A review of an independent coffee roaster, Workshop Coffee at Clerkenwell, which sadly closed in late 2017. This is my second favourite cafe in London, so I am keeping this listing up in honour of their efforts. Workshop Coffee still has other locations in London and supplies many great indie cafes! Happy exploring and remote working!
I first stumbled upon Workshop Coffee Bar in Marlybone while waiting to go for dinner with a friend. Though it was on my list of cafes to visit, that location seemed a bit too posh and hip, so I instead saved my first tasting impressions for its original shop in Clerkenwell.
Clerkenwell may look a bit out of the way, as there are so many other must-see places in London that are right above a Tube station. Clerkenwell Road is a great cross-town cycling route because the road is wider and the traffic less dense compared to Fleet Street. Also, the area is filled with low-rise office buildings that sustain many no-nonsense restaurants and cafes. Walkers can consider clustering this visit with Leather Lane (where Prufrock Coffee is), The Barbican, and even Old Street (which is where I walked from that day).
I went on a Sunday afternoon and was delighted to find I had my choice of seats from the front long-table to the sky-lit individual square ones at the back with a towering living wall. The baristas and space were so inviting my friend and I ended up sitting down, though we had originally intended to get take-away.
Workshop Coffee roasts its own beans and had a choice of single origin pour over or espresso. I chose a cappuccino as it was my third coffee that day. Note to remote workers that there isn’t wi-fi and I think only one or two outlets.
The cappuccino (a reaonsable £3.10) I got was excellent. The milk was well frothed, though a bit light. The espresso was well blended with the milk and had a smooth bright note. I later learned from the barista, Mikey, that Workshop is one of the few roasters that does slightly lighter roasts.
The cafe also serves breakfast, lunch, and pastry items. You’ll be able to find everything from a yoghurt for £3.50 to a full risotto for £10.
Their Story / What I like About Them:
As it turns out, Workshop Coffee opened up shop in 2011 and I missed out on this gem of a roaster. Another friend told me that the founder tends to sit at the counter, only being roused from his seat when he feels someone isn’t brewing the beans exactly as they should. I didn’t meet the founder that day, but I spoke with the barista who made my drink, Mikey, and we immediately clicked on our bottom line about brewing great coffee: being clean. During our brief exchange, he was wiping the machine and lining up all the cups and equipment.
Yet, despite being particular about how they thought quality coffee should be brewed (tips on their website here), Workshop makes “no bold claims about having answers”. Like many other quality independent roasters, they go doing coffee tastings, working with farmers, producers, and exporters from both Africa, Central America, and Brazil. I just like their honest prices and lack of pretense. 🙂
- Coffee: Pour over, espresso, aeropress
- Food: Pastries, breakfast, lunch, dinner
- Cafe Space: Seats 50+, industrial
- Friends: Hangouts, catching up, work
- Workspace: Many individual tables, 2nd floor, skylight
- Remote Work: A few outlets available (no Wi-Fi)
|Address:||27 Clerkenwell Rd, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 5RN|
|Hours:||Permanently closed. Check their website for other locations.|
If you liked this post, check out my coffee walk through Soho and Fritzrovia!