As a self proclaimed coffee aficionado and addict, and fed up with big chain coffee places, I took my search for the best coffee in London to the streets. I should preface this by saying that as a manager of hospitality for decades, and as part owner of Sharp Hospitality, a food service consulting company (@sharphosp) I believe I have some experience and knowledge.
I have polished off way too many coffees at what used to be my favourite Canadian Chain, and at McDonalds and Starbucks and in need of a better cup of the liquid gold, I set out. Armed with a mitt full of loonies, the hunt was on.
One little tip from the guy in the wheelchair: dome lids suck.
Oh, another tip as well: Sweet and Low is awful. Spend the extra buck and get some Splenda.
The following is in random order. The winner announced at the end.
Camelis: Excellent cappuccino and pleasant service. Easy to access. Why is no one visiting this place?
Hasbeans: amazingly friendly. I asked for their recommendation and it was a tasty brew. In the Market so easy to get around.
Commonwealth Coffee Co.: have visited three times. Decent service, great coffee. Twice they haven’t had sweetner and I didn’t know this until I had already paid. Staff were a little nonchalant when stating they haven’t had any for awhile. I commented on their Facebook page with no response. Guess I’m not wanted as a customer.
City Hall: With their 1980’s machine, yuck. Worst coffee of the search.
William’s Coffee Pub: like the coffee. Tough to enter with at their accessible entrance. Have asked several times when it will be fixed. No response. Won’t go back.
Coffee Culture: Amazing coffee, service and product. No auto buttons at the door, but staff are quick to help.
Coffee Barn: out of town vendor here during events in Victoria Park. WOW!!! Since they are not available all the time, have to take them out of the running.
Little Red Roaster: In the courthouse. Once you get past security, well worth the visit. Great brew and friendly staff. Hate the Sweet and Low.
London Bicycle Cafe: a challenge to enter due to the step and a shorter Stop Gap, but worth the effort. A fresh pour over made while you wait with excellent flavour. Very friendly!
Symposium Cafe: friendly and helpful. Not the best coffee I’ve had.
Black Walnut: I can’t visit the location in Wortley, but frequent the Richmond location. Entering off the patio, the door to enter is a challenge. But, the coffee is bloody amazing and the staff offer assistance no problem!
YOU Cafe: very good coffee and the staff were so friendly. Easy to access! Nice little gem in the city.
Edgar and Joes: LOVE the coffee, but bring my own sweetener as I can’t stand Sweet and Low. Friendly staff and the location is completely accessible.
Fire Roasted: Wortley location. Staff member was extremely bored and I didn’t feel welcome. Enjoy the coffee though.
Locomotive Espresso: Can’t access right now. Had a friend go in for me. Good coffee, but not the best in customer experience.
The Bag Lady: again, cannot enter due to steps. A decent cup of coffee.
LaNoisette: damn fine roast. Friendly staff. Easy to access.
There are many great local coffee shops and cafes that I haven’t tried and one day I will get to them all. But for now, the toughest part: choosing my top pick.
First, honourable mentions: YOU Cafe and Edgar and Joe’s.
3rd place: Little Red Roaster in the Courthouse.
2nd place: Black Walnut Richmond
And the winner…
Oh the suspense….
London Bicycle Cafe: Gabi makes one hell of a cup of coffee. Stopping in Saturdays to have a cup and visit with Ben and Andrew makes for a great day. And speaking of Gabi, tip her well. Another student caught up in the OSAP mess.
Next up: looking for London’s Best Breakfast