Your guide to the best (and most expensive) coffee around UCL
In a city with an overwhelming array of choice, where do you choose to sustain your coffee addiction?
We are without a doubt spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting places to get coffee in this city. However, when you’re as picky as me when it comes to indulgence, we must settle for nothing but the best (despite living in my overdraft).
Having spent a silly amount of time and money researching, I have concluded that these are the places that are essential spots to visit for your coffee.
This guide will hopefully streamline your search for caffeine, whether it be for a quick cup between lectures, to set a good first impression on a first date, or to simply be a coffee snob (as you should be).
1. Glass Coffee – Buck Street Market, Camden
Hidden amongst the brightly coloured shipping containers making up Buck Street Market, Glass Coffee prides itself on its use of technology to connect you to your coffee. Just by scanning a QR code, you’ll be told what type of coffee you’re drinking, its origin, and even farmers’ photos of the coffee at its source.
It’s a destination for those who are passionate about coffee, as I found myself chatting to the barista and another customer whilst sampling for roughly half an hour. Truthfully, this was a bit of a quarter-life crisis but the barista’s passion was clear and incredible. Equipped with lovely outdoor seating and a view onto Camden High Street, as well as multiple eating options around, it makes a lovely setting to spend your afternoon.
2. Store Street Espresso – Tavistock Place
A stone’s throw away from UCL on Tavistock Place, Store Street Espresso is unsurprisingly a popular brunch spot. Queues are commonplace, and the venue packed with students and white-collar workers alike. Despite this, it’s worth the wait as the house roasts and multiple rotational guest roasts never fail to disappoint. It boasts a beautiful interior, with large ceiling windows allowing plenty of natural light in. It’s a great place to study, with large tables and its proximity to UCL. Overall, Store Street Espresso is a fantastic place to shelter amongst the harsh realities of privileged student life.
3. The Coffee Jar – Camden
Hidden just off Camden High Street, the Coffee Jar is another excellent coffee shop worth your time. Having opened in 2013, it has quickly become a Camden favourite with locals and visitors alike. With extremely limited seating, it possesses an intimate and friendly atmosphere, with lovely and skilled staff to match the excellent coffee. As I sat there, regular after regular greeted the staff on a first-name basis, creating a distinctly communal atmosphere. In addition to its great coffee, the baked goods were delicious and perhaps the best of all these places. No wonder it’s a favourite amongst the Camden-dwelling hipsters.
4. The Attendant – Fitzrovia
Found in the heart of Fitzrovia, the Attendant is famous for its setting in a former Victorian men’s bathroom. Built in the 1890s, the venue lay dormant for more than 50 years before being restored to its current glory. Whilst sat on a stool in amongst Victorian era urinals, the thought occurred that the Attendant was perhaps a gimmick rather than an authentic speciality coffee shop, but as soon I was served my coffee, I was quick to realise that I had been mistaken. It’s the real deal, with a very impressive space and excellent coffee. It’s most definitely worth a trip, especially if seeking to impress a fellow snob or if you just want to drink coffee where people once urinated.
5. Origin Coffee – Euston Road
Another venue close to UCL, Origin Coffee is a coffee purist’s dream. The intricate care in the roasting and sourcing processes meant that the coffee was phenomenal. There is an obsessive approach to quality coffee that is evidenced in baristas and their dedication to their craft. Nestled into the British Library just off Euston Road, the interior is elegant, creating a perfect environment to either work from or shelter in. It made a perfect place to take my pal for a very cute coffee date, which he described as “mesmerising”, even though I doubt the accuracy of his experience.
Of course, this guide isn’t to suggest that there aren’t many other great coffees to be had in and around UCL, but I personally swear by these places. Those seeking to spend more for better quality should most definitely pay visits to these places, and those who are not willing should continue to enjoy instant coffee like the hunter-gatherers they are. Take it from one pretentious coffee snob to another – these are the places to go.