"Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherized upon a table; Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets, The muttering retreats Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells: Streets that follow like a tedious argument Of insidious intent To lead you to an overwhelming question ... Oh, do not ask, “What is it?” Let us go and make our visit [to Prufrock coffee]."
--The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot (read the rest here- and shoutout to my mum for pointing out the literary reference)
Okay, so T.S. Eliot didn't write that last part, but I'm sure if T.S. Eliot knew anything about coffee he would be proud that one of his fictional characters inspired the name of this coffee shop. Started in 2010 by the 2009 World Barista Champion, Gwilym Davies, Prufrock and Davies have been some of the largest proponents of third wave coffee in London. Davies got his start in a very similar way to that of Blue Bottle's James Freeman--in an unlabeled and much loved coffee stall in a marketplace. Now, Prufrock is a permanent establishment alongside the many market stalls that fill Leather Lane throughout the week during lunch time. Inside this spacious and beautiful shop you will find a brew bar (for the more coffee curious), as well as a downstairs area reserved for BRAT (Barista Resource and Training). As for the coffee, I was generally pleased by their Square Mile espresso--consistently beautiful crema, varying in texture and flavours from the many times of my return. However, I was underwhelmed by their quite pricey filter coffees. As for their food, I thought it sometimes even outshone their coffee in terms of deliciousness. Maybe it's just easier sometimes to make heavenly toast and jam than find the perfect extraction of espresso?
Recommend: Come around lunch time and peruse the Leather Lane market.
Note: There is free wi-fi and plenty of seating, if you care for that with a good cup of coffee.
Vibe: Most certainly hipster
Espresso Rating: 8.5/10
Overall Rating: 9/10
Address: 23-25 Leather Lane EC1N 7TE, London, UK
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm