Aussies In London
The London Coffee Festival was a blast as we showed off Prana Chai to the Brits. The London café scene has come a long way in the last few years, and we enjoyed stopping in at all the unique and wonderful places serving up Prana Chai.
There was a time, not that long ago, that going out for breakfast in London meant a fry up and a cup of tea that closely resembled dishwater. Coffee was either instant or, if you went somewhere a bit fancy, percolated, while espresso was dominated by the big chains.
The Australians who moved there in droves in the early naughties, missed the places back home where they could get a good smashed avocado and decent hot drink. Lucky for London, some of those Aussies had the sense to open their own cafes to serve what was lacking in their new home, and places like Flat White, Taylor Street Baristas and Kaffiene were popular with locals and expats alike.
But while Antipodeans like to credit themselves as pioneering the coffee revolution in London, in 2009 the World Barista Championship winner was Gwilym Davies from the UK, and the following year London hosted the event. London began to forge its own style of café, taking inspiration from Scandinavian, US and Asian coffee markets.
With decent coffee now standard, improvements have been made in areas including food and alternative beverages. The focus has shifted to using fresh produce, while a creative mix of artisanal teas are offered, rather than just your standard “builder’s” tea. Chai has developed from being a sickly sweet powder mixed into hot milk, to a beverage that takes just as much care to prepare as the coffee.
Londoners and visitors now have a range of places they can go for a decent breakfast or a chat over chai. With so many now to pick from, the trouble is no longer finding a good place to go, but choosing which one to try. Here is a pick of some of our favourite places across London to enjoy a Prana Chai.
Crosstown Doughnuts: famous for delivering yummy handmade doughnuts across London, you can pick up one of these deliciously beautiful creations at a number of London locations. On offer are inventive flavours of doughnut including the Lamnut (Lamington) and Chai Tea – made using Prana Chai. Check out their doughnut bars in Soho, Shoreditch, Camden, Leather Lane and Broadway Market, or any number of stockist including Selfridges and Chancery Press.
Aida Shoreditch: More than just a clothes store with a café inside, Aida has the feel of a neighbourhood hangout space in an East London modern kind of way. You can have your hair done at the vintage salon, get a made to measure suit tailored or just peruse the independent brands of clothes and homewares on offer instore. Aida also hosts events with the aim of supporting and growing the local community, while the café is the perfect space to have a cup of chai with local creatives.
I Will Kill Again: The décor of I Will Kill Again, the café of roasters Dark Arts Coffee in Hackney, offers a breath of fresh air from the minimalist hipster aesthetic common in most new cafes around London. The owners have stayed true to their own interests and sense of style, focusing instead on offering a great vegan friendly menu that utilises local ingredients where possible. Come for the cup of Prana Chai, stay for the Vegan Chorizo Bun.
Milkbar/Flat White: Back when coffee meant a cup of instant and asking for a flat white was akin to speaking in a foreign language, Milkbar was one of the few place Aussies could go for a decent breakfast that didn’t involve baked beans. Now, while London has been flooded by Australian café culture and well and truly developed its own, Milkbar remains one of the originals. A cup of Prana Chai here is still a welcome escape for Aussies and Brits alike from the chaos of surrounding central London.
Daily Goods: You know things are improving in South London when places like Daily Goods start popping up. Drawing inspiration from his home in The States, Carter Donnell has created a space where the focus is on community. Bring your laptop to use the free wifi and plug sockets at each table to get some work done whilst sipping on a Prana Chai.
Coffee Works: As you can probably guess from the name, coffee reigns superior here, and boy do they take it seriously. A changing selection of filter coffees are on offer, with the knowledgeable staff happy to explain the characteristics of each to novices. But that doesn’t mean everything else is just an afterthought – cakes are baked on site and the food is sourced from premium local producers including Neals Yard Dairy and The Little Bread Pedlar.