Coffeeshopaholic | 2015
Living in London for a couple of years the city's coffee shops was a mecca for a coffeeshopaholic like me. Here's reviews of two London coffee gems.
Brick Lane Coffee
I could stay in this place for all eternity. Or most of eternity at least. Well, a reasonable portion of it, that is. If the place is called Brick Lane Coffee or Street Coffee is not quite clear to me. Outside the amazing black sign has the first name written in lightning bulbs but when I log on to the (hour based) WiFi it says Street Coffee. Either way I love it. Could be called 'Herpes' and I’d still come running back the first time I got the chance.
Hot hot hot
Before I talk about the coffee there’s one thing I need to address! This place has got heaters! Amazing devices blowing out hot air! I’m of course not amazed by the device itself –after all we do live in the 21st century, but the fact that it’s HERE, protecting me from the recurring poorly-isolated-London-coffee-shop-climate, is a blessing in the least.
It’s not only the climate which is steaming hot –so is the coffee. The perfect temperature that hurts your fingers when you carry the characteristic white takeaway cup. All their coffees are served in these. Whether it’s to stay or takeaway. Personally I think coffee tastes a lot better served in one of these cups. And if the coffee shop doesn’t present me with creative, different or original ceramics I ask for the takeaway version to fulfill my experience.
Just like home
Sitting down in front of a river of hot air, getting soaked by warmth while burning my fingertips on my skinny flat white, I’m almost convinced I just entered coffee heaven. Before I start inspecting my surroundings something else catches my attention. One part of a loving couple picks up her ringing phone and answers it in Danish. Even though it hasn’t even been a full week since I left my homeland the sound of the Danish language adds to the warm and cuddly feeling of Brick Lane Coffee.
Chesterfield and waving cats
It’s not only the language adding to the feeling of home; from where I sit I’ve already spotted two waving cats. Those golden or silver tin cats that wave like crazy with one paw. I had one of them in my kitchen back home.
The lamps are made of paper cups, the holders for spoons, sugar and lids are made of Lego and the walls have coffee loving customers words of wisdom written all over them. Creativity is everywhere to find in this particular coffee shop. And especially the writings on the walls serve as a perfect distraction from my thesis writing.
I’ve already returned to this place more than once. It’s a place I miss when I go back home. A place I feel at home in. It has it all. And the location is impeccable. I love to step right out onto Brick Lane, taking a break from the uni work to look at people and shops in my favorite London area. So the boring-looking sandwiches are really the only minus in my book. And that isn’t enough to steal away a star.
Brick Lane Coffee has since closed down this (what I didn't know on my first of many times there) very iconic Shoreditch spot.
Haggerston Espresso Room (HER)
Haggerston Espresso Room…. or HER as it’s referred to is next stop on my coffee crawl. I actually found this place when looking for jobs. I wanna do a day or two a week in one of London's amazing coffee shops, and these guys were looking for people and I liked what I was looking at. Decided that since the place looked very appealing this could be it.
But I had to see it first. I’ve been cheated by pics and homepages in the past. I’ll never forget the day I went to Dalston to find, what I thought would be, an amazing little place away from the main streets. An artistic little corner café hidden from the hectic Kingsland Road. BUT! And this is a big but(t)! What I was presented with was nothing like that.
“Tina, we salute you”, as it’s called, was a dirty little room with what appeared to be very uncomfortable chairs, and poorly decorated too. Very poorly. So poorly in fact, that I never even entered. I looked through the windows and then walked straight past the door heading back to Kingsland Road. To be fair I could have been pleasantly surprised if I’d walked in and given the Tina fans the benefit of the doubt. But I didn’t. Maybe I should actually. Then I can give it a fair review.
Coffee, coffee, coffee
Back to HER! She, on the contrary, is VERY appealing. A lovely lady; beautifully decorated and oozing of self-confidence creating a warm and relaxing atmosphere. Am already on my second steaming hot skinny flat white. A bit disappointed about the presentation of the first one (white cup, white saucer) but LOVING the second one in their simple white to go cup with their graphic logo printed on it. But the content of the cup is consistently good. The perfect amount of espresso and milk. Perfect for someone like me; not adult enough to enjoy a black espresso, but just mature enough to want to actually taste the coffee instead of drowning it completely in milk.
... And the cakes
Don’t even get me started on the cakes. I want to try everything the buffet has to offer: The lovely pink cakes, the mini scones, the fluffy croissants and finally THE oreo cake… and on top of it it’s gluten free and organic as well. I find some inner strength and my final choice is between the banana bread (which has a visual resemblance to Danish rye bread) and the spinach, carrot and pumpkin seed muffin. I finally decide on the muffin and reluctantly go all in when the barista recommends me to try it toasted AND with butter. I don’t even feel bad after eating it. It had a fresh, light and healthy taste to it, making it the perfect snack without the guilt.
Chang chang changitty chang shoobop
The calming musical background pleases my ears. The music is a great blend of all the best from the past. But it definitely peaks when the speakers let Sandy sing out her love for Danny. Who doesn’t love a bit of Grease in the afternoon? HER; I’m hopelessly devoted to you. Whenever I listen to the music from Grease I think of a Danish friend of mine. She does a killer Danny impression. And she’s not embarrassed by her ongoing Travolta-crush.
It won’t serve as any surprise when I’m handing my praises out generously to this little wonder of a coffee shop. I will definitely come back. For the coffee, the cakes, the atmosphere, the music and the lovely staff. It’s clear to see that I’m not the only customer who feels at home in this place. Am not the only one who’s approaching my third hour here. People look so comfortable. Like it’s their own living room. A very chilly living room though. There it was, the downside! From experience I decided to bring a sweater. Even though cold coffee shops are a recurring theme in London it still a big thumbs down for me. Whenever my nose gets freezing cold inside a coffee shop it takes away a star. No mercy. Not even in this case.
Find HER at Haggerston Espresso Room, 13 Downham Rd, London N1 5AA, United Kingdom. Still in business.