Not a large chain in sight, these guys know their beans – and what to do with them.
1. Coffee Island
Perfect for coffee nerds, you can make your own customised coffee blend at Coffee Island – just moments away from Leicester Square and Covent Garden. You can even choose how your coffee is brewed, including pour over, Chemex, AeroPress, Syphon and cold drip.
Where: Covent Garden (5 Upper St Martin's Lane, WC2H 9EA)
With its two West End shops, Kaffeine has become a staple of the London coffee scene – and being an Australian/New Zealand operation, it knows a thing or two about flat whites. It also runs courses in "latte art" and other essential coffee-making skills.
Where: Soho (66 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7QJ and 15 Eastcastle Street, W1T 3AY)
3. Ground Control
Specialising in Ethiopian coffee, Ground Control near Angel is the public face of the Ethiopian Coffee Company. Pop in for the Daily Filter, which throughout the week changes to a different region of Ethiopia. They'll even tell you what the tasting notes are.
Where: Islington (61 Amwell Street, EC1R 1UR)
4. The Attendant
An old Victorian toilet might seem an unusual spot for an espresso bar, but not when you see the beautiful ironwork outside and inspired new use for the original porcelain urinals at The Attendant in Fitzrovia. The coffee comes from Caravan on Exmouth Market, and the milk from a small farm in Somerset.
Where: Fitzrovia (27A Foley Street, W1W 6DY)
5. Workshop Coffee
When it's not roasting, brewing or selling top-end coffee beans and hardware, Workshop Coffee is holding workshops on how to brew at home. Or you could just visit one of its two London outlets in Marylebone and Fitzrovia. You may even be able to pick up your order at the same time!
Where: Fitzrovia (80 Mortimer Street, W1W 7FE), Marylebone (1 Barrett Street, W1U 1AX)
6. Soho Grind
The sibling of the popular Shoreditch Grind and younger ventures Holborn Grind and London Grind, this hideaway incorporates the relaxed vibe found in the other members of this mini chain with Soho style. At Soho Grind, you can sample unique blends of coffee using its own Grind & Co. House Espresso Blend or linger into the night for cocktails.
Where: Soho (19 Beak Street, W1F 9RP)
7. Monmouth Coffee
Monmouth is like the farmers' market of coffee shops: sourcing, roasting and brewing its own coffee. Its stores can be found in Covent Garden, Borough Market and Bermondsey, where you can sample its latest espresso blend.
Where: Covent Garden (27 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9EU), Borough Market (2 Park Street, SE1 9AB), Bermondsey (Unit 4, Discovery Estate, St James's Road, SE16 4RA)
8. Prufrock Coffee
Spacious Leather Lane cafe Prufrock Coffee was created by former World Barista Champion Gwilym Davies. As well as serving top-notch espresso with milk (by the ounce), it runs a barista training centre for pros and amateurs to practice making the perfect cup.
Where: Holborn (23-25 Leather Lane, EC1N 7TE)
9. Cà Phê VN
Vietnamese coffee is still quite a niche market in London, but Cà Phê VN is spreading the word through its weekly Saigon street cafe stall at Broadway Market. Every Saturday, it serves up coffee, Vietnamese style. For white coffee, that means a seriously strong espresso topped with condensed milk served hot or over ice.
Where: Broadway Market (E8)
10. Federation Coffee
With its red star insignia, Federation Coffee brings a touch of revolutionary spirit to Brixton Village Market. Its espresso blend is bespoke and changes with the seasons, while the guest filter option gives the opportunity to try different coffees throughout the year.
Where: Brixton (Unit 77-78, Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PS)