Brits may be obsessed with tea but much to the surprise of the rest of the world, coffee has earned a special place in our hearts, as well. From upscale cafés where you can enjoy a cup of classic Italian espresso to sustainability-focused breweries or hipster-style coffee houses, the United Kingdom has a rich and vibrant coffee culture.
As we are celebrating International Coffee Day on October 1, the team at BonusInsider ventured to discover the best locations to have your favourite caffeine boost. It turns out there are thousands of excellent coffee shops around the country that are certainly worth a recommendation – some are highly praised for their artisan blends and delicious meals, some have impeccable service, and some are the perfect place for brunch or breakfast, or to visit with your dog.
We decided to look at the top-rated coffee shops in the UK but rather than picking the most famous (and most commercial) establishments, we simply wanted to make a list of the best and most unique cafés in the country with flawless service excellence. Therefore we only included coffee shops with the impeccable rating of 5.0 stars on Google Business Profile, and ranked them by the number of reviews:
1. The Coffee Bar, Birmingham
Located on Temple Row, right in the centre of Birmingham, The Coffee Bar tops our list with its impeccable 5-star rating from a total of 252 reviews. The small shop has an extensive selection of high-quality, ethically sourced coffees from independent roasters, as well as their house roast, which changes every season. Plenty of treats, brownies and artisan cakes are offered alongside a classic espresso, honey and cinnamon latte or even a cup of your favourite brew with a bit of CBD oil in it.
2. Alex Coffee, London
Alex Coffee is a boutique shop in Fitzrovia, a central district near the West End, and it is known for its signature coffee prepared and served by owner and experienced barista Alex. The tiny space is more than enough to enjoy an espresso rich in flavors or one of the filter coffees from Red Bank Coffee Roasters. It seems Alex and Miranda are solely devoted to coffee as there is nothing else on the menu – except for some teas, hot chocolate, chai, and matcha, of course.
3. Lean To Coffee – Skye Café, Isle of Skye
The independent specialty coffee shop Lean To Coffee is a striking place with scenic views, a one-of-a-kind interior (naked walls and transparent roof), and a lovely menu. And it’s a wonderful choice for a weekend trip since it’s on the Isle of Skye. Its coffee is from The Good Coffee Cartel, while food options include sandwiches, granola bowls, and toasties.
4. About Time Espresso Bar, Kendal
With a perfect score of 5 stars from 95 reviews, third on our list is About Time Espresso Bar, which is located in the charming town of Kendal in South Cumbria. Here, you can find the finest locally roasted coffee, as well as various teas and soft drinks, home-baked biscuits and pastries. The shop has a beautiful interior with quite unique décor but also nice outdoor seating where customers can sip their coffee or enjoy some delicious cake.
5. Outlier, Glasgow
Outlier, a trendy coffee house and bakery near High Street in Glasgow, is probably one of the most aesthetically pleasing establishments on this list. But the stylish décor is just a part of its allure – the shop offers a wide variety of tasty coffee beverages along with delicious, freshly baked cakes, muffins, and croissants. It’s unclear which contributed more to the top ranking on Google – the coffee options or the baked delights.
6. The Borrow Shop, Birmingham
Ranked sixth on our list, The Borrow Shop in Birmingham’s Jewellry Quarter, is a new establishment where, as its name suggests, you can borrow various things. The idea about this innovative coffee house was born during the Covid-19 lockdown and now, the shop offers a “library of things”, vegan options on the menu, and eco-friendly gifts and homewares you can buy. Of course, there are also plenty of coffees and sweet treats for customers.
7. Coffee Tepuy, Edinburgh
Boasting a 5-star rating from 71 reviews on Google Maps, Coffee Tepuy is the seventh entry on our ranking. It is a specialty Colombian coffee house in Edinburgh and it claims its coffee is grown naturally, hand-picked, and dried “by the Colombian sunshine above the clouds in the Andes”. More importantly for coffee lovers, the coffee here has a rich, intense aroma and balanced flavour, while the sweet treats are fresh and delicious.
8. Mood Café, Huddersfield
This is a café and restaurant in Huddersfield, a former textile hub in West Yorkshire that has become a lovely tourist destination nowadays. The Mood Café, in particular, attracts locals and tourists alike with its delicious cakes, relaxed atmosphere and excellent service. With its halal meals, Kurdish teas, and falafel sandwiches in the menu along with various English treats, this is the perfect fusion between East and West. The coffee is, of course, outstanding.
9. Intenso Coffee Shop, London
Intenso Coffee Shop is the second London location with a 5-star rating (from 65 reviews) and it is a must for every coffee aficionado. It is a relatively small Italian-style establishment near King’s College London and it offers a large selection of top-quality coffees. There are plenty of pastries to order alongside your espresso or latte, sandwiches and Italian treats such as Panettone or focaccia bread with different cheeses and meats on top.
10. Café Frida, York
With a 5-star rating from 59 reviews, Café Frida in York is an excellent place for those who wish to immerse themselves in Latin American culture. It is а beautifully designed, cozy café which offers roasted coffee from Roots, a blend of Costa Rica, Peru and El Salvador coffee beans. There is also a lot of homemade pastries and cakes to choose from, as well as Latin American dishes such as Huevos Rancheros with bacon or Spanish chorizo, nachos, chilaquiles, quesadillas, and more.