A day-trip to London offered up my first British coffee in 8 months (I’ve been away for a while). First stop Kaffeine, a highly regarded coffee shop just north of Oxford Street.
There’s a hint of the industrial about Kaffeine, with its stripped floorboards, crumbling bare brick walls and a black slab of a counter. Modish Fitzrovia is an appropriate location.
It’s a bustling place (hectic, often). But there were plenty of surprisingly comfy wooden crate-like benches for relaxed, hassle-free perching.
The beans come from Square Mile Coffee Roasters, a top notch roastery run by former World Barista Champion James Hoffman. It’s a beacon for London’s coffee-heads, with Kaffeine’s menu headed “Square Mile Coffee”, rather than plain old “Coffee”.
My flat white was as terrific as I’d hoped. Beautifully presented and just all-round faultless.
There’s plenty of very nice-looking food on offer too.
The baristas, including owner Peter, are a talented, passionate bunch. One of them (Krysty) gave me a tour of the impressive Syneso machine, explaining such concepts as the effect of humidity on coffee. Variable weather conditions outside can impact coffee inside, so the baristas need to check and re-check settings frequently to ensure consistent espressos (between them they taste around 15 ristrettos a day!).
But it’s not just about fantastic coffee. Kaffeine offers more buzz and friendliness than many of its London rivals. It’s up there with the best the capital has to offer and, already, I can’t wait to return.
66 Great Titchfield Street
We visited on 12 October 2010.