The Emergence of London’s Coffee Houses

The Emergence of London’s Coffee Houses

Since 2010 there has been a massive rise in the number coffee house in the UK. In the five years from 2010 there was an increase of over 5000 more establishments. Nowhere is it seen more than in London. London has a rich history of coffee houses with the ones being recorded in 1652 which was more of a stall. This was opened by the Greek owner Pasqua Rosee importing his coffee from Turkey. It became so popular it served 600 customers a day.

Wilton Way café and its apple crates for tables

The coffee house had started in Oxford as they were seen as an ideal location for people to meet and partake in intellectual conversations. The Temple Bar was established in 1656 by James Farr and was on the entrance to the City of London from the city of Westminster. In 1712 the Buttons coffee house was opened on Russell Street next to Covent Garden. It attracted poet’s journalists, playwrights and other intellectuals who met discussing issues and different topics. Today the site is occupied by a Starbucks outlet.

These early coffee houses had their own character and are not like the majority of the ones that are found today that are simply clones of each other. London does have the major brands, but it also boasts a large number of more individually created establishments.

One of the biggest successes has been Monmouth Coffee Company which was first started in Borough Market in 1980. It is always popular with its high-quality coffee and simple but delicious food. In now has two further branches in Bermondsey and Covent Garden.

The Wilton Way Café is independently own and located in Hackney and is also the home to London Fields Radio. The coffee beans come from Climpson and Sons and the café uses local suppliers for the great selection of foods. There is a real character feel to the café with old apple crates being used as makeshift tables and the food being displayed on curvy iron corrugated counters. The café isn’t large but is popular so always appears to be packed full.

It’s not just the coffee that is so good at Costa

Another rather unusual coffee house is the Waiting Room in Deptford. This double as a vegetarian/vegan café, and the prices are very competitive. The service is fast and rock music plays on the radio. As well as having its fair share of the smaller eccentric type coffee houses in the capital there are huge numbers of the international brands. The biggest company in the UK is Costa Coffee followed by Starbucks and then Caffe Nero. Costa Coffee was founded by the Costa brothers in London 1971 and recently has overtaken Starbucks as the nation’s favourite coffee house. One major reason they have been so successful has been the range of foods, particularly the cakes they serve in each café. In 2016 they opened their Wandsworth branch with an enhanced menu which included avocado on toast, macaroons and cold brew coffee. At the weekend cider wine and Prosecco is also available.

The range of coffee houses available in London is amazing. A visit to a world class department store, a sporting stadium, a major tourist attraction or even a transport station will give the public an opportunity to purchase coffee from these establishment’s cafes and bars. The coffee scene in London today is very much as popular as it is in every other major city in the world.

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