I love the name Alchemy for an espresso bar. It perfectly captures the sense of science-mixed-with-dark-magic that would seem to be required in transmuting a bunch of dried out pits into the Elixir of Life. And given that London’s Alchemy Café is located in a decidedly old part of town, not far from St. Paul’s and next to the site of the original Priory of the Blackfriars (est. 1278), it’s fair to assume that it’s in a location that has witnessed centuries of practice in the alchemical arts.
The shop is friendly and warm. It’s not intended as a place to linger—there isn’t a lot of seating or (as far as I remember) wifi, though of course I felt quite welcome when I hung around talking coffee. Indeed, this may be the best place in the city to engage in obsessive conversation about the preparation and enjoyment of the drink. The baristas are some of the city’s high priests of coffee nerddom. They roast their own beans, and continuously fine-tune the production process. And although I stick to espresso when I’m there, it’s worth stopping by just to ogle the gorgeous apparatuses they use for cold-brew.
This is one of my favourite cups of espresso in the city. Hopefully I’ll be able to visit at least once more in the few short weeks I have left here in London.
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