Tapped and Packed (TAP) is a name that dominates coffee north of Oxford Street. With two stores in a relatively untapped area of central London, this was a name that I heard immediately upon asking of good coffee near the Universities. The irony is, Tapped and Packed on Rathbone Place has no exterior indication of its name, and so is easy to slip past unless you know what you’re looking for. The elegant and minimalist shopfront is carried out through the whole shop, which is quintessentially narrow and long. During busy periods, it can be difficult to get a seat, but it is usually quite a plausible hope.
The food at Tapped and Packed is very good, and goes above what is expected of a coffee shop of this size. Substantial sandwiches and cakey objects are available for the hungry, and these are of a high quality. The sandwiches I have tried came in baguettes, with a good amount of filling and sauce, giving moisture and zest to the sandwich.
The coffee used is Has Bean, and filter coffee is celebrated here. Three filters are currently on offer (an Ethiopian, Kenyan and Costa Rican) and all of them are very finely brewed. The Costa Rican is a very rough flavour, and may have been slightly overbrewed as well. But when I had the Ethiopian, it was superb, and rounded, with well-balanced flavour. The current seasonal espresso is also very powerful, and was perfectly extracted in my flat white, thereby cutting through the milk. Coffee is well-respected (as can be heard in the Australasian accents that almost exclusively occupy the espresso machine).
I still have yet to try the other Tapped and Packed shops, and will leave off my final judgement of the group until I’ve been there. But this is a place that I can go back to, and with a loyalty card that rewards after 6 drinks, I can go back again and again and again.