This is a guest post by Jessica Patterson, the founder of JPR Media group.
I remember one gorgeous snowy morning on the outskirts of Paris in my fluffy bathrobe and slippers, walking into a room filled with the smell of cigarette smoke and hot brewed coffee with a floor-to-ceiling landscape window overlooking a snow-covered garden.
Fantasy-sized snowflakes were falling gently as my second cousin on my mother’s side was playing Brazilian guitar music in the whitened morning.
I don’t just remember the epic Gabriel Garcia Marquez style storybook setting. I remember that smoky smell of freshly brewed hot coffee. Coffee set the tone of that wonderful memory and, as with anything to do with smells, it is the strongest link to memory.
Fast forward 12 years and I’m sitting in London in front of my computer and I can still remember that moment.
I was a slow burner to coffee and now I look forward to it. It started with hot chocolates when I was young with my mother, mocha’s when I became a teenager, café lattes when I’m feeling cosy, cappuccinos when I’m in work mode, strong Americano’s with steamed milk for breakfast and the delicate macchiato after a gorgeous dinner.
Here are my top 5 recommendations for coffee in London:
1. Monmouth. Originally discovered this delicious coffee shop in Borough Market (along with the greatest pork belly and freshly made apple sauce baguette). Monmouth chooses different beans every day to serve daily and the froth is perfection. I absolutely detest alternatives and that includes Soya Milk, Cashew Milk and Almond Milk. Monmouth can be found in Covent Garden on Monmouth Street and they usually have a queue with a delicious waiting display of homemade sugar brioches.
2. Carpo. Dark, delicious, delightful frothy coffee. Often served with dark or milk chocolate covered nuts and other Greek treats. Their nut and dried fruit selection is the best in London and their setting in the Montpelier Street, Knightsbridge branch is stylish. It was my local haunt at our last JPR Media Group office opposite Harrods. You can sit at the bar and have a delicious cappuccino with a side of nutty sweets.
3. Poilane. French, rustic, with a tree inside the actual restaurant and a delicious selection of pain au chocolat’s. Known for their famous sourdough bread in France, I simply go for the yummy coffee in a lovely setting in Chelsea.
4. Caravan. Hands down my favourite breakfast place in London where I usually go for the baked eggs, peppers and chorizo with a hunk of sourdough bread and the best savoury muffins in town. An insider’s secret is to grab a seat at the back of their Kings Cross restaurant and have your breakfast there. There is a huge coffee machine surrounded by bags of coffee beans, giving your coffee experience a more authentic edge.
5. Wild Honey. Run by the same owners of Arbutus which, by the way, make the most delicious tart tartin I have had in London. They serve it with poached apples turned upside down with crème fraiche served in a brass pot. I do believe Wild Honey uses a blend of 2 different styles of Monmouth coffee mixed together. Best served as a pure cup of coffee with your end of meal petit fours.
As Deepak Chopra said “Karma is experience, and experience creates memory, and memory creates imagination and desire, and desire creates karma again. If I buy a cup of coffee, that’s karma. I now have that memory that might give me the potential desire for having cappuccino, and I walk into Starbucks, and there’s karma all over again.”
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