Long before nitro brew and flat whites ruled the world, coffee shops (or coffeehouses, to be historically accurate) were more about the social interaction than the drink you were sipping. And no city did it better than London. The menus have gotten a little more complicated, but here are the 13 cafés in London you can't miss when you visit.

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Most Delicious Pastries: Nordic Bakery

With baked goods as beautiful as the Nordic-inspired interior, this shop combines the aura of Scandinavia with delicious, homemade sweets. It's hidden in an unusually quiet corner of Soho, but you'll know you're on the right track when you catch a whiff of homemade cinnamon buns wafting down the street.

14 Golden Square, Soho; nordicbakery.com

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Best for Breakfast: Over Under Coffee

Drawing inspiration from New Zealand, Dublin and New York, Over Under Coffee in Earl’s Court celebrates the diversity of café culture. With a small, cozy interior, the baristas at this West London hotspot will make you feel like family the second you step in the door (and luckily, this fam makes the best avocado toast).

181A Earls Ct. Rd., Kensington; overundercoffee.com

Best for a Sunny Day: White Mulberries

Wait, are we steps from the Tower of London, or did we somehow end up in a seaside town two hours away? Situated in St. Katharine Docks, White Mulberries is the perfect afternoon hideaway that can make even the dreariest days feel like a vacation.

12 Ivory St., St. Katharine's and Wapping; whitemulberries.com

Most Charming: Ginger and White

Nestled away in Hampstead Heath, arguably the most inviting borough of London, this cute-as-a-button shop exemplifies British charm. The cheerful staff is committed to making consistently good coffee. Their motto? "We don't do grande." Grab a seat on the big leather couch when you're looking for an escape from the city.

4a-5a Perrin's Ct., Hampstead; gingerandwhite.com

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Most Instagrammed: Monmouth Coffee Company

Opened in the late '70s, Monmouth Coffee Company is a java lover’s paradise. With a value on tradition and quality above all else, there’s no surprise that the line tends to flood out the door and into the Seven Dials streets in the afternoon. With irresistible almond croissants and the perfect flat white (trust us on this one), Monmouth rightfully lives up to its hype.

27 Monmouth St., Covent Garden; monmouthcoffee.co.uk

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Best to Work In: Timberyard

We guarantee it: Even if you swear you can never get anything done in a coffee shop, you can stay motivated for hours at Timberyard in Soho. If the other customers clicking away on their laptops don't inspire you, you can always book a room for privacy. And it doesn’t hurt that Timberyard’s display of pastries is unashamedly drool-worthy, so you can treat yourself to one when you've finished that email.

4 Noel St., Soho; tyuk.com

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Most Unique: Lion Coffee and Records, Hackney

It truly doesn't get more East London than a hybrid coffee-shop-and-record store. With a passion of music and coffee at the forefront, the owners of Lion Coffee and Records even rent out their space as a venue for local musicians. The odds of spotting Wills and Kate here are probably slim, but when we're feeling a little punk rock, we always make a visit.

118 Lower Clapton Rd., Clapton; lioncoffeerecords.com

Most Historic: Algerian Coffee Store

When you’re a century-old coffee shop in the city that practically invented coffee culture, you have a lot to live up to. Lucky for Algerian Coffee Store, it's not difficult to keep up the legacy. The best part of this 1887 Soho landmark isn’t the original wooden features or even the choice of over 80 different blends, it’s the price tag. At just over a pound for a cappuccino, we’re sure you won’t find better value for the cost in London.

52 Old Compton St., Soho; algcoffee.co.uk 

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Most Charitable: Kahaila Cafe

As you walk down Shoreditch’s historic Brick Lane, Kahaila Cafe appears to be a regular coffee shop, but it’s so much more than cappuccinos and red velvet cake. As a non-profit organization, all revenue goes into charitable projects of the café, including Ella’s Home, a safe-house for women recovering from modern day slavery, and Luminary Bakery, a social enterprise for women to build a future for themselves and their families.

135 Brick Ln., Shoreditch; kahaila.com

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Most Artsy: Holborn Grind

Sometimes you need something with a little more kick than espresso beans can offer (hey, no judgement). Holborn Grind is a cocktail bar and coffee shop in one, with the most dreamy neon and brass interior. If you want to spend an hour inside an Instagram filter, this trendy spot is the place for you.

199 High Holborn, Holborn; grind.co.uk/holborngrind

Most Beautiful Coffee Art: Farm Girl

If you mainly visit coffee shops to take a flat-lay picture for the ’Gram, Farm Girl has you covered. In the heart of Notting Hill (the neighborhood alone gives off some serious Insta-worthy vibes), you’ll find a stylish café within a charming courtyard. Don’t let the blogger frenzy fool you—Farm Girl prides itself on using clean ingredients in each gorgeous menu offering. Total win all around.

9A Portobello Rd., Notting Hill; thefarmgirl.co.uk

Best for a Sightseeing Slump: The Borough Barista

Between Buckingham Palace and Big Ben photo ops, a day in central London will undoubtedly leave you in dire need of a caffeine fix. Located near Hyde Park’s Marble Arch, the Borough Barista will help you avoid any midday meltdowns. Using exclusively locally ground coffee beans, you’ll be sure to be have enough pep to get to your next sightseeing spot.

60 Seymour St., Marylebone; theboroughbarista.com

Best for Coffee Snobs: Nude Coffee Roasters

These guys are about as real as it gets when it comes to coffee. Nude utilizes a Loring Smart Roast machine, the most technically advanced and eco-friendly roaster on the market, to guarantee the most flavorful cup of joe every time. If that’s not enough to sell you, Nude also hosts workshops at its Spitalfields outpost to teach customers the secrets of being your own personal barista.

2 Market St., Spital Square; nudeespresso.com

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