It officially happened. I went Down Under for the Christmas Break and when I came back, the reality of being an LSE postgrad really hit me.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, LSE is not for the faint-hearted or thin-skinned. The workload is brutal. The standards are high. The amount of socialising you have to do is outrageous. The pounds you’ll spend on drinks to calm the impeding feeling of doom are staggering…not to mention the hours you’ll spend finding coffee, because it’s the only thing between you and that dark abyss (formerly known as falling asleep at your desk).
Luckily, I’m here to save you time on the coffee search! (Mainly coz I’ve done the leg-work for you).
(Editor’s note. I’m from Australia. Thanks to the profound influence of Italian immigrants in my country, we like REAL coffee, and that is what I look for in London too. That is, espresso made from medium or dark roasted beans, not too hot and not too sweet. Beans must not be old, over- or under-roasted, the coffee must not be over-extracted, and the milk not over- or under-frothed. And filter or percolator coffee will NEVER EVER cross our lips.)
Here are the places you’re best to go to in order to find a decent cuppa (in no particular order).
1. Fourth Floor Cafe
The most convenient place if you literally feel like you’re about to faint from withdrawal symptoms. Located inside the Old Building, the café serves an acceptable cup of coffee. Even the Americano isn’t shriekingly bad (which is more than I can say for Americanos at Pret, Eat, Starbucks or any of the other chains). If you can get your hands on one, pull up a comfy chair in the corner and do some work while you caffeinate.
2. Fleet River Bakery
On the same parallel as the NAB, tucked just off Lincoln’s Inn Fields is this divine café and bakery (at which LSE students benefit from a 10% discount). I have literally written entire essays in the basement. It gets very busy around lunch time, so limit yourselves to mid-morning and mid-afternoon for more prompt service and the chance at a free table. The brownies are criminally good. Oh and the scones. And they serve wine too. Ok I’ll stop now.
3. Fernandez & Wells
Most recently received serious fashion street cred after blogger Garance Doré featured it during London Fashion Week. Located inside Somerset House, this joint is all felt-covered benches and sexy Scottish baristas. If you’re hungry, order eggs. It comes with two slices of bread and an entire vat of French butter.
4. Flat Cap Fleet Street
A couple of doors down from the Fetter Lane corner with Fleet street, you might miss it if you don’t head through the church gates. This pop up café with a friendly French barista serves a cracking coffee with Square Mile roasted beans. And they have interesting street signage. Last week we had:
“Be happy if you’re in love. Most of us are bitter over someone.”
5. And for when you just want tea- the Twinings Shop
At 216 The Strand, you’ll find a Pick&Mix tea bar, a tea sampling service and lots of general, calming loveliness. They do serve coffee as well. In fact, they’ve been serving it since 1706.