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Cafe Vergnano, 62 Charing Cross Road, London

September 26, 2005
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coffee shopLet me tell you where to currently get the best espresso coffee in London: at the small Caffé Vergnano 1882 on 62 Charing Cross Road, London.

I was lured in by a sign saying "voted best coffee shop in London 2005" but did not have any expectations. Yet another publicist trick I thought.

The caffé is fairly small. Just a few tables and two bars along the window and the wall. When I visited there were three staff working and they were skilled and very efficient.

First thing you notice when you enter the shop however is the massive Elektra Bell Epoque Q1-C espresso machine.

On a note on the wall you find out that these machines are hand made and only a few (10?) are made each year. The Vergnano coffee company elects each year a European Vergnano coffee shop and lend them one of these "Rolls-Royces" of espresso machines. This is the first time ever a London shop has had the honour.

I ordered a double macchiato which was brewed very well. Good temperature, excellent taste and no bitterness nor sourness. The barista even made a perfect rosetta on top of the coffee, effortlessly.

Each coffee is served on a tray with accompanying glass of water. Do it right and have the water before the coffee to clean your palate.

All the coffee machines, grinders, tables (and staff) are so clean and sparkling that you could almost make the mistake and think that the shop is closing or closed. This is however another sign of perfection and that coffee making is taken very seriously in here.

The coffee experience was so good and such a surprise that I had to have a second double macchiato just to assure my self that it had been for real.

Getting there: get off at Leicester Square tube station. Walk North along Charing cross road. The café is on the left side, just a few blocks up.



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Comments

  1. Anna Says:

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    David

    Very interesting, last time I tried Vergnano the barista was OK but the beans they used tasted like traditional low grade robusta? I don't think that machine was there though.

    If you are near Covent Garden try Bullet Cafe on Mercer St. Arabica only, ft/org and masterfully roasted IMHO. They might even let you take some of their precious beans home!

  2. Zanderman Says:

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    A very nice little cafe on Charring Cross Road. The coffee machine is spectacular and makes you want to go out and open your own cafe on the off chance that you might be able to get one.

    Coffee was hot but not scalding and the rosetta was a work of art. I will be rushing back soon.

  3. David Yeiser Says:

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    Nice cafe indeed. I was there in mid-August and the same barista in your picture made my cappuccino. I want to go back to London, it seemed to have the highest concentration of coffee shops out of any city I've visited.

  4. Riccardo Says:

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    I have lived in London for 5 years and being Italian I was always looking for an espresso.

    This is the best cafe in London and Luciano, the guy in the picture who is the manager makes lovely cappuccinos and espressos.

    Did you notice that you always get a glass of water when you order an espresso? The manager told me that the water should be drunk before to clean your mouth and not after as everybody does (me included)
    If you go to London this is a must.

  5. Iris Says:

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    Found this lovely cafe and went back twice in 2 days. Luciano made our cappucinos and the cafe mocha was excellent. This will be a new ritual for all future trips to London.

  6. Gill Says:

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    I was in the above cafe last week and was very disappointed. I requested a large Americano decaff and was charged £2.70 - 40p more than the advertised Americano on their price list. I was told it cost 20p per shot extra for the decaff but this information was not displayed. Won't go there again.

    David says:

    That's a shame but besides the misunderstanding, how was the quality and presentation of the coffee?

  7. Daniel Says:

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    I was introduced to this cafe by my english colleague yesterday and I was amazed by the coffee! I'm not normally big on coffee, but this coffee was so smooth yet tasty that even I wanted to have a second one. Also the staff was very friendly and it was a relaxed atmosphere in there.

    I will definitly try to go there every time I'm in London from now on.

    David says:

    Glad to hear that, that was exactly my experience as well. I had two macchiatos in a row just because the first one was so tasty.

  8. Rosian Says:

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    I’m a trained barista from NZ. I’ve found the café coffee seen in LONDON really disappointing, but when I spoke to a Londoner one day she told me about this place so I went and found it one day.

    I was so happy when I had my first Latte I could have cried I have a passion for coffee and can’t understand how people can say “it’s just coffee”!!

    I’ve taken a friend twice and been back a lot and always recommend this place.

    The comment by GILL and her Americano is really funny because that’s not coffee if you have to alter a coffee that much to enjoy it what’s the point go to Mc Donald’s or something like that if you want cheap and nasty.

  9. Michele Says:

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    Hi. I live in NY, and the place that I'm working for is currently installing an Italian made machine. The men that are assembling it are from Italy, and they brought some of this coffee with them in a golden colored package. I read the label, and it said "Cafe Vergnano 1882" on it. I wrote it down in hopes of acquiring some more before they leave. I was wondering if there is any way that I can order this 'coffee-?' online or by phone, or is it only available in the actual cafe? Thanks.

  10. Jeb Winter Says:

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    After living 10 depressing years in UK without a decent cappuccino I was delighted to find this little gem of a cafe yesterday and couldn't stop at 1 or even 2 of these sublime cappuccino's. Highly rated, best cappuccino in UK. Keep up good work.

    David says:

    "...couldn't stop at 1 or even 2 of these sublime cappuccino's"

    I know the feeling!

  11. James Says:

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    Supposedly there's only one Cafe Vergnano in all of the UK...but how many are there in Italy?...and where in Italy are they?

  12. colin Says:

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    mmm, yes!

    was on charing cross road and needed to make a phone call & waste a few minutes so popped by in the first coffee shop i came by.

    i have not had a better espresso in my life! (that said, have never ventured to italy, so who knows?)

    made sure to drag some friends there the next day - they all thought i was being ridiculous until they had that first sip..!

    personally, i like having a sip of water before each sip of espresso to get that 'kick' every time.

    David says:

    Hehe, I know a fellow coffee gourmet (addict) when I see one!

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