One thing most visitors who need their daily (/hourly) caffeine fix notice about Edinburgh is our large number and great diversity of coffee shops. Sure we have the regular big-brand chains and tax-avoiding conglomerates, but we have a thriving coffeehouse culture that spreads across the city – you’re never far from great places to get a brew.
But with all this choice it can be hard to know where exactly is worth going, and what each place is like. That’s why Edinburgh Editor is once again sacraficing itself for your benefit – my friends and I have been trying coffee shops left, right and centre to find out who it is worth visiting and what they have on offer. What was originally going to be one post is now going to be a few, so keep your eyes peeled for the other installments which will be coming soon. In the mean time here are the first three to try out.
6-8 College Street, EH8
I love Brewlab, but I will be the first to admit that it’s a little ridiculous. It’s hipster to the point of unintentional self parody; the walls are exposed brickwork, the tables often wobble slightly on the stone floor, and the chairs and stools presumably once graced a classroom. Its clientel is also equally festooned with breads and bobble hats, but it’s all totally worth it as the coffee is delicious.
Their beans come from all over and the globe and are ground fresh behind the counter. Brewlab takes pride in its art, and it shows in the jug/cup/vessel that appears at your table. Art takes time though, and you can easily be sitting for 10-15 minutes for your coffee; it’s worth the wait though. Their breakfast and lunch menus are also equally good – I am a big fan of their avocado on sourdough toast. The brownies are to die for – just be prepared for a sugar crash afterwards.
Great for lazy mornings, or somewhere to work/study when you’re not in a hurry, Brewlab is one of Edinburgh’s finest coffeeshops.
3C York Place, EH1
A more recent discovery, Fortitude is tucked away up a few steps in a little shop that manages to pack in coffee from across the planet mixed in with a fantastic eye for design. The outside is understated, but go through the doors and everything has been thought of, with every inch of space made use of. I also love the design element, right down to the stylising and font used on the coffee menu, hanging from clipboards on the wall.
Their coffees use delicious beans from around the world, with the signs giving a description and tasting notes of each one. The food too offers a sucinct, but delicious, ever-changing selection of soups and salads from Union of Genius, with cakes and treats on offer just beside. I’ve also had their hot chocolate as a winter treat – opt for the ‘Dark’ and you won’t be disappointed.
27 Simpson Loan (Quartermile) EH3
We’re in love with all things Scandinavian just now, and so to are we enjoying the ‘coffee and a cardamin bun’ vibe of Peter’s Yard. Its clean lines, pine furniture and pastel-coloured chairs fit really naturally in the glass and girders of Quartermile.
The coffee is delicious and I always want to taste all the delicious bread and baked goodness that’s on offer.
If the main shop is really busy go round the back to the next block and you’ll find a miniature (much less known) version hidden away.
It doesn’t matter where you are in Edinburgh you’re never very far away from great coffee and delicious snacks that don’t involve big chains and bucket sized commercial coffee. Most of our shops are independents or part of much smaller companies, I think they deliver much more flavour for your money and are great to while away a Sunday morning or weekday afternoon in.
Do you have a favourite coffee haunt? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter and perhaps it will feature in an upcoming guide.