Tag Archives: coffee

Loudons Café and Bakery, Fountainbridge

20 Nov


Score: 4/5

Prices: Coffee and cake for under £5

Best for: Working/meeting up with friends

This lovely café shares a great resemblance to one of my favorite cafés in Edinburgh, Peter’s Yard.  I belive the owner of this café was once a chef at Peter’s Yard and that establishment has clearly had a great influence of the style of this café as most of the fittings are identical and they have chosen a similar space with provides the café with a lovely sence of light and space.  The coffee was completely delicious but I was a little disappointed with my food (I went there for brunch) which fell slightly short of my very high expectations.  Their cakes look delicious though, and I look forward to going back so I can test them out.  definitely one to try if you haven’t been there already, and do follow the link to their website because it’s beautiful!


Les Éditurs, Saint Germain des Prés, Paris

26 Jun


Score: 4/5

Best For: Posing, reading a book and feeling French

This is a great café and feels ever so French.  The decor is fabulous and books line the café half of this establishment giving it a chic, slightly bacheloresque feel.  It’s a little pricey (espresso, 2.00 EUR, café au lait 4.20 EUR), but this is Paris and everything is pretty expensive.  The coffee was very good, and came with a chocolate which is always nice.  Service was efficient. It even comes complete with disgruntled French man (who was waiting for his exceptionally late date).  You couldn’t ask for much more.

The Elephant House, George IV Bridge

18 Jun

Score: 3/5

Best for: Taking visitors

Price: average

The Elephant Coffee House’s prides itself on being the birth place of Harry Potter, and they certainly milk it for all it’s worth.  As such it is constantly full of tourists, not that that’s a bad thing, it is what it is, but you’re not going to get a particularly local vibe here.  This also makes it very busy at weekends so don’t be surprised if you end up sharing a table.

Inside it has a very colonial feel, what with all the elephants etc. and with the high ceilings, large windows and beautiful plants everywhere it has a light, airy and relaxed atmosphere.  You can expect to find patrons reading newspapers or novels, or working away at computers with the large tables and copious light.  During term time it is full of students working midweek, making the most of the large tables.  This café really comes into its own in winter when it’s lovely and cosy and warm and you can look out of those big windows towards the castle taking on the grizzly weather.  And there is a superb view of the castle if you get the right seat.

The food here is not great, and the coffee very average.  I guess being constantly full puts the pressure off high standards in that department, and for that reason I’m not so keen on The Elephant Coffee House.  Having said that it is a nice place to take a visitor to the city, especially if you can get a seat with a view.

The Elephant House on Urbanspoon

Frederick’s Coffee House, Frederick Street

14 Jun

Frederick’s Coffee House

Score: 4/5

Best For: A relaxed break from shopping

Price: Cappuccino, £1.85; Tea, £1.85; Cake, £1.60 – £3.45

Much like spoon, it’s easy to miss this place due to its first floor location (above Blacks), but this place is worth a visit as it is bright and airy and an oasis of calm from the busy shops on Prince’s Street and George Street.  I spied it whilst waiting for a bus, and decided a visit was more interesting than a long wait in the cold.

They have clearly worked hard on the interior and it does look great.  There is a mix of seating with tables and chairs as well as sofas and comfy chairs.  I’d say my tea and cake were only really average, but they do have great coffee (thank you Anna for the tip!).

This café is certainly nicer than any of the near by chains, so if you are in the vicinity you should pop in.

Leo’s Beanery, Howe Street

11 Jun


Score: 4/5 (so nearly a 5/5…)

Best For: Coffee with a Friend before/after hitting the Stockbridge charity shops.

Prices: Cappuccino, £1.90; Pot of tea, £2.40

Despite being below the level of the road this café manages to remain bright and airy.  It’s got a lovely calming interior and plenty of newspapers and magazines for your perusal which immediately makes you feel you can sit down and relax.  The staff are pleasant and I really like that they give you water with your coffee without even having to ask for it.  The service is table and the coffee was very good, though not the best I’ve had in Edinburgh.  I’m finding my scoring system a little restrictive.  Whilst the atmosphere and interior are fantastic, and the food and coffee are very nice I’m not sure it quite has the wow factor of a 5/5 establishment.  I’ll have to give it another go to make sure…

Captain Taylor’s Coffee House, South Bridge

7 Jun

Street Work

Score: 4/5

Best For: A quick stop off/meeting point/take away

Price: Cappuccino £2.00; Tea £1.40; Cake & Coffee £2.70

This is a cute little café and they certainly do produce delicious coffee (supplied by Artisan Roast), and good sandwiches and cakes.  There is an amazing cow in the back of this café and it is quirky and cool on the inside, but could do with a little more space. Pretty much all the seating in this café can be seen from the photo above as it’s all on a bench along the window.  From the outside you would imagine it to be much bigger, and indeed they are planning to expand the seating to downstairs though I believe that has been in the pipeline since October, so it’s probably not going to happen any time soon.  The seating is fine for a little bit, but it doesn’t make it somewhere you’d want to hang around for hours.

 This is a café with great potential but I guess the best thing about this café is  association with the charity Streetwork.  They work with people who, for whatever reason, have ended up living on the streets.  Their vision for this café is to establish a space that will provide training and employment for the homeless along with funding for their core services.  Therefore, every cup you buy will be helping them out a little.  For more information follow the link above.

Go check them out.  The coffee is great.

Kember & Jones, Byres Road, Glasgow

5 Jun


Score: 5/5

Best for: Food.  Mmmm their cakes and pastries are so good.

Price: Cappuccino, £2.15; Tea, £1.85; Cake, £3.00

Kember & Jones represent everything I like best in a café: great coffee, wonderful loose tea, delicious pastries, everything beautifully presented, lovely and bright and to top it all off efficient table service.  Honestly, what more could you ask for?  They also have a wall covered with books and tasty treats for you to buy and take home.  The atmosphere here is calm and relaxed, perfect for a Sunday chilling out.

There is a central  shared table, and a mezzanine floor with extra seating.  I can’t fault this place.

Kember & Jones: if you’re reading this, please expand and open up a new branch in Edinburgh.

Kember and Jones on Urbanspoon

Kilimanjaro Coffee, Nicolson St.

12 May

Score: 4/5

Best for: Reading a paper in afternoon sunshine/catching up with friends

Price: Cappuccino, £1.95

I don’t know why it took me so long to visit Kilimanjaro Coffee.  I’d heard great things about it, but I think something about the red and yellow of the shop front made me think it was going to be very oppressive inside.  How wrong I was.  It is light and airy and has a perfect café atmosphere: relaxed and inviting.  You feel like to could happily spend hours chilling out in this space.  It’s a calming sanctuary from the bustle of Nicholson Street.  There is a lovely and varied crowd of patrons from locals to students.  Add to that a delicious tasting coffee brought straight to your table and I’m a happy bunny.  Nothing to complain about here.

Spoon Café, Nicolson Street

24 Feb


Score: 4/5

Great for: Working in groups/A wonderful cup of tea, in pleasant surroundings

Price: Tea £1.90, Cappuccino £2.20, Cake £4.50+

I have often walked past Spoon Café many times but never really thought to go in.  I think I was always put off by the fact that, because it’s on the first floor, you can’t look in through the window to see what it’s like before taking the plunge and entering.  I’d feel rood walking in, and turning straight around if I thought it wasn’t my scene.  However, on the recommendation of a friend I decided to pay this café a visit.  I was not disappointed.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I certainly didn’t think I’d find such a chilled out relaxing environment.  There are a mix of tables (small and large) and sofas and the large, bright room is separated by book shelves, folding screens, pot plants and standing lamps giving the room a very lived-in, chilled out atmosphere.  The vintage wallpaper, furniture and tea cups all add to its charm.

I had a homemade ginger and lemon tea which was delicious.  They don’t really have cakes and if you want something sweet you’ll have to order it from the eating menu, which makes it a little more expensive than your average tea-shop cake, but I’m sure they are very good.

The only thing that lets this place down slightly (and the reason it doesn’t get a 5/5) is the grumpy and slow service.  A smile is all I ask for.

If you, like I, have walked past this place time and again always choosing Black Medicine over Spoon, I say think again.  Try it.  You’ll love it.

And here I something else I found:

Spoon Cafe Bistro on Urbanspoon

Wellington Coffee, George Street

13 Dec

Score: 4/5

Best for: A good cup of coffee

Price: Cappuccino £1.85; Tea £1.85; Cake £1.95

Wellington Coffee is a lovely little place on George Street.  It is only tiny but they’ve created a cozy atmosphere with newspapers, great art work, nice seating areas and some fab background music.  The cakes here are nice but for some reason they come displayed in plastic bags which not exactly appealing.  Their coffee, however, is absolutely wonderful and for that reason they are definitely worth a visit.  It can get very busy, especially during the colder months when there is no outdoor seating which can be off-putting, but if you manage to find a seat it’s well worth it.  And talking of outdoor seating, in summer they put tables and chairs up onto the pavement looking down Hanover Street with beautiful views right down to the Firth of Fourth. Wonderful.

Wellington Coffee on Urbanspoon

Artisan Roast, Broughton Street

9 Dec


Score: 5/5

Best Coffee in Town

Price: Cappuccino £1.50; Hot Chocolate £2.00; Tea £2.00

Don’t let this coffee shop’s facade fool you.  It may not at first strike you as the high quality establishment it is, but go in, order a coffee and prepare to be amazed.  Here they roast their own coffee, and all the baristas are passionate about their art and could talk for hours about the coffee they make.  They supply many of the cafés and restaurants in and around Edinburgh and have a well deserved reputation for serving the best coffee in the city.  It is also the cheapest.  There seems to be a trend for good coffee costing less which is a little bizarre but there you have it.  If you really loved it, you can even buy your own coffee here and take back home the Artisan Roast experience.  I’m thinking this might make a good christmas present.

If you are not a fan of coffee, don’t worry – either you will be converted or you can have an amazing hot chocolate or delicious cup of tea.  I know someone who actually refers to Artisan Roast as the Hot Chocolate Shop he likes the hot chocolate there so much.  The white chocolate with lavender in particular is to be recommended.

The interior is cozy and the walls are covered in old hessian sacks making it feel very homey.  All this is topped off with excellent background music.

Had this coffee shop been open when JK Rowling was still writing in cafés, I’m sure she would have regularly frequented Artisan Roast.

Artisan Roast on Urbanspoon

Edit: Artisan Roast has been redecorated and looks lovely, though not exactly as you see it in the photos.  Hessian sacks allong that wall have been replaced by a sleek coat of white paint and it looks fresh and lovely, but still maintains it’s cosy feel.

The Edinburgh Larder, Blackfriars Street

27 Nov


Score: 5/5

Perfect for:  Catching up with a friend whilst eating and drinking well.

Prices: Cappuccino £2.05; Tea £2.00; Cake £2.50; Afternoon Tea £4.50;

I’m going to share with you one of my favorite places which seems to be a bit of an Edinburgh secret.  This little establishment just off the Royal Mile only seats 20, but for reasons I can’t fathom isn’t often full.  It is a delightful little place which is comfortable, relaxed and bright, these photographs really don’t do it justice.  Their tea is from Eteaket, their coffee from Artisan Roast and their deli sells the most delicious things either made in Edinburgh itself, or elsewhere in Scotland.  It’s hard to go wrong when you stock top ingredients, and not only are their teas and coffees good, but the cakes are also brilliant.  This time I went and had afternoon tea.  The scone was HUGE, but fresh and delicious and served with clotted cream and jam.  Perfect.  Service is also top notch.  There is really nothing to complain about here.

If you find yourself in the centre of town, do stop in here and give this place a try.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

The Edinburgh Larder on Urbanspoon

Peter’s Yard, Quartermile

16 Nov


Score: 5/5

Perfect for: Any occasion – working, chilling, gossiping, impressing, first dating.

Price: Coffee £2.40; Pastry £2.10

I cannot shower this little establishment with enough praise.  Their produce is top-notch, and the atmosphere they create is pitch perfect.  The modern interior is a stark contrast to most of the café’s you will find in old tenement buildings in Edinburgh, and the three walls of windows flood the space with light (a precious commodity in Edinburgh during the winter months).  The coffee is delicious and silky smooth and their pastries are scrummy.  If you are able to walk past this place without succumbing to the lure of a cinnamon bun, you are a stronger person than I, especially now that they’ve opened up smaller shop just behind their present café precisely for the purpose of take aways.

You’ll find a lot of people sitting working in the light and airy room, and the communal table in the center is a great place to spread out when it’s quiet.  You will equally find plenty of people just sitting here enjoying the café and their company.  There are smaller tables for more intimate catch-ups and if you’re lucky enough to get them, some comfy chairs to chill out in as a group.  It manages to bridge many niches and pulls in a very varied and interesting crowd.

Come in, make your order, sit down with your pastry of choice and wait for your amazing coffee, or delicious tea to arrive.  Marvel at its beauty, then savor the taste.  Quite why anyone would choose to go to the next door Starbucks over Peter’s Yard is quite beyond me.

It can get quite busy around lunchtime.  That’s pretty much the only downside as far as I can tell.

Peter's Yard on Urbanspoon

Black Medicine Coffee Co. Nicolson Street

5 Nov

Score: 2/5

Goodt for: Coffee with friends

Price: Cappuccino £1.70, Tea £1.40, Cake £1.40

The Black Medicine Coffee Co. on Nicolson Street is a mecca for students.  You will often find the place filled to bursting with people working away at computers or surrounded by sheets of paper and books.  This confuses me somewhat, because although the tables are indeed nice and large, the coffee is good and there is a warm and friendly atmosphere – it’s incredibly dark inside.  Most of the photos I took were too blurry to be included in this post and it was only 2pm. I really wouldn’t recommend working here unless you want to damage to your eyesight.  They offer newspapers and there is a book exchange at this café, which are all nice features, but again, light for reading is an issue (unless you manage to plant yourself next to a window).  A few table lamps wouldn’t do this place any harm.

Upsides: good coffee, great atmosphere, good reading material, nice decor, their take-away coffee cups are really really, seriously good-looking.  Downsides: they have absolutely maximised on seating in here which slightly pushes the cozy feeling to downright cramped when it’s full, the cakes are not great, it’s dark, staff can be rude, service isn’t great as your coffee doesn’t come to your table.  One of my pet hates is waiting to pick up your coffee and cake before going to sit down, because you might already be overloaded carrying your own things.  With coffee and cake in hand you might not even find a suitable table, or the one you were eyeing up might be taken, then what do you do?  Overall I think the downsides rather outweigh this cafés good points.

Come here to chill out and drink nice coffee with some friends and enjoy the atmosphere.  Don’t come here to work.  I know this is what all the cool kids do, but not everything the cool kids do is actually a good idea.

Black Medicine on Urbanspoon

> press coffee, 30 Buccleuch Street

2 Nov

Score: 4/5

Great for: A fantastic coffee

Prices: Cappuccino £1.85, Tea £1.55

I can’t understand why this place is not constantly full.  It’s a stones throw away from the main student area and serves up fantastic coffee in a beautiful, airy space.  The large windows that flood this little café with lots of light (of high importance during the winter months in Edinburgh…) and the decor, including some great art work, give this place a fantastic atmosphere.   After ordering at the counter, take a seat and wait to be served.  Order coffee here, because it is delicious.  I’m no great connoisseur, but the milk on my cappuccino was silky smooth and the coffee tasted fantastic, nutty and delicious.  The cakes are not inspiring, but with coffee this good, that’s not a massive downer.  Come here with some friends for an outing that won’t break the bank, come here for a break between lectures, even come here to get some work done – it’s usually very quite and they’ve got good enough table space for it.  In short just give it a try, you’ll love it.