Four superior coffees for getting through that Monday breakfast meeting. Latte from Pret? Cappuccino from Starbucks? It doesn’t have to be this way — especially not in Soho. Here's our pick of the alternatives:
Meia de Leite
Meia de leite is Portuguese for “half milk”; it’s the latte’s punchier, shorter brother, with a coffee/milk ratio of 1:1. For your meia, seek out Vida e Caffè: it’s technically part of a small chain (there are three in London, the rest are in South Africa), and there’s a pleasant Vida outpost in Soho. Order it strong (a “mucho”) for a big boost/small heart attack.
Vida e Caffè, 37 Golden Square W1F 9LB
Essentially a strong shot of espresso served with microfoam (steamed milk, but denser, sweeter and “wetter” than the foam of a cappuccino), a good flat white is frankly unbeatable. Given its name it would be churlish to ignore the stylings of Flat White on Berwick Street, while Foxcroft & Ginger just a few doors down also serves an authentically Aussie take.
Flat White, 17 Berwick Street, W1F 0PT; Foxcroft & Ginger, 3 Berwick Street W1F 0DR
In coffee-speak, the stumpy — a Fernandez & Wells speciality — is a triple-ristretto with textured (a style of froth)milk. At 6oz it’s a small, velvety smooth drink with just the right balance of coffee and milk. It’s a visual treat as well — the stumpy is served in a glass, not a cup, and topped with some masterful latte art.
Fernandez & Wells, 73 Beak Street W1F 9SR
OK, filter coffee’s hardly revolutionary, but as preparation techniques and bean provenance improves — and lactose intolerance abounds — there’s a lot to be said for drinking it long, strong and black. Newcomer Speakeasy has two daily single-bean roasts to choose from that are among the very best in the neighbourhood.
Speakeasy, 3 Lowndes Court W1F 7HD