This week’s adventure challenge is one near and dear to us at HOWL and to probably a few of you out there, favourite coffee houses in London!
And quite frankly we love any excuse to have a good espresso or flat white; so Lewis (Chef) and I set ourselves the challenge of putting our favourite coffee shops up against each other and drink a lot of coffee along the way.
Sure we were really wired by the end of the day, but anything for an adventure; and we’re happy to bring you 2 new London coffee houses for you to try out.
Kaffeine (Lewis’ Pick) - 8/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
The first thing I noticed about Kaffeine was the space to customer ratio. It had quite a few customers in there and the space isn’t grand however it seemed to still run quite efficiently.
We were able to get our orders in and pay in no time, don’t let the number of people in there fool you, it’s efficient! I love independent coffee shops because the coffee is truly better, however I’ve never liked how long it takes to get your coffee, for whatever reason it takes ages, not Kaffeine though, independent and efficient.
Strong and rich is the best way to describe the smell, not just the coffee house but the coffee.
The moment I walked in I immediately thought to myself, I’m about to have some good coffee, you can almost taste what your smell, come to think of it Kaffeine could probably charge for smelling a cup of coffee, for a light coffee drinker it could get you the jolt you need.
If you are a coffee lover, have the “flight” coffee. It’s comes in three cups but is considered one cup of coffee, kind of how a three course meal is one meal.
You start with an espresso, rich taste, smooth, strong but not too strong that you feel like there’s no point going through the rest of the coffee; it does kind of act like an appetiser, enough of a taste to make you crave a bit more.
Next up is the pallet cleanser, it’s a sort of ice tea they brew (probably my favourite part of the coffee) it comes in a shot glass, you sip it like you would good whiskey and let it wash down the taste of the very raw, rich espresso.
Then you get to the flat white itself, good coffee, on its own nothing that would greatly jump out at you but as part of the flight, it just works. It’s the finisher, the closer; kind of how Barcelona has Messi and Neymar to create beautiful footwork, and Suarez to score, that’s the flat white the goal scorer, the build-up was beautiful but you need someone to actually score.
It is fine coffee. As you would pay a premium for fine cuisine you should also pay for Kaffeine Coffee. It cost £6 for a flight and much less for a more regular style coffee but it doesn’t really matter, you walk out feeling like for the most part you paid the worth of what you drank, remember you did get three drinks.
All in all a bit expensive but premium for quality.
More often than not when you have a coffee you get the satisfaction of a lift, a good taste in your mouth and a general “let’s get going” attitude; rarely do you have a cup of coffee and you also feel full and that’s the feeling I got.
The caffeine is premium, the quality and effort that goes into each espresso is arguably second to none. The atmosphere, the staff, plus the coffee makes up the whole experience and the total experience is very satisfying.
Quality is King as Kaffeine.
Chief Coffee (Kio's Pick) 8/10
Atmosphere - 8/10
I don't know about you, but there's something about a neon sign that just tickles my pickle. I think it's because they remind me of a backstreet NYC bar, you know, all curly fries and basketball on the big screen. It wasn't too busy, everyone was super friendly and an added bonus was a secret den downstairs with around 6 or 7 classic pinball machines. I suck at pinball but thought it was great all the same.
Smell - 7/10
As expected, there was a slight aroma of fresh coffee as you walked through the door, which is probably one of my favourite scents of all time. I would have welcomed an even more punchy scent but this place is new, so give it time.
Taste - 7/10
When I first moved to London nearly 4 years ago, it was hard god damn work to find a decent coffee. Nowadays however, it's almost commonplace to expect a decent cup brewed with fresh beans and a barista that knows their way around a milk steamer. Standards have risen dramatically and chief's are definitely up to standard. Everyone there is clearly passionate about what they do and it resulted in a decent flat white.
Price - 8/10
£2.70 for a flat white - pretty standard, if not quite reasonable these days. No complaints here.
Satisfaction - 8/10
I left suitably buzzed after my morning coffee and ready to crack on with the day. But the real highlight was that they sold 'club mate', a German soda made from Yerba mate tea - something that you usually have to hunt down in too cool for school German fashion stores or vegan delis in east London.