It’s recently dawned on me with a creeping and uncomfortable realisation that my blog’s focus has shifted away from coffee in a most displeasing manner. Because I’m talking and writing about coffee increasingly in other aspects of my life, my blog has suffered, and as a consequence there’s more than a coffee bean sized hole where those posts should be. I’m really enjoying writing for the fabulous London’s Best Coffee app, sporadically I’m afraid, but as often as possible on my weekend forrays into town, but in no way matching the head spinning speed at which cafe’s are popping up over the Capital. It’s been a great license to be fickle and chase after the bright, shiny and button-new for a good purpose. I’m also writing for Caffeine magazine which is a fantastic and exciting new platform for me to reach a wider audience and again allows me to write about that thing I love. Work similarly is very coffee focussed and so whilst I feel like I’m still fully, more than ever, immersed in the coffee world, my poor little blog appears to have been plundered of much of it’s coffee content and become an outlet for that which is not.
Anyway, I think what I’m trying to say is that it’s been noted! I understand that not everyone has the app (although you really should, it’s invaluable), may not have access to Caffeine & almost certainly will have no interest in my day job, but that I’ll still be writing about noteworthy places/things/events here.
Daily Goods. This is the one place I can whole heartedly recommend you visit. Of all the places I’ve tried recently, and there’s been lots, many really excellent, it’s the one I’m magnetically drawn to when anywhere near (or not very near at all) the area. It’s one of this emerging newish and flourishing genre that merges the trends of coffee and cycling, a concession actually within Kinoko cycles on Soho Square, and what was Tokyo Fixed. It’s different enough to the slightly flashy and aspirational Rapha, literally just around the corner on Berwick Street, for them to appear to still to be mates. For all the expensive and delightfully well sourced beans, multiple brew methods and educational serving platters (and, don’t worry, I adore it all) at Rapha, Daily Goods has just a short and snappy Workshop espresso based menu.
Another great example of the fancy bike shop-cum-cafe is Pelaton & Co on the edge of Spitalfields market. My cycle mad Dad and I visited a couple of weekends ago, whereupon I stood in the queue, as I increasingly do faced with expensive cycle paraphernalia (£7000 push bike anyone?), chatting to the barista about their lack of commitment to a particular roaster, currently Nude but they rotate beans frequently, while my old man lustfully eyed up expensive jerseys. I’m not quite sure why the merging of the two trends of caffeine and cycling works, but it certainly appears to; Look Mum No Hands with second shop just opened on Hackney’s Mare Street is another fine example. Pelaton & Co, like Rapha, holds screenings of races and has a license for alcoholic beverages and later openings on these occasions. Not that that interests me much. Their coffee however is very good and enough of a draw alone.
Daily Goods, and indeed Rapha, are in an odd little nub of London, just off the bottom of Regent Street on the very edge of Soho, where there’s never been a lot going on coffee wise. There is of course Workshop Marlybone if you’re silly enough to tackle the full on argy bargy, elbows at dawn, Oxford Street, the Selfridges end, and Everbean is a charming new discovery for me down Mayfair’s magical little Avery Street. Further up, North of Oxford Street, you have the near perfection of Kaffeine and there’s far more scope moving over to Fitzrovia or down to Soho and Covent Garden. Just off Carnaby Street is Speakeasy, part of the Coffeesmiths Collective which includes The Department of Coffee and Social Affairs (always loses out due it’s close proximity to Prufrock) and Norton Folgate (always strangely closed or closing when I walk past). Speakeasy is somewhere my Dad and I often gravitate to for it’s easy central location, good coffee and excellent sandwiches.
The latest Coffee Collectives location is round the corner again from Rapha and just a short skip to Daily Goods to complete a trinity of very different coffee options; Tonic Coffee Bar caught my attention mainly becasue I couldn’t quite get my head around what it was exactly. In my mind, both the look and name suggests an actual bar, the type in which to get anebriated rather than high from caffeine, add to that the fact that most of the images available are of brown bottles, looking for all the world like the bearers of beer, branded with the cafe’s name. Yeah. Tonic, I don’t get you.
I said the same to John, the manager also of Speakeasy, when I went to visit, with full confused face on, pointing perplexed to the bottles lined uniformly up behind the bar, above beautiful green tiling and slick, slick branding. Tonic appears to be an under the counter libation, a tiny heady mix of cold brew, vodka and yes, tonic; yum. This is a bar, a coffee bar though make no mistake. Fast in – fast out, ergonomically designed for it to be so, the staff’s penchant for heavy house in no way hindering that particular set up. Espresso is good, there is also cold drip and batch brew on offer, don’t forget Speakeasy were the first to dabble with batch brew here in London. Just don’t linger.
So back to Daily Goods and where my heart lies. Carter may have a succinct menu but those drinks are prepared with a dedication and care, expertise born from the love of his craft, that means that every new batch of Workshop beans is treated with skill, dexterity and a desire to get the absolute best out of each shot. For me, this guarantees that my espressos are always a delicious and complex balance, worth far more than the £2 he charges. Even more enticing than all that is the fact that Carter gives fantastic chat. I find a visit to a coffee shop is, at least partly, a social experience; a chance to pick up the latest gossip, to listen and learn, get insights into other worlds, absorb that around me and generally have a good old natter if there’s anyone at all responsive. For all I know, poor Carter tries to make a quick getaway at the first sight of me, but he certainly doesn’t show it, and I’ll often lose half an hour chitter chattering away to him, members of the Kinoko shop staff, and other customers joining the conversation as they drift in and out.
It really doesn’t matter that I couldn’t care less about the setting, the vast space filled with wheels and lycra, or the little bespoke sizing service/workshop room at the back of the shop downstairs. I’m not fussed that there’s not a full food menu, just a tiny counter of pastries and bakes. There’s a very lovely little sofa area with fancy bike mags at the bottom of the stair well, but it sadly loses significance being that far away from the coffee action.
So that is why I continue to return to Daily Goods. Why it’s my new favourite spot. And why you should to, he’s a little hidden on Golden Square and sadly not open weekends any more but you seriously should make a concerted effort to find him.