In 2008 I was a wide eyed university student living overseas for the first time. While my time at Kingston University was full of travel, nights out in dodgy clubs and meeting amazing friends, one thing it was not full of was good coffee. Five years ago I was horrified at the state of coffee in the UK, you were lucky if the barrister did more than press one button in making your drink, and I think most of my Heathrow injection was due to all the sugar and cream I had to use to make my coffee drinkable.
If you asked for a flat white in a cafe? You were more likely to be accused of racism than end up with a coffee. That was until my flatmate woke me up early one morning for a trip to Brick Lane.
After wading through the drunk hipsters still spewing out of clubs and braving the queues to get a salmon cream cheese bagel, we made our way to Brick Lane coffee. There, to my surprise, was ‘flat white’ written as bold as day on the menu (yes they have a drink called the Shit Storm, its a double double espresso). I felt like I had suddenly found the supplier of an illicit drug, and in what would have been a hushed reverent tone if the music hadn’t been so loud I ordered my first London flat white.
That first sip was like someone had just preached on the theory of evolution; like in that one sip London was being dragged into the future. We sat down the back of Brick Lane coffee and were there for hours reading papers and drinking coffee after coffee. It wasn’t homesickness that the flat white was answering; it was the pure enjoyment of artistry.
With the tag line ‘come happy, leave edgy’ Brick Lane Coffee is essentially a cool bar but with caffeine instead of alcohol. You can hang out, dip your toes into the market outside and fuel up before taking on the crowds.
These days of course there are coffee roasters on every corner, I don’t have one local I have about four. House blends are traded like state secrets and the language of coffee is no longer the domain of London hipsters, even Costa has its own flat white. But Brick Lane coffee will always have a place in my heart (the coffee is still awesome) and given that I am a blogger, their free wifi is a definite draw.
So if you are in town, stop by the top of Brick Lane and relive my teenage epiphany. I promise Brick Lane Coffee will treat you well.
Man this trip down memory lane has been fun, maybe I should regale you with some of my other pre-blog adventures? After all, I seem to get myself into some fairly ‘special’ situations that only seem funny years later… what do you think?