First, you notice the names. A steady stream called out by the baristas behind the bar, as tens of people bustle in and out of Rosslyn Coffee on London Wall, a quick walk from Moorgate Station. They ring out amid the hubbub of buttons pressed dockets printed coffee ground shots pulled steam wands purged jugs banged; the hubbub that comes with slinging out brew after brew as the sun peers out over the horizon and the city comes to life.
A good deal of early aughts speciality coffee shops balked at the practice of calling out customer’s names with their drinks; sharing something with Starbucks? The gauchest of crimes. That’s thankfully a hang-up long gone by. But then you notice something else. Those names aren’t just being called out for drinks. It’s when people walk through the door.
London speciality coffee often feels like one of those triangle choice graphics more associated with students arriving at university. Quality; service; speed: pick two. Only the best of the best manage all three, but three years in, it’s exactly what has come to define James Hennebry and Mat Russell’s version of what a coffee shop can be in London. In Hennebry’s words, “the standards of the Australian cafe combined with the hospitality of an Irish pub.” The pairing derives from both owners’ heritage — Hennebry Irish, Russell Australian — and time both spent in and around the coffee scene on Melbourne’s Rosslyn Street, from which the cafe takes its name.
So far, it’s a winning combination, and what Hennebry is most proud of is seeing customers gaining the comfort and familiarity from their morning go-to that propels them to try something different: one of the “off menu,” frozen coffees that can run to £10 a cup. Building up trust with regular, regular coffee drinkers means it’s easier than many hyperbolic column inches might suggest to convey why a coffee might cost that much — and remembering their name as well as their coffee can’t hurt, either.
Join the morning rush at the best new coffee shop in London.