Formative in London

Formative, the home of the 2023 UK Barista Champion Ian Kissick is a slick café serving its own and guest coffees in an elevated space

Last year when I attended the London Coffee Festival, I had wanted to visit one particular café that had been top of my wishlist for some time. But as fortune would have it, on the day of my planned visit, they were closed. The café in question is Formative, home to the 2023 UK Barista Champion Ian Kissick and a great team of talented baristas. Nowadays, they are open every day of the week.

Since I couldn’t visit them last year, I decided to put them in one of our Coffeevine boxes instead, given that they had just started roasting their own coffees at the Plot roastery and head roaster Nicholas Pastellopoulos was super keen to get word out about Formative’s recent venture into roasting. For the Coffeevine box in question, they offered us a stunning coffee from Diego Bermudez that got rave reviews from our subscribers.

A year later, i.e. this past April, I finally had a chance to swing by the iconic café near Westminster that stands out for its modern architecture, exceptional coffees and friendly service. Since my visit again coincided with the London Coffee Festival, Ian and co were busy guest brewing coffees at various festival booths and I didn’t get a chance to say hello in person. Instead, I got to experience Formative during this relaxed Friday afternoon just before closing time.

The interior is bright and full of natural light thanks to its huge floor to ceiling windows and corner location. The ceiling and walls have cool custom made light fixtures and decorations while the floor and bar are made of the same material, visually melting into one. It’s a cool effect that makes the space look elevated and really fancy.

While Formative is roasting its own coffee these days, there are still different guest roasters on the menu such as Manhattan from Rotterdam. These complement a selection of exceptinal coffees that include competition level lots and more accessible options.

Given how so many specialty coffee roasters and cafés are crowded around East London, Formative filled a gap in this part of London, which during the week also sees a lot of bankers and diplomats roam its streets in search of great coffee. Ian certainly lifted the café’s reputation by winning the UK Barista Championships and I am convinced that this is only the beginning of great things to come for Formative. A great place to visit when in this area.

Opening Times:
Mon - Fri: 7:30 - 17, Sat - Sun: 9 - 16
Price Check:
Espresso: £3.20 / Flat White: £3.60 / Filter: £3.40
Victoria Arduino Black Eagle
Coffees On Offer:

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