Grinding in Soho.

So my last cafe-related post about the magical All You Read is Love in Leytonstone was an absolute hoot to write (while in the cafe piggybacking on their wifi) and got such a nice response...I've decided I should really make it a habit, writing about my coffee dates in certain spots. I am a barista, after all, and probably one of the absolute worst coffee snobs you will ever meet, so readers can trust my word when I rave about a place and their brews...

A few days ago, I went to Soho Grind for my fourth coffee of the day. The first coffee had been a panicked double espresso from my favourite chain (their position as my favourite totally not influenced by the fact that I work for them) Caffe Nero on Fleet Street while I was en route to a meeting. The second coffee was in that meeting, adjacent to the most gorgeous roof garden situation I have ever seen in London. The third coffee was in Natural Kitchen with the papa, his favourite coffee haunt, where we discussed my meeting and my plans for the rest of the day.

My plans had been to meet up with a London pal and grab a bite to eat. Then they soon, quite unexpectedly, became 'wander aimlessly around Soho until you find that place that's apparently good for coffee, despite the fact that you've had three coffees already and are dangerously close to vomming pure espresso'.

Now, Soho Grind has a nice tidy rep for itself. The streaming queue of customers in the tiny place as I sat against a wall was evidence enough of that. Apparently it is one of a few Grinds you can find in LDN.
I have actually been inside one of its sisters (ooh err) in Holborn – the cafe ingeniously named Holborn Grind, with its gorgeous big windows and sexy neon lighting, which was the reason I strolled in confidently that time with my phone outstretched to take a photo of the neon sign (to then show to papa, a major Roxy Music fan). So yeah, I didn't actually get a coffee in there that time, I just got some Instagram goodness...

Covent Garden Grind may have to be my next stop. I tend to avoid Covent Garden these days, since realising there's more to London than the cute central stuff, but the coffee will be worth the crowds.

Despite my instincts screaming at me that I'd had enough caffeine for one day, or two or three, I ordered a long black. I automatically love stores that call their americanos 'long blacks'. I had thought they only called them that on the beautiful shores of Australia, home to the mothers of all coffee snobs. Apparently not! What a delight.
The long black was essentially a double espresso that had ran a little longer to add, well, length. I sipped until the cup was half empty (yes, I am a pessimist) then sheepishly went back to the lovely guy on the machine and asked for a top-up of hot water. He smiled and gave me a glass of boiling water, which was much appreciated.
I would have loved to have tried one of their flat whites, as the latte art I spied was on point. 

I really appreciated that the guys working behind the bar were never flummoxed or phased; every customer got a relaxed smile and a top notch beverage. The guys were machines, doing everything almost on autopilot – but with the necessary concentration. I often find myself doing that at work, making each drink diligently and relying mostly on muscle memory.

One thing that threw me was when I was desperate for a whizz and had no clue where to find a loo...then I realised the neon sign saying French lessons given downstairs was in fact not 100% correct, as downstairs there was more seating, more plug sockets (omg there were plug sockets EVERYWHERE in this place, it was incredible) and rather lovely loos.
I might have considered moving down there, sitting on a sofa in the slightly quieter environment, but I just enjoyed the hustle and bustle happening upstairs way too much! A good atmosphere is crucial in a cafe, and this place had it. 

Thank you, Soho Grind. It was a pleasure. I'll be back for the French lessons. 


  1. I loved this post, Grace. I'd love to go exploring in London and find all these wonderful little cafes you post about x

  2. Very good read. Your enthusiasm and knowledge of the beans of life shines through.


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