On first thoughts, one might think that spending more time in a coffee shop on your own would appear rather sad for an activity considered relatively sociable, however I have certainly found solace in the time I’ve so far spent ticking off independent coffee shops in London’s 2017 guide.
What started off as a way to spend my free weekends, which still remains equally as true, going to different independent coffee shops around London has now become a somewhat integral part into my life biography.
An edgy shot of the shop itself, alongside a carefully placed coffee cup, which, if I fancy a soya treat, displays some mighty fine coffee art, is an imperative aspect of these trips – as well as the journey there that must be taken by bike. Hating myself for every capture of that camera, appearing as a total Instagram fan girl, it’s actually become my structured way of organising my trips, numbering the shops I’ve so far been to and updating all my ‘gram stalkers of my location that Saturday afternoon.
As these trips slowly started becoming more than just a 3-shop wonder (I’m now on 24 – it’s definitely taken longer than I thought), I feel I’ve spread the trend to some family and friends who frequently join me on my venture. Even my now boyfriend had an invite to one for our third date and yes, I did still turn up on my bike. Shorts and all – don’t ask.
However, most of these trips to London’s 2017 guide to Independent Coffee Shops are spent on my own. Something that is hardly alien anyway as most people who spend their time in coffee shops are alone, writing screenplays on their MacBook or otherwise.
There’s much to be said about spending time on your own, particularly if it’s just for a mere 30 minutes in a place where people constantly bustle in and out anyway so won’t actually notice you’re still that loner in the corner. It’s allowed me to plan trips around the globe (a minute by minute itinerary when I went to Norway was managed in a coffee shop), spend time reading a book that isn’t interrupted by The Walking Dead Netflix breaks, and generally reflect on actually being able to do these trips. An eating disorder anxiety would have no doubt held me back 2 years ago.
So while I was recently introduced to my new team at work as being a coffee fanatic whose goal is to test all the best coffee joints in London, I felt a real sense of pride (sad, I know) in what I’m doing with these trips. I might still have a couple of hundred to go and 2018’s guide will only add to the list, but I quite like being my circle’s personal Time Out to the best coffee shops in ‘X’ location.
It’s become really important to me that I continue to make time for completing these trips and making time for myself, rather than spending unproductive time sitting around doing nothing! So if you’re based in London and find you have a couple of hours spare, here are my so-far top 5 that I’ve visited from July 2017 to the time of writing:
CREAM, Shoreditch – Amazing food and they don’t allow laptops on weekends so you have to make the effort to read or actually chat to a real life human!
HALF CUP, Euston – Seriously welcoming staff that make the best homemade energy balls. Win win.
Sawyer and Gray, Highbury & Islington – Homemade juices that regularly change with great food and a cute little hideaway seating downstairs.
Rapha Cycle Club, Piccadilly – Just because I love bikes and brew.
Four Corners, Waterloo – They have a whole corner dedicated to travel books and Lonely Planet guides which you can pick up and read, or bring in your own in exchange for a free coffee!