Coffee may not be one of the first things you think about when you picture Edinburgh. The Scottish capital is famous for its castle, stunning architecture, rich nightlight and of course, whiskey. But as a bustling, cosmopolitan capital, the city has also added a number of high quality coffee houses to its repertoire. Here are a few of the best, in no particular order.
Brew Lab is something of a student hangout, namely because two ex-students established the coffee house back in 2012. Tom Hyde and David Law wanted to create a coffee house that was traditional but forward thinking and they did a good job. The concrete bar and leather sofas are very modern and minimalist while the coffee includes filter coffee made by hand with Kalita Wave pour overs. There are even tasting notes from connoisseurs pinned on the wall. The coffee house is located on South College Street.
Castello Coffee Co
This coffee house offers great coffee and an equally great view of the castle, located just off Princes Street on Castle Street. It is a small place with some outdoor seating and it is always busy but their range of top Allpress coffees along with homemade cakes, soups and sandwiches show why.
The owners of Cult Espresso started with a coffee kiosk in the South Queensferry railway station and the intimacy and high quality drinks have travelled with them to their new location on Buccleuch Street. The café opened in 2014 and remains family run, with plenty of high quality offerings available. For fans of no-frills coffee, this is definitely a hit with drinks made from the Bath-based Roundhill Roastery and made using a Kees Van der Western coffee machine.
Fortitude Coffee offer a great coffee house experience and also a great shop service where you can buy essentials to recreate their coffee at home. The coffee house only uses ethically sources coffee and is located on York Place, near The Stand Comedy Club so is always bustling. Watch out for their selection of cakes which are definitely worth sampling alongside your favourite coffee.
If you prefer to pair your coffee with something sweet then Lovecrumbs is the place to go – there are no soups or sandwiches on offer here. From chocolate and rosemary cake to peanut butter tarts and vegan brownies, this is a haven for sweet treats and also offers top quality coffee, artisan teas and hot chocolates. There are even organic juices if you want something cooler on a warm day. The coffee house is located on West Port and there is a sister café newly opened on Brunswick Street.
Union of Genius
This is actually termed as a soup café and is the first of its kind in the city but is also a great place to grab a cup of coffee. The soups are made without the use of thickeners, flours or other artificial means and use local ingredients where possible alongside artisan bread delivered daily from the Dough Re Mi bakery. The case is on Forrest Road, the north west corner of George Square.