Time Out London just announced their votes for the best London area coffee bars for 2007: Time Out Eating & Drinking Awards winners – Features – Eating-and-drinking-awards-2007 – Time Out London. They named Fernandez & Welles as London’s finest this year — followed by Bullet, Flat White (pretty much Southern Hemisphere for café com leite), the Nordic Bakery, and Sacred Café.

I’ve honestly heard of none of them. Which isn’t necessarily a bad sign; it’s always better to learn something new than to be referred to the nearest Caffè Nero chain. And while Time Out hardly rates with connoisseurs, they are known for digging beyond the surface.

So their recommendations are probably worth checking out — with a few caveats. The article frequently mentions a coffee bar’s use of Fairtrade coffee, and yet that certification has no bearing on coffee quality. London-area roaster and small café chain Monmouth Coffee Company also receives multiple citations of note — and yet their none of their coffee bars made the Time Out list. And, as happens all too often with supposed coffee reviews, there are enough mentions of tarts, snacks, pastries, and sandwiches to make anyone question how much attention they paid on the actual coffee at these places.