Speciality Coffee Places in Edinburgh Tested by a Coffee Snob

Am I cursed, ever since I have lived in Melbourne (Australia)? Probably yes. Over all these years I was surrounded by antipodean coffee snobs. Seven years were long enough, to turn me into one too. And now I can’t go back to drinking ordinary coffee. Read this to learn more about Espresso based drinks. I love walking, really love it, I walk a lot. And over and over again, it proves to be the best way to randomly find places and spaces. A woman’s got to do what a woman’s got to do right? While in Edinburgh recently, I tried to find good coffee places. Here are the independently owned coffee places I found, as I was walking the streets of Edinburgh.

1. Brew Lab

If you are seriously into coffee, this is the place for you. They treat their products as an artisanal treasure; and they work with specialty products. When it comes to beans, baristas talk about mouthfeel and acidity of coffee. You get it right? The interior is as you would expect from a “proper” third wave coffee place. Exposed brickwork, copper lamps, leather sofas, concrete pillars … yes, it is all done as it should be. We often say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but here you truly can. 

Brew Lab. How did I feel after my visit? Exhilarated.

Info: 6 – 8 South College Street, Newington. Hours: Mo to Friday: 8am to 6pm. Sat and Sunday: 9am to 6pm.

2. Kilimanjaro Coffee

This is a popular coffee place, it was super busy. It is somehow different to his sisters, brothers, cousins, aunties and aunts in the rest of the world …  this place looks rather out of fashion, relaxed, not trendy or anything. Wait, they have white subway tiles behind the counter … not too bad right? There is a really friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The café is near the university and the Old Town and if you are into espresso based drinks, it is well worth the little browse. 

Kilimanjaro Coffee. How did I feel after my visit? Cheerfully pleased.

Info: 104 Nicholson Street, Newington. Hours: Mo to Friday: 7.30am to 8.30pm. Sat and Sunday: 8am to 8pm.

3. Lucano’s Kitchen

This place is on George IV Bridge in Edinburgh; actually you wouldn’t know it is on a bridge really, only if you look closely. It offers everything one can wish for breakfast: Frittata, Vegetarian Breakfast Egg on Toast, Fruit Salad, Porrdige … . If you are after a warm atmosphere this is the place for you. Find a place at the counter by the large window and entertain yourself with watching people.

A couple walked by, and out of a sudden they looked so surprised, as if someone had whispered into their ears that they are going to live forever (or something similar life changing). The day before, it was raining cats and dogs. Really, the streets of Edinburgh looked like mountain streams. While I sat at that counter the sun came out, real sunshine, there was light, and the sky switched on its perfect dream-sky colour. The absolute surprised look on their faces worked amazingly well with the turn of events.

I had the porridge with honey and walnuts plus a Cappuccino, and that gave me lots of energy to explore the town. Service with a friendly smile, always great. 

Lucano's Kitchen. How did I feel after my visit? Satisfied. Coffee is not too bad.

Info: 34 – 39 George IV Bridge, Old Town. Hours: Monday to Saturday: 7am to 10pm. Sunday: 9am to 6pm.

4. Coffee Angel

I just had a quick Espresso here, and what can I say? It was delicious. I had a lovely little chat with two members of staff. We just spoke about this and that, and I love it when people take time to talk. Lovely people plus yummy Espresso. 

Coffee Angel. How did I feel after my visit? Through and through warm.

Info: 24 – 27 Brandonn Terrace and Nicholson Street 99, Edinburgh.

5. Burr & Co

This is a casual but somehow also elegant coffee-place. The café is on the east end of George Street, and the graceful choice of cakes and sandwiches fits the location perfectly. Decide between Lemon Drizzle Cake, Chocolate Cherry Cake, Whiskey and Honey Truffle and and and. I chose the traditional Scottish Ecclefechan Tart. Beans are ethically sourced and freshly roasted, I drank several flat whites. 

Burr & Co. How did I feel after my visit? Delighted.

Info: 20 George Street, Edinburgh. Hours: 7am to 7pm.

6. Balcony Café

This café is on level three in the National Museum of Scotland and worth the visit for the location alone. 

Balcony Café. How did I feel after my visit? Impressed. Need to go again to see that location.

Info: National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh. Hours: 10am to 5pm.

7. Contini. The Scottish Café and Restaurant

You find this café somewhat hidden away in the basement of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two). You get Lemon Cake, Carrot Cake, Shortbread and more plus a very decent Espresso. Friendly staff. What more can you want, after having explored thousands of fantastic pieces of art? 

The Scottish Café. How did I feel after my visit? Blissfully happy.

Info: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two). 73 Belford Road.

Do you like to drink Espresso based drinks? I have yet to try cold brews. Do you like to visit wonderful restaurants? Read: Where to Eat Vegetarian in Style in Edinburgh.

From Berlin with love