Being in London and having an urge for caffeine doesn’t exactly leave you in a pickle. With literally thousands upon thousands of cafés awaiting your custom, you can never find yourself in a situation where caffeine is unobtainable. It does, however, leave you in a position of having to weed out the good cafés from the average and the bad.
One of my all time favourite cafés in the country is Tap Coffee. With three branches to their name, I usually opt for their 193 Wardour Street branch, though the others at 114 Tottenham Court Road and 26 Rathbone Place are fantastic nonetheless. I tend to go with the Wardour Street branch for it’s space and more tucked away feel.
The first thing you notice with all of the Tap branches is the aesthetic and environment. With a super stripped back rustic look, the stores offer a very chilled yet cosy feel in which you can either spend a few minutes to enjoy your coffee, or a whole afternoon relaxing or working away. The company say that their stores are there to be “More than four walls. It’s a social context, a set in which people make things happen.” I love this, as I’m huge on space and environment, and no matter how good the coffee is somewhere, I won’t sit around if the atmosphere is all wrong.
Cleverly, they’ve equipped the bar with old-school sinks, all filled with crushed ice, which serve their purpose of storing the cold drinks, including their own bottled cold-brew coffee, whilst also adding further to the aesthetic. Lift your gaze slightly and your met with a whole host of freshly made food, from salads and sandwiches, to the most incredible looking cakes and pastries.
Moving onto the coffee and the drinks menu is refreshingly minimalistic. Tap are clearly a brand comfortable in knowing they’re amongst the best at what they do, so instead of allowing their menu to clutter with coming and going trends, such as turmeric lattes or charcoal drinks, they stick with the classics that people know and love.
After placing your order at the counter, the coffee order goes over to the baristas who are constantly churning out expertly crafted coffees for customers. Watching them take their times to create not just a coffee, but an experience in a cup is so interesting. You can see the effort, the concentration and the passion for what they do shining through the whole time. From latte art to slowly tending to drip filter coffees, nothing is created without care here.
The taste in the coffee is where Tap truly shines bright, however. Using their own very carefully selected beans and blends, Tap are able to put great tastes in a cup, and not only in store, with their own beans available to purchase for you own home experience. My personal favourite is the Guatemalan Don Reyes, harvested from the Huehuetenango region in Guatemala. It’s not just down to the beans though, of course, and Tap know this. Whereas many cafés are happy to serve the coffee at brutally hot temperatures, resulting in unwanted bitterness being released in the milk, Tap serve their coffee at 65 degrees – the optimum serving temperature for any coffee.
Independent cafés can sometimes seem incredibly expensive, but Tap actually offer an incredibly generous loyalty card in which you gain one free coffee after purchasing six, so even for the more budget conscious customer, it’s hard to find a reason to not want to make Tap your new local spot.
Overall it’s easy for any customers to see that the emphasis in Tap isn’t to overwhelm you with choice, it’s not to put a million different things around to distract you from the experience, it’s to offer you a simple, honest and great coffee experience, and boy do you get it.
Tap Coffee, 193 Wardour Street, London, W1F 8ZF