It’s the problem every coffee lover faces in a big city; where to find a ‘proper coffee’…
As a strict tea drinker, I’m more than used to hearing about blends and roasts without knowing what on earth they actually mean or how they affect the taste. What I do know, however, is that any coffee drinker worth their salt probably isn’t going to be thrilled with the concept of going to a mainstream coffee chain and often choose them out of necessity, but where exactly can you find yourself the elusive proper coffee? The answer, unsurprisingly, is on your phone.
Best Coffee is an app for Android and Apple devices that uses your location to reveal the coffee shops and cafés nearby that you may not know about. How do you like your coffee prepared? Can you only drink decaf? The app takes this all into account to help you find the absolute best place in London for your needs. There are currently more than 350 cafés listed in London, and the guide is in the process of broadening its horizons. Originally called London’s Best, the app has since gone global, with reviews from New York to Amsterdam, but nowhere has quite the same level of content at this stage as London.
Integrating Google Maps, a quick swipe to the right of the main page will show you all of the coffee shops wherever you are, and the write-ups and reviews are detailed enough to be helpful while not overstaying their welcome or being overwhelming to the reader. Best Coffee also features a checklist of everything the café does and doesn’t offer, going beyond just coffee preferences, as well as a dedicated news section for coffee news and opinion pieces, something I’ve never seen before.
For those less interested in roasted beans and more enthusiastic about boiled leaves, the app does show you which of these indie cafés offer loose leaf tea as well. Although the options for tea drinkers are much more limited, it’s still a nice feature given it’s not the point of the app. Other additional options show if the venue has wi-fi, baby changing facilities and an alcohol licence, and it’s very exciting to find those little hidden gems in a city as vast as London.
For PAs, this app could be your trump card. Looking for interesting spots to meet with clients, places for the coffee run or even just a nice quiet spot to take a break, this app offers an interesting look on London’s coffee landscape. It differs from apps like Trip Advisor by simply featuring ‘the best’, this isn’t a place to rate every venue you visit, this is a place for the top hot spots. It’s disappointing that the app isn’t really worth recommending to those outside of London, but it’s clearly still growing, and definitely one to watch in the future.
More customisations would be interesting as it feels a little limited, but as a free app looking to showcase the hidden talents London has to offer, Best Coffee certainly does what it set out to do. The news section also goes to prove this is unashamedly an app for coffee lovers, by coffee lovers and as someone who has zero interest in coffee I’ve not deleted the app. It’s helped me pretend I know where the cool places in London are, and for the boost in street cred I’ve received from Best Coffee among coffee connoisseurs alone, it has our recommendation.