On the Saturday that I visited Monmouth Coffee Company in Covent Garden, the queue to nab a spot at the communal seating was out the door. If good coffee in London draws a crowd, the crowd at Monmouth is some testament of its quality.
The space is small but cosy and cool, the coffee worth the wait. With beans sourced from South American to Central America and Africa, there’s plenty for the coffee lover to get excited about.
Monmouth is one of those places that doesn’t diversify away from its specialty. It’s all about the coffee, and the small range of pastries and baked goods sitting across the counter are there to compliment – not compete with – their core offering. A few people in the growing queue behind me ask if they do lunch, and the well-rehearsed answer is No – what you see is what you get.
In keeping with the simplicity of their philosophy, the menu is elegantly simple too. Monmouth have been roasting and retailing coffee for over 30 years so it’s no surprise this is what they do best.
They take pride in the fact that they “travel extensively throughout the year, visiting the producers and cooperatives” to foster what they believe is “sustainable, fair and equal trade”, and, should you want it, there’s a detailed print out on every table explaining where each particular roast comes from, how it’s made, and what’s special about it.
The interior of Monmouth’s Covent Garden cafe has the pared-back chic vibe of any cool cafe of the day, from the scrawled blackboards to the rustic tin buckets of whole cane sugar that find their home on the tables. But the interesting thing to note about the furnishings is that much of it is original.
From a quick bit of research the communal wooden booths were made by seasoned joiner Peter Millburn out of reclaimed demolition timber. That was back in 1978, and it seems between the green hanging lamps and sturdy timber seating, not much has changed since.
And nor should it – the style has most definitely come back around, if ever it went out.
27 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, London