A Cheeky Coffee @ Houspresso, Gospel Oak

We will admit we’re obsessed with finding the perfect Americano. As regular readers know, in our glorious locale we (and …

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STOP PRESS! We returned on July 4 and were pleased to say an expresso was very fine indeed. Smooth, with a good crema, no astringency and plenty of kick as befits its arabica/robusta blend (60/40 apparently). Perfect with a glass of tap water and flick through some of the excellent local history books and magazines. The blend Miscela D’oro is also used in Hampstead’s Coffee Cup.

We will admit we’re obsessed with finding the perfect Americano. As regular readers know, in our glorious locale we (and several thousand of you) believe this is served at Arancini Brothers, with Bean About Town roaring in a very close second (well, they do share the same beans). However, we love trying a new place, and so this irregular column will be dedicated to unearthing the spots we’ve somehow missed. Or yet to discover. A corner place here, an unexpected delight there. So join in and give us your recommendations.

Which brings us to Houspresso, on our radar for a while. But something about the building’s soviet-style austerity put us off, despite it being just a short hop from the homestead. Silly us: inside, if not an oasis, is a pleasant mise-en-scene indeed: a wooden sharing table, piles of architecture magazines (the owner’s other occupation), framed photographs of Queen’s Crescent, a range of branded Houspresso postcards.

We didn’t try the food, although the pastries are from fashionable bakers Flour Power. There’s a good list of coffee, a dark Sicilian roasted Arabica and Robusta blend from expert roasters Miscela D’oro. And there’s a shiny vintage Gaggia espresso machine winking at you behind the counter.

So what of the dark stuff? Well, we’ve tried it three times now, and we think it’s workable without being outstanding. On our last visit, we were ultra-particular about the water-to-double-shot ratio (an Americano has to be strong, and not too hot) and whilst it was a Good Coffee, we were hoping for an Arancini moment – which, we will confess, has yet to happen. But you may beg to differ, so pray tell below. Oh, and you can’t help but love a place with a witticism-spouting blackboard outside, too.

Houspresso, 1a Mansfield Road (opposite Gospel Oak station)

Words & Pics: Stephen Emms

PS. We swung by Arancini earlier today for an Americano and a chat and the boys have Some Very Exciting News. Watch this space.


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  • bridget

    Am similarly obsessed with finding the best Americano in NW5. Have you tried Salvino’s ( deli on Brecknock Road)? Am big fan. You have to take it away although on nice days they have a table outside, and it’s a v straightforward, no-frills cup of Illy, but they will do it to your very own specification (I like mine 3/4 full to make it slightly stronger) and the brothers that run it are Italian charm personified (although it has to be said that sometimes they can be Italian grumpiness personified, but not too often)

  • Gavin Juniper

    Thank you for coming in and leaving us some of your postcards too. Great to be on the Kentish Towner. 🙂

  • Judgie

    Please let the news from Arancini be they are going to open on the weekends!! Mon-Fri 8am-4pm doesn’t cut it for us workers.