6 coffee shops that you’ll love in Islington

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From third-wave artisanal coffee roasteries, to traditional Austrian cafés, coffee is the blood that runs through Islington’s veins.

When it gets to 2PM and your energy levels are dropping, it’d be a shame to go to Pret or Starbucks for that caffeine fix when there’s so many great independent cafés in the borough.

We spent a day roaming the streets and drinking way too much coffee to find the best places in Islington for a lovely cup of joe.

 

Workshop Coffee Co.

27 Clerkenwell Road, EC1M 5RN

Even if you’ve never been to Workshop, chances are you’ve drunk their coffee. Their beans, freshly roasted at this Clerkenwell café, can be found in plenty of good coffee shops across the city. This is their flagship branch, and it’s a lovely place for a cuppa.

The front of Workshop Coffee Co.
The effortlessly cool black shop front is pretty inviting.

It’s quite dim and cosy, but also spacious and airy due to the open-plan layout, with the counter nestled in a little island in the middle. Their famous ‘Cult of Done’ espresso goes into their drinks, and it’s a properly delicious coffee. It’s got a toffee-like, sticky, almost smokey taste, which is set off perfectly by the silky-smooth steamed milk that sits on top of your latte.

SONY DSC
It’s a gorgeous place to have a coffee.

They roast the coffee in-store, so the whole place is filled with a great aroma that you won’t want to leave behind.

The food’s pretty good too – the scrambled eggs are to die for. Get them with a massive slab of smoked salmon if you’re feeling fancy.

The staff are great, the coffee is even better, and it’s a good place to either sit and get some work done, or just stare into space. Basically, it’s one of the best artisanal coffee shops in London, and it’s not to be missed.

 

The CoffeeWorks Project

96-98 Islington High Street, N1 8EG

Back up by Angel lies this lovely shop, a family-run independent shop at the heart of Islington. You don’t need to take our word for it – last year, they claimed the title of ‘Best Café in Islington’ in the Time Out Love London awards.

The front of Islington High Street Cafe, the CoffeeWorks Project
The garden’s great, but the front of the shop is a great place to watch the world go by.

Bright, airy, and with a lovely minimalist feel inside, it’s definitely a great place to visit in the summer months for an iced latte – they’ve even got a secluded little garden round the back, which is an oasis of quiet and calm, just metres away from the madness of Upper Street.

Try one of their single origin brewed coffees, they’re amazing. This place really cares about what they serve, and it shows in the range and quality of products they have on offer.

the basement of the CoffeeWorks Project
A secluded reading nook on the bottom floor of of the CoffeeWorks Project

Even better, their espresso machine is completely manual – there’s no fancy electronics here, just pure mechanical coffee power. It’s the only one of its kind in London, so if you want an espresso like they do at CoffeeWorks, you’re going to have to make the journey here.

The counter of the CoffeeWorks Project
The one-of-a-kind espresso machine takes pride of place at the front of the shop

Go when it’s warm, sit in the garden, and ponder your afternoon away.

 

Timberyard

61-67 Old Street, EC1V 9HW

Timberyard is Old Street’s living room. The counter’s spilling over with delicious cakes, biscuits, salads and quiches, and the healthy amount of super-comfy sofas and armchairs means you’ll always get a seat.

The front of Timberyard
Doesn’t it look cosy?

The staff are insanely nice, and it seems like it’s practically an office for East London’s creative types – there’s always loads of people working away on their laptops in the peaceful atmosphere, so if you’re looking for a quiet coffee break, this is the place to be.

A selection of the delicious food on offer at Timberyard
LOOK AT ALL THESE CAKES

It can be a bit pricey, but everything’s homemade and absolutely delicious. Plenty of stuff for people who don’t eat meat or gluten, too.

Head down to the basement for a perfect working environment. It’s like being in the world’s nicest and most relaxed office, except you don’t know anyone and the coffee’s better.

 

Kipferl

20 Camden Passage, N1 8ED

Fancy a trip to Vienna but can’t afford the Eurostar? The closest you’ll get without leaving London is by paying a trip to Kipferl, a beautiful and authentic old-school Viennese coffeehouse.

The front of Kipferl, Islington's Viennese café
Is Kipferl one of Camden Passage’s prettiest cafés?

The Viennese practically invented café culture, and they know what they’re doing. The shop is filled with delicious sweet treats and all kinds of cream-filled coffee, and the number of German-speaking patrons that frequent the café suggests that it’s pretty good.

A selection of cakes at Kipferl
Just a small selection of the amazing Austrian cakes and pastries on offer

There’s no third-wave East London coffee hipsterism here (as much as we love all that stuff) – the coffee here is dark, bitter and strong. Just what you need to sharpen up in the afternoon.

Treat yourself to a melange with whipped cream. It’s fairly similar to a cappucino, but even tastier.

And your face gets covered in cream when you drink it, which is fun.

 

Shoreditch Grind

213 Old Street, EC1V 9NR

Part of the successful mini-chain of ‘Grinds’ across London, Old Street is one of the coolest. They play good music pretty loudly, so if you’re trying to work it’s probably not the best place to go.

The outside of Old Street davourite Shoreditch Grind
It’s small, but perfectly formed.

But if you’re looking to catch up with friends over a coffee (or an espresso martini, come nightfall), it’s the place to be.

Their almond croissants are to die for as well.

A trip to Shoreditch Grind might be bad for your wallet – because once you go, you’ll want to go back every day.

 

Caravan

11-13 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QD

Time for some honesty – after 5 coffees in just a few hours, we couldn’t stomach another latte at caravan, opting for a relaxing Camden Hells lager instead. Yeah, we know. Sorry.

The outside of Caravan coffee on Exmouth Market
Exmouth Market is a foodie’s heaven, so Caravan is in the right place.

Fortunately, just like Workshop, Caravan are pretty prolific roasters, and you can find their coffee all over the place. It’s bold and unpretentious, but still has the same great flavour you’d expect from artisan coffee.

It’s probably even worth buying a grinder and espresso machine for, so you can enjoy it whenever you want.

Doug Bolton has had too much coffee.
Another coffee at Caravan would probably have meant a trip to A&E. But trust us, it’s good.

Their Exmouth Market café is great, with plenty of coffee on offer, but a delicious selection of craft ales, wine and spirits.

And it’s got a lovely restaurant-style layout, with big bright windows all around. Bring a date here if you really want to impress them.

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