Kaffeine, an Aussie-inspired coffee shop in the heart of London, was high on my list of old favorites to revisit. I popped in early on a drizzly morning, crossing my fingers that their flat whites were halfway as good as I remembered.
I spent a few months in London in 2011, and made it a personal mission to try as many coffee shops as possible. Between writing a dissertation and completing an internship, it’s safe to say that roughly 2/3 of my meals contained caffeine of some kind – and flat whites quickly emerged as my go-to drink of choice.
Flat whites were developed in Australia in the 80’s, and are similar to a latte (espresso + milk). Unlike lattes, which are typically very milky and foamy, flat whites are made only with a touch of lightly frothed milk with a small bit of microfoam on top, which results in a smaller, smoother, more espresso-forward drink.
If you like espresso, you will love flat whites. They’re a bit hard to find in the US, but try ordering one and see what you think!
Since it opened in 2009, Kaffeine has been regarded as one of the best spots in all of London to get a flat white. I loved the place a few years ago, but I approached this time with apprehension: what if it wasn’t at all as good as I remembered?
Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Their perfectly-foamed velvety flat white was even better than I had hoped for!
All of their baristas are required to train for at least 3 years before taking their place behind the counter, so I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised.
The cafe is tiny, but the staff is kind enough to help you find a seat if you indicate that you want to have your coffee to stay. The hustle and bustle made for enjoyable people-watching, though I found myself settling into the latest issue of the Gentlewoman instead. They keep a stack of publications available for reading, so feel free to arrive empty handed.
I didn’t feel the urge to linger long, as I could see people eyeing my seat and I wanted to get out and explore the day. But my hour at Kaffeine was a sweet reminder that some things can come back even better than you remember, and for that I loved it even more.