Workshop Coffee Co. has quickly become a leader in the London coffee scene since opening in April 2011. We often visit their store in Clerkenwell for a coffee, to grab a retail bag of beans or for some dinner. They have also expanded to other locations in Holborn, Fitzrovia and Marylebone. The coffee shop in Clerkenwell is the hub of their operation, it is spacious, modern with exposed brickwork and industrial touches, their bar and La Marzocco Linea machine taking centre stage.
At the back of the store sits their roastery, where they roast coffee for their own stores and also catering for both retail and commercial customers. A roaster is visible to customers at the back of the cafe and the shop is often filled with the inviting smell of freshly roasted coffee. They focus on quality over quantity, choosing to only have a small selection of beans so that they can focus on producing the best possible coffee. We recently attended the ‘Kenya Showcase: An Introduction To Coffee’s Holy Grail’ talk held at their Holborn cafe where Tim Williams, their Director of Operations and green coffee buyer, spoke about the process of sourcing coffee, ensuring that the best coffee is picked and how the beans are then processed before being being sold to roasters. This understanding of the product is what has given Workshop their reputation for producing top quality coffee, as they take responsibility for their coffee by ensuring that their roast is always careful, consistent and considered.
This coffee roasted on the premises is then expertly prepared by their team of baristas. During our most recent visit, we chose to have both a filter and espresso based drink. Our first drink of the day was an aeropress, we had a ‘Githiga AA, Murang’a, Kenya’ and a ‘El Rodeo, Tarrazu, Costa Rica’ each. We then moved on to a flat white, both choosing their guest single origin ‘Sumbili Espresso’ which is from the Nyamagabe district of Rwanda which has a fruity aroma and syrupy finish which went well with the milk of our flat whites. Their selection of coffee may be small but it is chosen and roasted in manner which ensures that all tastes are considered and that you will never experience a boring or ‘brown’ coffee.
"They successfully bring great food and high quality coffee together under one roof"
It’s not only their coffee that is impressive, but also their food offering that has been constantly evolving since their beginnings back in 2011. They successfully bring great food and high quality coffee together under one roof, serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. They have won a number of awards for their food in recent years including ‘Best Independent Cafe’ at the 2012 Cafe Society Awards and have been reviewed by Timeout as being ‘a great day-time cafe, becoming a major point of interest’. The food is of a high standard yet completely accessible and not intimidating. In their own words, they focus on considered and conscientious sourcing with the desire to share these goods with their customers in a humble and relaxed way.
During our most recent visit on a Saturday afternoon, Farringdon was quiet but Workshop was bustling full of people eating brunch and drinking coffee. The lady at the front of house efficiently dealt with the constant stream of people, yet we were not made to feel as if we needed to quickly finish our drinks so that someone else could take our seats. Despite all of their impressive achievements in both coffee and food, it is the staff at Workshop who make them what they are. Workshop’s emphasis on training and their quality driven ethos ensures that the baristas and front of house staff are both enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their product, resulting in the Workshop experience, coffee and food being consistently good every time. Fantastic coffee, tasty food and friendly baristas, what more do you want?