London coffee culture – the good and the bad

Since I’m fortunate enough to travel quite often, I got to notice differences in the coffee culture in different cities around the world. After telling you about the coffee in NYC and in Tel-Aviv, I thought I would give a go to London’s coffee, and share with you a few things I found interesting. Hopefully you will appreciate my anecdotes 😉

General note:

When I was in Amsterdam last summer (and after spending the year before that in New York), I was quite surprised, not to mention disappointed at the fact that most places had no almond milk. The go to non dairy milk was very clearly oat milk. It took me a while to figure it out (and now I feel kinda silly I didn’t realize it sooner), but after noticing that the same goes for cafes in London, I realized that oat is a local product in Europe, making it cheaper and more available, and it would make perfect sense that the coffee shops in London would use oat milk rather than Almond milk. Although apprehensive at first, about two weeks into my trip I learned to enjoy oat milk, and even buy it at the supermarket, so I can take my morning coffee (or tea… After all, when in London…) with it. Note that some coffee shops do offer almond milk, and off course soy and occasionally coconut milk too (and from time to time hazelnut milk as well).

The good:

London has numerous coffee shops. A lot of them are independent coffee shops with Artisan coffee, a lot are big chains, and some are sort of in between – Artisan local chains. The upside of the coffee culture in London is that it is mostly good, strong coffee, and that is true pretty much anywhere you go. I am not a fan of chains, but I have to say that the options in Costa, Nero and Pret are pretty surprising. This makes decent coffee quite accessible everywhere, and the prices aren’t too bad (much cheaper than NYC, at least, and if you don’t take your coffee with fancy vegan milk like I do, it’s even cheaper).

A lot of coffee shops in London also serve good food. Mostly breakfast of snacks, but with quite a variety, and you will get generous portions. Moreover, many cafes are vegan friendly, and will have vegan options for either savory or sweet dishes.

The bad:

I was surprised to discover that finding a spot to work from in London is quite hard. Many places do not have Wi-Fi, or if they do, it is not very stable, and you won’t find the password very easily, rather you will have to ask the staff members for it.

Another fact about the cafes in London is that many of them don’t feel very nice or cozy. Though London is amazing at window shops, which are extremely appealing (sometimes in an over-the-top way), many interiors are quite dull and even gloomy. A lot of the places lack character, a special touch and are pretty industrial, and not in a good way. I found that roughly speaking, London either has super cute, fancy, girly, pink, floral cafes, or rather dark corporate looking place. Of course there are some exceptions (which I will tell you about in one of my upcoming posts), but often times I found myself wandering into places which were disappointing.

This is true for NYC too, but maybe six months in Tel-Aviv have spoiled me, and I was expecting something else – cafes are open for very few hours throughout the day, usually closing anywhere between 4pm-6pm. Unlike in NYC, many independent cafes are actually closed during the weekend. This was quite frustrating for me, as I wanted to try a few of the recommended places in town, only to find that they are closed.

Join me to find out more about my London picks,


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