I have to say, I do struggle to find a good cup of coffee when I’m not in London, but that’s probably because I don’t know the right places, or my taste buds have become biased by the city of coffee addicts. I remember (almost) shedding a tear of joy when we found a nice coffee made with condensed milk in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam after what felt like weeks. I think I had half a dozen terrible coffees on that trip, before I had a good one.
Note: in South East Asia stick to tea.
A health adviser from BUPA told me recently that ideally, caffeine should be avoided altogether as it's a stimulant and can tamper with your heart rate, but two to three cups of tea or coffee should be fine. Working life in London typically involves a lot of caffeine (and alcohol). When you're slaving away in your job all week, and wise people tell you not to drink 'too much' tea or coffee, you need to make sure that the few cups you do have are good ones and guilt-free.
According to BBC Health, 400mg* of caffeine is 'safe' per day. So we could have 1-4 cups of coffee as long as we don't have any other energy drinks, chocolates, tea, etc. (Hurray!)
*200mg for pregnant women
And if you care about how 'fatty' your coffees are, a small flat white, latte or cappuccino with full-fat milk is around 100 calories and 5-7g of fat. There's a quiz from The Guardian to test your coffee-calorie knowledge, which covers the high street coffee chains: Starbucks, Pret, Costa, Nero and good old Greggs.
Health aside, I'm sure many of you have your personal favourites for the quick and easy coffee, whether they get your name right or change it completely (I once got my takeaway Frappuccino with "FAN" written on it). But if you don't mind waiting a bit longer for what's usually a (much) smaller portion of coffee for what you usually pay, here are some 'artisan' coffee shops to check out in the city on your lunch break:
1. artigiano, st paul's
These guys need to thank me for at least 50 cappuccinos consumed in 2 years and now this blog. And I can thank them for all the good cappuccinos and loyalty stamps I have enjoyed. Step out of Artigiano and there's the grand beauty of St Paul's Cathedral. What more could you possibly ask for?
The staff are quirky, friendly and sometimes they may even give you an extra stamp for your loyalty and a big Cheshire smile. What's more, they serve beer, wine and cocktails (with happy hour) after 12pm. Genius.