Coffee shop follow-up

Since my Soho coffee shop study post (with accompanying updated map here), I’ve been extending my knowledge and tasting the wares of half a dozen other local coffee sellers. I’ve also changed the order of the standings of a couple of the other shops after re-sampling their mochas. Here are my thoughts, with their new entries in the standings:

  • Hummingbird Bakery — Not at all bad. The coffee is Illy (top marks) and while it’s a bit strong for me (and yes, I appreciate that if I’m looking at coffee critically I may as well say “this is a bit too high quality for me”), it’s well-balanced and classy. And this time, they didn’t look at me askance when I said I didn’t want a cupcake. (#12)
  • Foxcroft & Ginger — Perhaps the least sweet of all the mochas I’ve had and enjoyed. A hint of cinnamon is a lovely touch (I guess some people might hate it – and it wasn’t optional it seems!), and the coffee is excellent. One for the days when I’m feeling austere and grown-up. (#11)
  • Mrs Marengo’s — Really good. A lovely shop with great staff and home-made, tasty food (the vegan carrot cake, I understand, is to die for) and the mocha lived up to my hopes. Probably deserves a higher place than, say, Bar Chocolate, where I didn’t feel like my custom was terribly appreciated, though the coffee is perhaps not quite on their level. (#5)
  • Ben’s Cookies — Is it unfair to expect as good a coffee from a place that self-evidently doesn’t have it as a priority? It doesn’t matter – they have a proper coffee machine, they can make a proper coffee. Not crazy about this place – the coffee, generously sized was the most expensive coffee I’ve had so far, and the staff were a bit… shifty. I haven’t tried the cookies, but I certainly won’t go there again for a mocha – the coffee just didn’t taste right, and the chocolate was just a bit wrong. Not appalling, but really should be better. (#23)
  • Vida e Caffe — A South African chain, with three stores in central London, I learn. Ebullient and friendly staff, but just about the most expensive mocha I’ve tried (£2.80 for a regular). Flavoured with Lindt chocolate, and perhaps I’m just suggestable but I think I can tell. The coffee’s good, the chocolate is underpowered, and there’s an odd aftertaste of whisky, which may be the packaging – the cups are a different material from any others I’ve tried. Not a top-of-the-lister, but very solid nevertheless, and I’d be tempted to go back for the amazing-looking muffins and custard tarts. (#15)
  • Marks & Spencer — the fancy hot food counter in M&S Oxford Street has been a mystery to me so far as I tend to only go there when I’m trying to be relatively healthy. But today, for the benefit of this blog, I decided to purchase their mocha (medium, served in a large soft drink cup with accompanying straw-inviting lid). It’s okay, but there’s nothing either delicious or unusual about it, and the chocolate taste is humdrum. Since I’d never choose an M&S coffee on the run, or to sit in M&S and nurse a cup, I doubt I’ll be going back. (#21)

 

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    • Olivia
    • November 15th, 2010

    Wait… there’s a Ben’s Cookies in soho?! If I now gain a stone, you’re to blame. Their cookies are amazing!

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