Give me a good cup of coffee and a nice cafe and I’ll be happy for hours. Company is welcome — preferably in the form of a friend, book or notebook — but unnecessary if there the proper atmosphere. As we all know, sometimes you need to get on your feet to enjoy the best coffee. A long-time joke of mine is that I’ll go anywhere for good coffee; it’s terrifyingly true.
Abraço is the first cafe the comes to mind when I think of drinking on feet. Blue Bottle, preferably in Tribeca’s All Good Things is another standing-only option as is Cafe Integral. The Espresso Room is another one to add to the standing-room only list. Sure, the cafe does its best to provide sitting space for customers, but seeing as it’s in London and the majority of their seats are outside, it’s more of a gesture than a practical solution.
I went to The Espresso Room early on a Monday morning in January. People were clamoring for caffeine to get them going. Despite having a plane out of Gatwick at 1pm, I knew that I needed to make time for London coffee. After debating, I chose to go to The Espresso Room because I had heard some good bits and pieces about it from the blog-iverse.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed. Perhaps it was because all my previous coffee experiences in London have been beyond stellar. Maybe it was because I was sitting in a slip of a seat or it could have been because my mind was racing as I was thinking about all I wanted to do before I went to the airport. My experience at The Espresso Room left me wanting something more from my coffee and from my time.
I ordered a cappuccino. They asked me if I wanted sugar, an obvious no. Perhaps it’s because the space is so small they don’t have a DIY condiments bar (I didn’t see/don’t remember), but that was my first warning that something might not be right. They put coco powder on without asking me. My drink ended up tasting like milky coffee with overtones of chocolate.
The cappuccino wasn’t bad so much as I don’t really know what the coffee tasted like. All I could taste was that gosh darn coco powder! True, there was more milk for my liking, but after getting more than my fair share of milky cappuccini in Italy, I’m willing to concede that cappuccini can, in fact, be milky. I wanted to like this coffee so much, the people who worked there were so nice and it felt so London, but it just didn’t sing for me.
The Espresso Room is a great location and does a great business but those looking for the best of London coffee should probably look elsewhere. In a city that offers so much of the best, best, best coffee it’s difficult for anything that’s solidly good to stand out.
Do you take sugar in your coffee?