Department of Coffee and Social Affairs
In case you haven't noticed, my goal here in London is to give you a good coffee and/or tea spot in every major part of the city. I am starting with the main touristy areas that you would most likely be in if you come for a visit. The Department of Coffee and Social Affairs is a chain, but I want to mention the one in Piccadilly Circus.
Piccadilly Circus, the "Times Square of London," is one of the most famous intersections on the planet connecting 5 major London streets while millions of people pass by every day. It is truly a must-see, especially at night when you can view the famous Piccadilly Lights (digital advertisements) lighting up every building 24/7.
If you visit during the day and require some caffeine, I strongly recommend Department of Coffee and Social Affairs just around the corner from the Piccadilly Circus Station. This is purely for coffee on-the-go, too small for relaxing in. However, if you are in this area you most likely are rushing off to something else and this is a major commuter stop as well. So this style fits perfectly for the location.
Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, or DCSA, in Piccadilly Circus is a small, 2-room cafe serving great coffee made by great people. No 2 stores in this chain look the same, but you will always be served great coffee by great people. This one is a credit to the brand, serving regulars working nearby every day (each remembered by the baristas as well) and tourists just stopping by. To accommodate this high level of traffic in a small space, they have set up a simple process for you to get in and out with as little fuss as possible. You enter on the right side and pick out your own pastries if you'd like one (using the provided tongs and bags). Then you head over to the center wall connecting the two sides of the cafe to pay and order your coffee. After paying, wait in front of the barista's station for your coffee and exit on this side. This streamlined process keeps the line moving and avoids backup.
The coffee beans are handpicked from farmers they trust, as they truly believe in creating a high-quality, consistent product at every store. This is very hard to do with a chain, and they have succeeded. Every flat white I have at every location, so far, is perfectly steamed milk, rich espresso, and topped off with beautiful foam art.
The unique and best part of DCSA is what they give back to their community. The "Social Affairs" part in their name refers to their humanitarian work in the UK and abroad. Members of the team provide hours of volunteer work and the company provides funding to various charities. Again, a testament to their mission of serving great coffee made by great people.