Caffeinated: An Introductory Guide to London's Coffee Scene

***Warning: The following article contains ranting about some really, really awesome scones and fantastic coffee. Discretion is advised*** 

Coffee is not just the wonderful elixir that keeps you awake in those long, looong, boring lectures. It is an art, a craft that brings together many. From the farmers who perfect their craft, working hard to produce and pick each and every individual fruit, to the baristas that make sure each cup is beautifully made for you to enjoy. This process is a wonderful representation of how so many people are unconsciously connected together in the enjoyment of something so simple, and yet so magical. 

Today, I have prepared a composition of the best places for your next cup of coffee. And, no, Starbucks and Tims are not on this list. This is a showcase of what London has to offer. 

1. Black Walnut

First up is Black Walnut. I used to roll my eyes every time someone told me to check this place out. I simply didn’t understand why people were raving about it. But after sitting down and talking with the manager, interacting with the staff, taking a lot of pictures and, of course, enjoying a cup of joe, I now understand why this place is so great. 

Black Walnut is a family-owned fair trade (yeah!) organization that not only believes but shows that coffee is an art. 

     All photos provided by author.

If you want to go to Black Walnut to study… don’t! First of all, there is no wifi. Secondly, you will not be able to hold your attention, or at least I couldn't. There is something so warm and cozy and gentle and… ahhh... about the atmosphere. This place brings together the community in such a wonderful way. From the moment you step through the doors, you are overcome with this irresistible sense of lightness. 

While they have a huge selection of freshly made goods and coffee, they are well known for their dark-roasted coffee, oatmeal date and cranberry white cheddar scones. 

I have a confession, I hate any baked good that is not a cookie, but after trying the cranberry white cheddar scone... Oh my god, warm it up, load it with a lot of butter and dig in. 

It is heavenly. 

2. Commonwealth Coffee

Commonwealth Coffee brings something to London that is bright and modern. Taking inspiration from the vibrant coffee scenes of Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary, Commonwealth Coffee is revolutionizing the coffee scene. It is no longer about how quickly you can get your coffee—it’s about the practice. 

I notice the details: the water dispenser free for customer use, the adorable washroom, the tiny child-use chairs and the candles by the wall. The baristas are unbelievably kind and there is undeniable attention to making the customer feel welcome. 

They have a huge selection of the most Insta-worthy donuts you can imagine and a beautiful plethora of beverages. Check them out!​

3. Origins Co

Origins stand out as being a health-food store. They are located 105 Kings Street at, you guessed it, the old Fire Roasted location. What I love about Origins is how much they showcase what the city has to offer. From the kombucha to the cookie dough (which is fifty cents cheaper than the one sold at the market), this store has so much to offer.

If you miss your Fire Roasted Coffee then have no fear, for Origins is here! And, they get their coffee from Fire Roasted. 

Their Breakfast Boost and Green Goddess smoothies are a huge hit, along with their ginger cookies (they're a health food store, so you can have as many cookies as you want)! 

Some More!

The Rhino Lounge: The Lounge is located inside of Museum London, which means that you can go look at beautiful art and then sit down for a cup of coffee. Can it get any better than that? 

Plant Matter Cafe: Plant Matter has a wide selection of primarily plant-based dishes, and since they are healthy, you can go crazy. After all, healthy food means more food, which means no calories,right? Or at least, that’s what I tell myself.

Wisdom Cafe: A beautiful Japanese Cafe with a wide selection of teas, coffee and crepes! 

Coffee and culture are intertwined. Every nation has its own take on coffee. Vietnam and egg coffee, Mexico and Cafe de Olla, Morocco and Cafe des Epices, Finland and Kaffeost, and London and our growing coffee scene. Know that London is a growing city that features many unique places. I am as much talking about coffee shops as I am about local sites. From the Covent Garden Market, Brown and Dickson and Filthy Rebena, to Eldon House and Museum London, I encourage you to go out and explore the city. There is so much to be uncovered!

Be sure to check out a coffee shop from my carefully articulated list while you’re at it!    

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