Noticed anything different while strolling London’s streets lately? Yes, it’s partially sunnier (thank God) and there may or may not be an ever increasing number of Lime scooters splayed across the pavement — but that’s not what I’m getting at. What I am getting at is our new American pal. A New Yorker, to be precise. Minimalist and sleek, clad in white, cream and sage green, going by the name of Blank Street Coffee. And all of a sudden they’re everywhere all at once, causing us to pause our morning commutes, interrupt our lazy weekend meanders and ask: who’s this, then? And have they been here all along?
No, Blank Street arrived in summer last year, though soon the chain will be found in 17 spots across the capital, and every week it seems as though a new one pops up. North, south, east, west — it’s beginning to feel like a Pret-style invasion, with fewer Posh Cheese and Pickle Baguettes (sigh). So what is it selling? The clue is in the name: coffee. The usual espressos, oat at whites, cappuccinos and long blacks for all the psychopaths. That, alongside wackier beverages aimed at the clean-living Gen Zs who don’t seem to care for caffeine, unlike their cheugy predecessors. Iced strawberries and cream, pistachio lattes and violet lemonades — all with their vibrant, layered appearances are 2023’s frappuccino.
But, is its offering any good? The answer, I’m afraid, is varied. Soho? Bitter filter. Moorgate? Passable flat white. Redchurch Street? Mean Cappuccino. The pistachio latte? Make it stop. Our thoughts? If you’re in a rush, go for it, but don’t go skipping the All Press, Monmouth or Jolene queues for these brews any time soon.