I was eating at a Vietemese restaurant in Clerkenwell when I noticed this book, the irony being I had just left specialty coffee darling St. Ali. As I flipped through the pages while I ate my BBQ pork, I stumbled upon an important discovery: Notes Music and Coffee is open until 21:00- a rarity in London where only pubs and corporate chains are open past 19:00. The significance for me? Time for one more cup of coffee before my evening flight. There are a lot of great reviews of Notes online already, (like here) so I knew I was going to get a good cup of coffee. I admired the La Marzocco Strada as I walked in but my caffeine tolerance had already reached it’s limit, and if I was only going to to have one drink I wanted filter coffee. I had an excellent v60 of a Costa Rica from Square Mile (I’m embarrassed that I don’t remember the farm and can’t find it online) and a good conversation with one of the baristas. We agreed that although Square Mile roasts excellent coffee they get a little carried away on their bag descriptions.
What set Notes apart is its incredible location right in the middle of the theater district. Traveled coffee crawlers know that the best cafes and coffee shops are often in inconspicuous places, ranging from developing working class neighborhoods to partially gentrified ghettos. I personally love exploring sketchy backstreets, but I think it’s positive that specialty coffee is becoming more prominent in the public square. Now tourists can get a top notch coffee while walking from Big Ben to the National Gallery or before an evening showing of that new Queen musical.
In other words, in London there’s no reason to ever drink bad coffee.