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Paddington Station

Heathrow Express

So where were we? Ah yes, just landing at London Heathrow! We took the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station, which remains part of my favorite ritual of returning back to London. There is just a certain peace in that travel – something about the homes whizzing past, the calming British accents on the overhead speaker, the quick news roundup — the 15 minute trip is one of my faves!

And then it’s Paddington Station, which still feels familiar from when I used to live here – the soup cart, Delice de France and Burger King is still there, you still have to pay to use the toilets, but there’s more construction going on! More retail and food stores in the works! It’s enough new and old to make me feel that I have returned!

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Coffee shop London Tube map

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a London Tube map of all of the best coffee shops nearby? Behold!

Coffee for London Tube Map

It was created by Chris Ward, who’s no stranger to good coffee!

Totnes Cats Cafe

Totnes Cats Cafe

Photo credit: Driftwood Vegans website

Cat cafes have taken Japan, Hong Kong, Moscow and Vienna by storm. But I’ve just discovered that the U.K. has its first cat cafe, a “feline therapy lounge” serving teas and coffees in Totnes, Devon. It’s not a BYOC (bring your own cat) facility. Instead, it’s a place where you are invited to spend quality time with resident cats and unwind with a spot of tea.

File this one under “Only in Totnes,” but the concept sounds pretty purrfect! Have you ever been to a cat cafe?

Espresso heaven

Nespresso Citiz

Ever since we got back from the U.K. this spring, I’ve been hankering for a good cappuccino, a flat white, an espresso. The kinds of coffee that was so plentiful and rich and wonderful over there.

I finally decided a new coffee maker was in the cards and after much research, I bought a Nespresso Citiz with Aeroccino Frother this week ($299, Crate and Barrel). The machine arrived yesterday and like a kid on Christmas morning, I woke up this morning and made a cappuccino! And wow! Best cup of coffee – dare I say – uh, ever?!

The espresso (I used Arpeggio) came out so beautifully I could’ve cried. The milk frother made perfect steamed milk with froth. There was zero clean up. Nespresso heaven!

Tea first?

When I wake up in the morning, my first requirement is a hot cup of coffee. I can’t think of anything prior to this cup. It takes everything in me to walk to the kitchen to get that cup of coffee (already brewed, thank you programmable timer!) and then the rest of the day is a breeze by comparison.

It’s been my experience that most Brits begin their day with a cup of tea. Even if they are coffee lovers, tea welcomes the day. And that first cuppa is often accompanied by a little biscuit. Nothing excessive. Maybe a rich tea biscuit or a digestive. It’s a match made in heaven.

Then often they’ll go with a coffee mid-morning for a little boost.

I like this kind of routine when we are in Britain. There is something altogether comforting about the tea + biscuit first thing in the morning. Even more so when the tea is brewed in Britain. I’m not sure if it’s the water or the milk or the tea itself (we always use tea bags brought over from Britain so that can’t be it…) but it’s magic in a cup. Add a crunchy biscuit to the picture and you’ve got one of my favorite morning routines.

What do you think? Tea or coffee first?