Monmouth Coffee. Speak those two words to any coffee-lover who knows London and a soft smile will appear on their lips; a knowing glow in their eyes. Like most things these days, the earlier memories are the most pungent. For me us it was the cool afternoons ambling through Covent Garden when suddenly your entire world would be filled with the singular aroma of roasting coffee; and then you would be dragged along by the nose till you found the source and stepped inside Monmouth Coffee!
27 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden location first opened in 1978, where they used to roast the coffee in the basement (and thus leading to the corresponding scents drifting down the block). On the mezzanine there are a few cramped wooden booths where you would crowd in with your caffeine craving brethren. Each of you tasting a roast from exotic locations: Yirgacheffe from Ethiopia, brews from the Colombian zona cafeteria or organic beans from the Hawaiian islands – you can travel the world within your mug while snacking croissants and chocolates.
In 2007 the roasting plant was moved to a larger facility in Bermondsey, and is now used to support both the Covent Garden spot and the larger location, opened in 2001, next to Borough Market. There there is a large communal table, where for a quite reasonable fee, you can compare in baguettes with natural butter, jams, and marrmate. It gets quite crowded on market days, but there are two counters: one for bagged beans and the other for service. A trick to getting a quicker cup is to buy a bag of beans – and they will serve you some to go at the same time :)
27 Monmouth Street, London WC2H 9EU
The Borough Market
2 Park Street London SE1 9AB
8:00 – 18:30 Monday – Saturday – Covent Garden
7:30 – 18:00 Monday – Saturday – Borough Market