They’ve become our extended living rooms where everyone knows our names, not just our order. From hooks-ups, to start-ups, and even break-ups, the indie coffee shop, not the pub, has become the backdrop to our lives. Even though this coffee shop culture has been heavily satirised - remember in Girls, when Ray’s rival shop Helvetica, was too cool to give people ‘lids’? –  we’re still hooked. And who’s more likely to get right swipes these days – the bearded barista or the pink-shirted banker? Of course the more obscure the name, the better – thank you north London’s Tina We Salute You and Birmingham’s Quarter Horse Coffee. And as for east London’s  Look Mum, No Hands! – from the exposed light bulbs to the bike repair shop, it ticks every hipster box going. Located near Old Street roundabout (dubbed Silicon Roundabout, it’s home to Google’s tech campus), it was set up by three ‘cycling nerds’ Matt Harper, Lewin Chalkley and Sam Humpheson in 2010. ‘I was working in the city but wasn’t happy,’ Matt eplains. ‘Lewin, Sam and I got talking businesses in the pub one night and thought how come there’s nowhere that combines coffee with cycling?’ Fast forward six years, and they’ve got a dedicated fan base (some don’t even cycle) who come for the coffee but stay for the vibes. Here’s what happened when we hung out with the beards, bikes and flat whites for the day…  

Daniel Cowpertwait
08.00 Flat white
‘It’s my first day working here. I worked in the City before where 90 per cent of orders were Americanos. The customer didn’t care what the taste was, they just wanted caffeine. Here, the flat white is a big trend and a v60 filter – you drink it like a tea.’

Suranya Wong
08.50 Orange juice
‘I come here most days. I’m currently studying international relations at University College London. In Bangkok there are lots of cool cafes so when I moved here it took me a while to find one I liked. I’m going to study here for most of the day.’


Chris Downs
Digital designer
10.00 Latte
‘I work nearby and this is my regular coffee shop. I come here most mornings so I now get a nod of recognition. I’m a digital designer and this is the nicest independent coffee shop that’s close to work. Sometimes I come here for lunch with my team.’

Monika Tatalovic
Fashion Stylist
10.45 Americano
‘When I first moved to London from Toronto, I thought it was huge. Now I think of it as a video game with all the different levels. It’s really much smaller than you’d think. My friends are going to come meet me here later for a glass of wine.’

Jacob Hopewell
Film Director
11.40 Flat White
‘I’m trying to network and do all that shit that comes with being a freelancer. I’m waiting for a flat white and a chorizo sandwich. Nowadays, you’d sound like an old grandma if you ordered a cappuccino. What you drink has totally become a status thing.’


Tom Ford
Visual Researcher
12.45 Flat White
‘I started drinking flat whites about ten years ago in that place in Soho called Flat White. I’m totally trying to make out I’m ahead of the trend. I work three doors down so this is my local. I like the way it has a proper kitchen as well as coffee.’


Max Wallis
Freelance Copywriter
13.30 Flat White
‘I prefer to work from coffee shops than at home. It lets me get out of my own head. I like anonymity in a coffee shop. There has be a “middley” amount of noise. But it has to be white noise so you can ignore people and still concentrate. It can’t be deafeningly loud.’


Jamie Stratton
Coffee Roaster
14.15 Espresso
‘My coffee is being used here today so I came by to see how it was going. I moved down from Scotland about six years ago to get into  the coffee industry. I actually worked here for about three years. It’s like a trade, you start at the bottom and work your way up.’


Ella Hunt
15.30 Black Americano
‘My internet’s broken, I wanted a coffee and this place is only two minutes from my flat. I’m studying fashion and textiles at the London College of Fashion. Later, I need to collect some paper from a shop on Shoreditch High Street and then afterwards do more uni work.’


Ayame Yoshida
16.30 Latte
‘My husband got a job in London so we moved here three years ago from Tokyo. He’s a trader and I haven’t worked since we moved. But today I’m working on my job application letter as I’m moving back. He is going to stay here for a bit longer. I’ll miss him for a bit.’


Christopher Kelsey
16.45 Americano
‘I’ve been working in street food but now I’m looking to move into food consulting. I thought I had got a job I had applied for but I just heard back that they’re rethinking the position they had advertised. So I was in a good mood until about 20 minutes ago!’


Alasdair Maclaine
17.00 Americano
‘I’m on my way to my workshop in north London. I run my own lifestyle accessories brand called Wingback. To start it, I ran a crowd-funding campaign about two years ago. I’m an engineer by trade and used to work for Dyson but wanted to do my own thing.’


Luisa Gerstein
17.30 Water
‘I’ve popped in to buy a bike rack. When I was 13, my dad took me on a cycling trip and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve cycled across America and all around Istanbul. After this, I’ve got a few other errands to do and then I’m going to see Max Richter, the classical composer, play at the Barbican.’


This feature origianlly appeared in the August print edition of InStyle

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Photographs by Kasia Bobula