Prufrock #OfficeToday

I am writing this in one of the most trendy places I have ever been. Prufrock is not only a coffee shop come coffee academy come coffee purchasing arena but it is also home to the coolest coffee drinkers ever known (I don’t include myself in that set!). It may be close to the hustle of corporate Chancery Lane and Holborn but it is a far cry from corporate.

From Prufrock's website

From Prufrock’s website

My latte was exactly the way I like it. Smooth, creamy, nutty and served in duck egg blue china (i’m a sucker for trendy). It was £3.30 (would have been £3 if I had had cash) which is pretty punchy but not as punchy as the sausage rolls retailing for £5.50 each (served with leaves).

Come to mamma

Come to mamma

I arrived at 2.15pm on a Wednesday to kill an hour before a meeting in Farringdon. I liked the atmosphere and my latte really was spot on but I wouldn’t come back here to work, mainly because it is SO noisy! Music is blasted at full volume (yes I am aware of how like my mother I sound) and the floors, tables, chairs and counters are all wooden which means nothing is soaked up.

Also, I couldn’t see any plug sockets so make sure you come with your laptop on full charge if you do plan to get some work done.

BOKAC Prufrock

This is a great place to meet a friend for coffee (i’d stick to lunch from the market outside on Leather Lane) or if you’re the type who likes a lot of noise to concentrate.

I’d also be very keen to come back and try one of the coffee classes as i’d love to know how to make the perfect latte at home.

  • Coffee: 8/10
  • Ambience: 7/10
  • Price: 6/10
  • Good place to work: 5/10
  • Overall: 6.5/10
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Turkey! #OfficeToday

Hello latte lovers

This edition of #OfficeToday may be a little bit of a commute for some of you but boy oh boy would it be worth the journey.

Last week, I was lucky enough to be on holiday in Turkey (near Bodrum) where I enjoyed a week of sun, sea, fresh fish and way too much baklava. Towards the end of each afternoon, I would seek shade for tea and a ginger snap (you can take the girl out of England..) but I also managed to sample a latte which was a surprising hit!

BOKAC latte turkey

This one was Lavazza coffee with lots of milk and topped off with soft foam, exactly how I like my lattes. The view of the water definitely contributed but I would say it was one of the most enjoyable coffee’s i’ve ever had.

Hotel coffee has a long held reputation for being vile but they slowly seem to be recognising that people aren’t happy to drink what can only be described as bitter dishwater and a good cup of coffee is something people will write home (and on TripAdvisor) about. Next stop will be free Wi-Fi, I know we’re supposed to be on holiday but it’s the 21st Century people!

TAP Coffee #OfficeToday

I was in a pretty tetchy mood as I stepped off the no.10 bus on Oxford Street. Despite leaving at 11.30am on a Thursday, it took over an hour to travel the 5 miles from Kensington. WHAT ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE DOING?! Why aren’t they in an office (like I probably should be..)?

Anyway, my mood was transformed as I stepped into TAP Coffee on Rathbone Place and was greeted by the two friendly barista’s. It looks exactly like what people have come to expect from trendy coffee places: Wooden benches, white walls, fast wi-fi and a selection of brownies and healthy salads on offer.

I really can't emphasise enough that photography is not my strong point (in case that's not obvious)

I really can’t emphasise enough that photography is not my strong point (in case that’s not obvious)

Being situated in Soho/Fitzrovia (there are two more branches nearby, one on Wardour Street and one just off Tottenham Court Road. I’m not quite sure what the logic was in choosing sites so close together but I’m sure it’s working) the conversations I was eavesdropping on were from a lot of PR/Media types talking about impending trips to LA and recent colleague engagements.

My latte was delicious – rich, smooth and the perfect temperature (‘proper’ coffee drinkers seem to think coffee should be served warm rather than hot which I vehemently disagree with). I didn’t have anything to eat and most of the people seemed to be sipping on coffees rather than having lunch but the food did look delicious.

I was able to while away an hour clearing out my inbox (I have full-blown inbox OCD which is not at all conducive to running a successful business), tweaking my summer marketing plan and typing up this post. Lovely!

If I wasn’t trying to work my way through the best coffee shops London has to offer, I would definitely be back next week.

  • Coffee: 8/10
  • Ambience: 8/10
  • Price: 8/10
  • Good place to work: 9/10
  • Overall: 8/10

IOD #OfficeToday

When I started running BOKAC full-time, I joined the IOD on Pall Mall (you can read about this here) and generally go once a week. It’s great for when I need a change of scenery and if I have meetings, it’s a lot less awkward than hosting them in my bedroom.

However, there is for me, one major drawback to the IOD (apart from the fact that it is incredibly male dominated – at any one time i’d say the working rooms are filled 85% with men and I am yet to see a male waiter) which is that the coffee is really bad.

Now this is of course only in my humble opinion and I do not claim to be a coffee expert. I like my latte’s to have that nutty, smooth flavour and my favourite coffee (although I am yet to #OfficeToday it) is Nude Espresso. The IOD latte’s in comparison taste very bitter and have an almost metallic or burnt flavour. The milk is frothed to within an inch of its life and the whole package can be likened to bad hotel coffee spitting out of an ancient machine (think conference facility in a motorway hotel).

A half drunk latte with a lipstick stain is not easy on the eye but it didn't look that tasty to begin with

A half drunk latte with a lipstick stain is not easy on the eye but it didn’t look that tasty to begin with

Aside from the coffee, the IOD has a lot of plus points as a place to work from. It’s in a great location, the building is beautiful (if you like traditional decor) with high ceilings, lots of tables and the staff could not be nicer. The wifi is excellent and you can easily spend the day powering through your to-do list. Plus it looks mega impressive to people you’re meeting (I like to pretend that it is in fact all BOKAC HQ and everyone there is an employee but they’re just too engrossed in their work to bombard me with questions. 1% of the time, it works).

  • Coffee: 1/10
  • Ambience: 7/10
  • Price: 4/10 (it’s not expensive but £2.75 for a bad coffee is too much)
  • Good place to work: 8/10
  • Overall: 5/10

Timberyard #OfficeToday

On lists of ‘best London coffee shops to work from’, Timberyard often comes out top so I was excited to try it out.

There are two branches: Old Street and Covent Garden and I went to the Covent Garden one yesterday.

The setting is pretty much freelance heaven.

Window benches and a big sofa upstairs, loads of tables downstairs and two meeting rooms if you want to take coffee shop office’ing to the next level.

The latte was excellent in flavour, although a bit small and not as hot as I would have liked (£2.90). However (brace yourself for this because I am easily pleased) it came beautifully presented on a wooden board complete with its own sugar pot plus bottle of water which I thought was a nice touch to my coffee ‘experience’.

In case it's not obvious thanks to Instagram, my photography skills leave much to be desired.

In case it’s not obvious thanks to Instagram, my photography skills leave much to be desired.

I also scrounged a bite of my working companions’ oreo/fudge/salted caramel brownie and it was the closest to crack i’ve ever been.

The staff were lovely and the place was full to the brim with mac books when I arrived at 2pm until I left.

The downside was that the wifi is pretty slow so although they are technically set up for a good work session, you wouldn’t really want to stay for more than an hour. It would be a great hideout if you’re in central London and wanting a nice place to do some emails between meetings though.

  • Coffee: 6/10
  • Ambience: 8/10
  • Price: 7/10
  • Good place to work: 7/10
  • Overall: 7/10

Nordic Bakery #OfficeToday

I visited the Nordic Bakery in Baker Street a while back and as I was near their Golden Square branch yesterday, I thought i’d give them another go.

Nordic Bakery are famous (I think) for their cinnamon buns and as I was experiencing an 11.30am hunger pang, I treated myself to one of these bad boys and a latte:

BOKAC cinnamon bun nordic bakery

Image from The Motley Spicer blog (click picture for link). Warm, cinnamony deliciousness.

The buns are a decent size and very dense so nice and filling and I believe they are £2.80. I think my expectations may have been a little too high as I thought they were very nice but not mind blowing. Definitely try one if you’re there but I wouldn’t say they are worth a pilgrimage.

The latte was big which I liked but a fraction too milky for me to proclaim it an excellent one. It was hot though which is something I often find to be lacking and I intensely dislike tepid coffee. It was £2.60 which is pretty standard for Central London.

The cafe itself is lovely: beautifully designed, high ceilings, light and has a mix of customers who are popping in for a coffee/meeting during work and those enjoying the fact that they can just sit with a coffee in the middle of the day on a Thursday.

I disastrously forgot to ask whether they had wi-fi before I had ordered and paid and they don’t! They also don’t have plug sockets so I get the distinct impression they are not looking for cheap layabouts to come and use their cafe as an office..

However, as I had already ordered, I made the most of the situation by sorting out some to-do lists and eavesdropping on a conversation between a very strange Californian man telling his friend (they hugged when they said hello so I assume they were friends) that he had found Jesus – not in a religious way but in an actual Jesus-is-alive-and-lives-in-Miami-way.

I stayed until my laptop ran out of battery (not long since I hadn’t fully charged it before I left) and went on my merry way.

Due to the lack of wi-fi and plug sockets, I wouldn’t go back to work there but I would definitely meet a friend or go if I had a free afternoon and a good book one weekend.

  • Coffee: 7/10
  • Ambience: 7/10
  • Price: 7/10
  • Good place to work: 3/10
  • Overall: 6/10

New series: Office Today

Since I work on my own, I don’t have any real need to rent an office full-time so I either work from home or at the IoD.

However, I try and vary my working environment as much as possible as I strongly believe that new surroundings help you think creatively, solve niggling problems and you never know who you might meet.

An extra plus is that I love lattes and coffee shops these days are often set up for people like me who are chained to their laptops and are suckers for wooden benches, fast wi-fi and being in the company of other people chained to their laptops.

I keep a list of all the coffee shops I want to try around London and thought I would take the opportunity to write a blog post about each one.

So if you’re looking for a new place to work, love coffee or just want a way to kill a few minutes every so often, this series #OfficeToday is for you!

This particular latte was from The Wildflower Cafe in Westbourne Grove - excellent latte and lovely cafe but I think they prefer the eating crowd rather than the working crowd.

This particular latte was from The Wildflower Cafe in Westbourne Grove – excellent latte and lovely cafe but I think they prefer the eating crowd rather than the working crowd.