Harden's survey result
“There really is only one winner here when it comes to coffee!” – these caffeine-havens remain the survey’s No. 1 coffee company thanks to its “perfect” brews – from a “fabulous, rotating and extensive selection of beans” – delivered by “patient and helpful staff”, who are “invariably lovely despite the crazy-massive queues”. By Borough Market, the “rustic, no-frills SE1 branch with its communal heavy wood table” offers a “quintessential London breakfast experience, with a cult following” (foodwise, there’s bread and jam, plus “beautifully-sourced pastries”). The original WC2 branch is also “lovely… if you can get a seat”; and a recent addition is a Saturday-only branch at Spa Terminus in Bermondsey SE16.
“The best coffee on the planet” (“a fabulous diverse array complemented by very knowledgeable and friendly staff”) ensure that these “caffeine-lovers’ paradises” remain the survey’s No.1 chain of coffee houses and are “consistently so rammed”. Foodwise, there’s just “a small range of good pastries, brownies and shortbreads”, but at the mega-popular Borough Market branch you can “nibble on jam and butter on crusty white bread, while people watching”.
“It’s cramped, it’s busy”, but “you’ll never get bored of the variety of coffee flavours on offer”, at these epic caffeine-stops – the best-known of London’s top tier coffee house chains – where “excellent recommendations” from the “really knowledgeable” staff (“who will let you sample and taste different growths”) really add to the experience. Borough Market is the definitive branch, and – as well as the pastries offered elsewhere in the group – also has bread and jam on hand to soak up the brews.
“The queues can be ridiculous” for these “shrines to coffee” but “the sheer quality of their beans makes it a first choice” and “service is five-star even when they are manically busy” (i.e. mostly). The famous Borough Market shop suffers “an annoying number of hipsters outside” but otherwise “makes a wonderful place to watch the world go by”, and enjoy “delicious bread and jam” too. All branches serve “a few yummy pastries”.
Last orders: 6 pm-6.30 pm, SE16 midnight