The Best Coffee in Soho: Seven Coffee Bars to try in Soho

Now the mornings are light, I find myself waking up early, charged with sunshine fuelled energy. This morning surge of activity inevitably results in an afternoon slump. But I need not fear, as Soho’s best coffee houses are on hand with their caffeine kick.

Mozzino

Mozzino

Mozzino

The interior: ‘Rustic’ is the perfect word to sum up Mozzino’s shabby dark wood interior. ‘Kitsch’ also works well. There’s exposed steel piping, hanging bulb lighting, worn leather armchairs and suitcases on wooden legs for tables. Perhaps not for everyone, but I love it. The metal seats are not so comfy though, so make sure you bag a cushioned seat! 8/10

The coffee: Mozzino’s coffee is true to its Italian roots. You won’t find a salted caramel mochaccino topped with whipped cream and sprinkles here! But what they do serve is a quality roast. Their go-to blend is dark, bold and full-bodied – but there’s a lighter fruity roast available for those who prefer a more mellow cup. 7/10

The vibe: I could sit in Mozzino for hours, lulled into a daze by the sounds of steaming coffee from the Marcozzo machine and soft tunes playing from the speakers. It’s always nice and quiet here, tucked away into a side street along Carnaby. 8/10 

Soho Grind

Soho Grind

Soho Grind

The interior: Downstairs is a little dingy, despite the comfy seating, so I stayed at street level. They’ve made the best of a small space, but seating is rather limited and if you don’t bag yourself a window seat – from where you can watch the world go by with the sun on your face – you’ll be sat facing a brick wall. 6/10

The coffee: The espresso blend used by the Grind&Co. group is designed for milk-based drinks – most popular with the London coffee drinking crowd. Here, much unlike at Mozzino, you won’t be scolded for ordering a cappuccino after 11am, so I did just that. It was sweet and milky, with a thick foam and generous dusting of sweet cocoa. 9/10

The vibe: I would have scored this lower, due to the size of the upstairs space, but the music and great staff save the day. With a playlist alternating between upbeat R’n’B classics and old school beats, to laid-back acoustics, it’s a great place to sit on a sunny day. 9/10

Department of Coffee and Social Affairs

Department of Coffee and Social Affairs

Department of Coffee and Social Affairs

The interior: I sat outside when I came here, as it was a lovely sunny day, and despite this café being tucked away down a shaded side street, it was still nice to get some fresh air and look at the sun beaming on the ground from afar. Top marks for providing heating outside – there was still a little chill in the air. Inside, it’s bright and airy, with cool concrete floors and plenty of space – a laptop lovers’ paradise. 9/10

The coffee: Department of Coffee and Social Affairs gives coffee lovers the opportunity to try out different blends. Their ever-changing ‘specials board’ of filter coffees introduces beans from around the world, each with a unique character. I tried the ‘adado dream’, described as a rich, smooth blend with an apricot aroma and toffee and cocoa finish. Such descriptions are often lost on my tastebuds, but this blend did have a distinct apricot undertone. In my opinion, this coffee is much better without milk, which would pollute its delicate flavours. 10/10

The vibe: I wouldn’t say the atmosphere was anything special. It’s the coffee that keeps you coming back. But I don’t have anything negative to say. It’s always busy here, and with a long communal table, usually lined with young professionals tapping away on their laptop, you won’t feel out of place coffee-ing solo. 7/10

Fernandez & Wells

Fernandez & Wells

Fernandez & Wells

The interior: There are two branches of F&W in Soho. The interiors of both are in keeping with the same theme and remind me of a modernised Spanish farmhouse. For me, one works for breakfast and the other for evening drinks. The Beak Street café is a calming haven of white washed brick walls and soft ash wood, where you can sit quietly reading a book and sipping on coffee, while at Lexington Street, walls lined with wine bottles and seats at the bar inspire an evening of fine wine and tapas. 8/10

The coffee: I picked up a ‘stumpy’ here – or cortado to you and me – mostly because I found the name humorous. Usually a drink reserved for the most seasoned coffee drinkers, F&W’s cortado is strong and smokey, yet smooth and easy to drink. I would have preferred a slightly punchier coffee, but it’s certainly a crowd-pleaser. 7/10

The vibe: I immediately felt at home here. The friendly feel keeps people coming back – they clearly have a lot of regulars – the baristas know their loyal customers orders like the back of their hand. 10/10

My Place

My Place

My Place

The interior: My Place is like Pandora’s box – despite looking small and dingy from outside, it’s a fairly large space inside, with bar stools to perch on for a quick pick-me-up, and table seating for those who wish to stay a while, perhaps for a bite to eat. It’s a low-lit space, but feels warm and inviting, rather than gloomy and cheerless. 8/10

The coffee: Boasting the oldest coffee machine in the West End – a Gaggia 1961 – their coffee had better not have disappointed. And the smooth, rich and fruity espresso was definitely up to Italian standards. No complaints. 10/10

The vibe: The cheery and chatty Italian behind the bar would be a front runner for barista of the year, making his customers feel extremely welcome and at home. The gentle hum of chatter above the whirring of their prized Gaggia coffee machine made me feel instantly at ease. And the jazzy music lifts the mood even further. 10/10

Foxcroft & Ginger

Foxcroft & Ginger

Foxcroft & Ginger

The interior: A little piece of Shoreditch in Soho – trendy, yet laid back, with exposed brick, retro glossy white tiles, wooden boards and mismatched seating. But it is little pokey inside, and I’m never a fan of sitting the a dingy basement, even if there is more spacious seating down there! 5/10

The coffee: Husband and wife team Georgina and Quintin take their coffee seriously. They import their beans from Aus, and serve they any which way you want, using purified water so as not to muddy the flavour, poured into dainty vintage crockery. Whether you want it straight up and strong, or sweet and flavoured, their drinks are always spot on. 9/10

The vibe: A little cramped, but it’s a friendly enough place. 5/10

Bar Italia

Bar Italia

Bar Italia

The interior: Bar Italia follows the example of local coffee bars in Rome. For Italians, coffee is not only a pleasure, but a necessity, and thus, they often dive into a corner café to knock back an espresso before continuing with their day. Bar Italia is exactly this kind of place, and therefore you won’t find comfy sofas and soft acoustics. So although it scores lowly for an amazing interior, it’s designed this way. 3/10

The coffee: Italian. Enough said. Just don’t ask for tea! 7/10

The vibe: Bar Italia is a social hub for Brits and the Italian community alike. The decor may not score highly, but the hospitality sure does. Crammed into the tiny bar, Italian footy blaring from the TV, and Italians chatting over strong espresso, you’ll be transported to Rome. 8/10