On Monmouth Street in Covent Garden is the original Monmouth Coffee Company shop. It is well renowned and its accolades are well deserved.
Aside from running this coffee shop (and two others, both in Borough), the Monmouth Coffee Company sources coffee from around the world, and then roasts it back in Britain (until recently, in the basement of this very coffee shop). It supplies coffee to outlets around London and beyond.
So when I turned up here I was expecting… I don’t know… something bigger.
It’s a tiny place. We were sharing our small table with strangers, and for a second I thought how strange it was. But it’s not strange; it’s just that we English are used to our space. And actually, I soon realised what a nice concept it is… communal, like a congregation, not to mention very (very) cosy.
Congregation is an appropriate word. With the wonderful old pews and the staff’s unwavering dedication to an almighty entity (coffee), I had entered a church. For the first time since dubious Primary School assemblies I had found religion, and the Monmouth Coffee Company is something I can really believe in.
The coffee itself is absolutely wonderful. I had the daily roast, which was rich and smooth and memorable. The coffee is sourced in an ethical, sustainable way. Monmouth has established relationships with most of the farms and groups from which it buys, so the company knows exactly where its beans have come from and who has been picking them. As such, the coffee is not part of the “Fairtrade” brand, but it is certainly “fair” (and I am told the company often pays higher prices than the Fairtrade base price).
It is (so far, I believe) the only coffee shop on this blog which sources its own coffee.
There is an array of cakes and other treats and a take-away option. But this is a place for coffee.
27 Monmouth Street
We visited on 27 March 2008.