Great flat white

I kind of guess I am getting to be a bit of a flat white aficionado as it is my coffee of choice when I am drinking coffee out and about. At home I usually have an espresso or a lungo. 

My first experience of the flat white was out in New Zealand in 2009, and I really liked it, a more intense coffee experience than the cappuccino I was use to, and much nicer than an americano.

I had some time to kill at @Worle, a local gym in Weston-super-Mare. So I ordered a flat white. What I did like, was they let me take a seat and they would bring it over to me. I really like it when coffee places do that, much more civilised than waiting around for your name to be called. I once lost a coffee like that, so much so, that I rarely use my name, James, when asked for my name in a coffee place. Too many people called James who drink coffee, who would believe that.

My coffee arrived and it looked great. It was also an excellent coffee. Sometimes I worry about coffee places in places which aren’t coffee places, such as gyms. However this place knew how to make coffee and the coffee itself was expertly roasted as well, good strong flavours. I was impressed and enjoyed the coffee.

Steak Salad and a Flat White

When working in our London office, there is quite a choice of places around Fetter Lane for lunch. One of my regular haunts is Coco di Mama, one of a chain of pasta and coffee places across the capital. Their mainstay for lunch is the pasta pot, however they also have a nice selection of salads. On a recent visit to London I went out at lunchtime for some food, it was raining, so I only got as far as Coco di Mama. I picked up a steak salad and a flat white. I hadn’t seen this salad offering before, so was intrigued to try it out.

It was a tasty salad, the steak was nice and tender, and there was a good ratio of protein to salad. I also liked the dressing. Good choice I think.

Oh, I also enjoyed my flat white.

Nice Flat White

I was heading to a meeting in Central London and misjudged the time it would take, so I had forty minutes before I needed to be in the room. So I decided I would go for a coffee. I had anticipated visiting a Caffe Nero or similar, but did quite like the look of The Route on the Strand. I went in, and ordered a flat white and took a seat.

It’s not a huge place, there are four seats inside and four on the street. If it was busy you would probably have to make do with a takeaway cup.

This was a lovely looking coffee, made with care. It also tasted great as well.

Illy no more

Back in 2023 I had made a couple of visits to the Illy Cafe at the top of Park Street. On a recent visit to Bristol I did like the idea of a coffee and so headed to the Illy Cafe and was disappointed to find it had closed down. So, went to Caffe Nero instead.

A really excellent Illy coffee

I was visiting Cambridge and walking down Burleigh Street. I was on my way back to the railway station. However it started to rain. I did think about walking back to Fitzroy Street and visit the Caffe Nero there (as I had my £1 offer code). However I thought I might get too wet. On Burleigh Street was Giovanni’s caffe’ and pizzeria. 

modern cafe building with an awning and seating outside

They had an Illy coffee sign outside, which is always a good sign so went in.

I was give a nice warm welcome by the chef attending the pizza oven, and beckoned to take a seat. Outside it was quite a modern building, inside it had more of an Italian taverna feel. The place was dominated by the huge pizza oven. I looked over the menu, if I was hungry I might have chosen a pizza, but I only really wanted a coffee.

I went up to the bar and ordered an espresso macchiato. They also had a lovely selection of cakes, and I did think about it, but in the end went with just the coffee. Went back to my table and waited for the coffee to arrive.

Really nice to get a “proper” coffee complete with a glass of water (and hidden around the back a biscuit).

tray with coffee, water and sugar

It was an excellent coffee. I was very tempted to stay in Cambridge and go there for dinner. Another table had ordered pizza and it looked great.

No sooner had I finished my coffee, then the rain had stopped (or eased off) and I could head off to the station.

I don’t like doubled up cups

When I go out and buy coffee I usually drink in, and have a proper cup. I always think if I am spending a lot of money on coffee, I want it in a china cup, and not a paper cup.

I was at Paddington Station with some time before my train, and using my Three+ offer I had a £1 skinny flat white from Caffe Nero. As this was a kiosk, the coffee was in a paper cup.

They did something which they think is helpful, whereas I don’t. The Caffe Nero flat white comes in a smaller cup, which the cardboard sleeves they use on their larger cups don’t fit. The cardboard sleeves act as an insulation layer. As the sleeves don’t fit on the smaller cups they double cup; use an extra cup instead of a sleeve. They do this, so that it acts as an insulation layer. 

Now I get this, but as a result I personally find it difficult to drink from the doubled up cups after removing the lid. I also find it quite challenging to remove the spare cup without spilling the coffee. 

Yes, it is not a major problem, just a minor annoyance.

I need to remember the next time, to ask for a single cup.

Coffee at the La Viola Cafe & Bistro

I was staying at the Moxy Edinburgh Fountainbridge and wanted a coffee. The room only had instant, and as I also felt like a walk, I decided to venture out into Edinburgh to see what was available (and what was open).

I found La Viola Cafe & Bistro and went in. Placed my order,  I had a flat white, I took a seat and my coffee was brought to my table. I like it when that happens.

 It wasn’t long before my coffee arrived, it was really nice.

Lovely place for a coffee and very different to the chains I usually find myself in.

Nice coffee at Coffee #1

I went for a walk around Clevedon and decided to stop for coffee. I found a branch of Coffee #1 which was open, so popped in. The place was similar to other branches of Coffee #1 with lots of wooden furniture and Tintin artwork on the walls.

Wasn’t too busy and I ordered a skinny flat white. Once the drink was made I took a seat.

This was a delicious coffee, really nice flavour and well made.

I enjoyed sitting at my table looking out the window with the sun shining in.

Better coffee

Drayton Court Hotel

I was back in London and staying at the Drayton Court Hotel in Ealing. I have been staying here for a fair few years now. It is significantly cheaper than central London, and with the Elizabeth Line, hitting central London is really fast. West Ealing Station is a few minutes walk from the hotel, from there you can catch a train to central London in less than twenty minutes. 

One of the things about the hotel is the excellent breakfast, but the coffee was always a little disappointing. Interestingly their sister hotel, the Fox and Goose on Hangar Lane did a similarly excellent breakfast, but also had a coffee machine, so I could get my morning espresso hit.

I was pleased to see on my most recent visit to the Drayton Court Hotel that they had installed a coffee machine. This meant I could have a double espresso with my breakfast.

Pleased with that.

Nice coffee

cup of coffee

Popped to Caffe Nero on Farringdon Road for a coffee. I had a skinny flat white. It was well made (even if there was no coffee art). It was a bustling cafe, but didn’t feel busy. A place I may visit again.