A taste of home in London

COLLEEN SIMPSON
Last updated 09:49 05/07/2013

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When the flat white first appeared on London menus, a resounding "woohoo" was reportedly heard in and around Shepherd's Bush.

As with pavlova and Crowded House, both Kiwis and Aussies claim ownership of the flat white but there is at least agreement that the often-ordered coffee is Australasian in origin.

In 2010 Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks said it would start selling flat whites in its London cafes and that's when baristas on both sides of the Tasman knew the world was about to share its appreciation for the noble combination of espresso and steamed milk.

But where to go for this taste of home in London?

Google "flat white London" and it shouldn't be a surprise that top of the list of search results is a cafe called Flat White in London, but somehow it is.

Long before Starbucks entered the picture, the hiss of a coffee machine could be heard in Flat White's Berwick Street cafe.

Flat White is a success story in a notoriously tough business to make a bean out of, especially in London where there's a coffee shop on every corner and even inside many workplaces.

Since opening in 2005 it has become a destination for both local, visiting and expatriate coffee aficionados who come on a caffeine pilgrimage of sorts.

Such was the demand that a sister cafe, Milkbar, was opened in 2008 just a few blocks away to cash in on what was once a caffeine craze that has become a coffee culture.

Across London and just a stone's throw from Old Street station, Ozone Coffee Roasters is busy cementing itself on the coffee scene - it was named Best Newcomer at this year's London Coffee Festival.

The coffee roasting business traces its roots to New Plymouth in 1998 but last year it opened its doors in London where it now serves the hungry with eggs Benedict and freshly baked lamingtons, washed down with some of the city's best coffee.

As in New Zealand, going for a flat white in London is not just about getting a caffeine hit and something to eat, it's an experience, and a relaxing one to boot.

Finding the time to hide away in a quiet corner is all the more precious in London where it's nigh on impossible to get five minutes alone.

Chief Executive and co-owner Karla Gichard says Ozone has gone for a subtle Kiwi flavour rather than a bold as brass one.

"Homesick Kiwis definitely feel that Ozone Coffee Roasters London is a slice of home," she says.

"Homesick ex-pats are welcome to set up with laptop and Skype home while they enjoy a coffee along with brunch or lunch, alongside a mix of business people, creative types and local residents."

Coffee shops with a New Zealand flavour are dotted all over London, here's where you can find a few more than those mentioned above.

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