UPDATE: Now edited to reflect closures. Although T-Break (pictured) is now closed we’ll leave the image there… as a warning!

Compare these two questions: “Would you like a cup of tea and a biscuit?” and “Fancy coming in for coffee?” One question promises a cup of tea, a couple of dry Rich Teas and maybe, if you’re really lucky, a nice sit down. The other question seems to promise a little more. Compared to coffee, tea suffers from an image problem. Perhaps it’s that coffee is more expensive, was popularised in Britain by exciting and dangerous types in new-fangled coffee houses and, if we’re honest, is more of an acquired taste than tea. From those early coffee shops, through the Italian espresso bars of the 1950s to today’s mega chains with their wifi, loyalty cards and overpriced “biscotti”, the roasted bean still wins the image battle over the dried leaf.

But one question has remained unanswered until now…

Which is the best café in Twickenham? And why? OK, so that’s two questions but you get the idea. And there’s no shortage of choice. Café Nero or Starbucks? Café Zizou or York Street Cafe? The Sunshine Café (next to the top secret garden), Luluz or the unconvincingly named Café Coffee Day? We could go on. Mambocino or La Cigale? Maybe the new Harris & Hoole (part owned by Tesco) or Bellissimo (err, the estate agent café). Or heading down river there’s always Orleans Gardens Café and the Coach House Café (beloved of Marble Hillers and the mini-rugby brigade). Or is it perhaps yummy mummy central, the Karmarama Cafe? Example overload? Probably.

The view from here is:
Of the independents? Luluz on London Road or Zizou on King Street. Corto on Church Street is good but could do with being a bit stronger, in our humblest of opinions.
Of the big boys? Café Nero (Their coffee is better than Starbucks although both places can involve manoeuvring across an obstacle course of buggies to find a table)
Coffee to go? Orleans Gardens Café (Joe’s Café as was) for consumption whilst enjoying the rive gauche.

So what’s hot and what’s not in Twickenham’s café society, even if it really does just involve a nice cup of tea and a biscuit? The people need to know. Add your comments below.

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