If there was one piece of advice I could offer to those of you seeking great coffee, it would be 'do your research'. Those fantastic cups of coffee aren't going to find you, you're going to have to seek them out. Research, is how I discovered Fred and Ginger.
A lot of my time during the week is spent travelling between meetings and I found I was reliant on the convenience of coffee chains at service stations. Not great. More recently, my tastebuds flat out rejected this convenience coffee. Like me, you probably don't function too well without your caffeine. It was a problem.
The solution, as it happens, was fairly simple. I'd plan my route in advance and list the towns closest to the motorway junctions along my route. I'd then do a quick web search for 'specialty coffee' and the name of the town. Et voila! This method has taken me to tons of great coffee places, including Fred and Ginger. Give it a go.
Fred and Ginger is tucked away in the small village of Kings Langley so you'd be forgiven for not being aware of this place. Conveniently though, they're just a few minutes from the M25 at Junction 20. No hassle at all in the name of amazing coffee. Easy to park on the high street too.
Fred and Ginger is definitely part of the modern, third wave coffee movement, though somehow manages to feel very, very English. It's a nice open space with high ceilings and cool lighting. The wood floor makes it feel very homely and somewhat classy. The jars of jam of the tables and the rather antique looking teaspoons all add the the English feel.
There are lots of reasons that I regularly visit Fred and Ginger. Firstly, how cool is the name? Then there's the amazingly tasty yet healthy smoothies and juices. The vast array of delicious snacks made in house, including several veggie options. The wealth of friendly, skilled and knowledgable staff. But mostly, as you'd guess, it's just really good coffee.
They tend to source the beans from independent roasters and change the variety of beans regularly. You'll often find them serving expertly roasted beans by Campbell & Syme of East Finchley. A solid choice. I tend to go for a flat white to take out, as I'm typically stopping off there on my way to a meeting, but if I have time, I do sit in and enjoy one of the single origin filters they offer. All their drinks are equally delicious so be sure to get down and sample as many as you can.
I recommended this place to a friend recently. A friend that's a tea drinker. Somehow, they managed to convert him and now he's down there once a fortnight for a pourover, the coffee is THAT good.