The result is a fabulously frothy drink that is almost too easy to down in seconds – be warned, it packs a punch.

Photo: OPSO

Palm Vaults

Just when you thought a rose latte was about as basic as it gets, Palm Vaults has gone one step further by infusing their lattes with CBD oil – and adding a healthy sprinkle of edible glitter on top for good measure. Now that’s what you call latte art.

EL&N

EL&N‘s not-so-secret menu item, the Lucky Charms latte, has become a cult favourite for those in the know. For those who prefer to eat their breakfast separately to their coffee, try one of their special lattes to witness their famous bear-themed latte art – it’s almost too cute to sip; no wonder their cafes are hugely popular with the Instagramming crowd.

Photo: EL&N

Prufrock Coffee

If you want to go somewhere that really knows its coffee, Prufrock is for you. The cafe, which also hosts coffee masterclasses, was founded by three coffee enthusiasts and has now expanded to a team of 13, whose combined coffee knowledge is not to be reckoned with. You won’t find a turmeric latte here – just seriously good coffee, prepared just right. We love their takeaway cups, featuring hand-drawn illustrations of animals  – the number of legs on the animal represents the size of the cup, in ounces. Spider latte, anyone?!

Photo: @robsonbarista

Kuka

Kuka Coffee’s ‘Minor Martinis’ are taking London by storm. What’s not to love about a 1969 Morris Minor 1000, fully equipped with a nitro espresso martini tap?! Kuka also produces sublime bottled cold brew, which they refer to as “clean caffeine” for its positive impact both socially and environmentally. The coffee can be traced all the way from bean to bottle – and the latter is, of course, fully recyclable.

Photo: Kuka Coffee

By Rosie

Main photo: EL&N

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