Wednesday, 25 May 2016

The Coffee Apothecary

Udny Post Office
Udny, Ellon
AB41 7PQ
Open Monday to Saturday
Espresso, cafetiere, aeropress, chemex, v60
Coffee: Artisan Roast
Also: Meals, beans, mail, car tax, foreign currency
Coolness: Sort out your postage while you enjoy a pour-over

The Coffee Apothecary (4♥) is a stone-fronted cafe just outside Pitmedden, about half an hour's drive, North of Aberdeen.

Well-made specialty coffee is still rare in this part of the world, so The Coffee Apothecary is a very welcome sight for local and visiting coffee lovers. Owners Ali and Jonny are performing nothing less than a community service in that regard! And are also very friendly to boot.

Not stopping at espresso, it's also great to see 'slow brew' cafetiere and filter methods on the menu, using a range of Scottish roaster Artisan Roast's beans.

On the food front you can enjoy breakfast and lunch - and morning and afternoon teas of course. Breakfasts include granola, pancakes, breakfast rolls and big breakfasts. For lunch you'll choose from soups, chilli, salad and wraps among others. And then you'll need some cake, so there's a good choice available.

The cafe is large and thoughtfully decorated with an emphasis on reusing all sorts of materials creatively. There are plenty of recycled, timber tables and chairs inside as well as an outdoor seating area (which is great for cyclists to keep an eye on their bikes).

They're also an operational post office adding to both the quirkiness and usefulness. You can get your mail or road tax sorted out while you're there.

Ali and Jonny have transformed this post office into a stylish, classy and warm coffee shop that's a real joy to visit.


Tuesday, 17 May 2016


16 Haymarket Terrace
EH12 5JZ
Coffee: Williams & Johnson
Also: Healthy fast food & cakes
Coolness: Raw and natural cake that are often gluten-free and vegan

Grams (4♥) is a breakfast and lunch cafe very near Edinburgh's Haymarket station that does excellent coffee.

Grams serves Edinburgh's Williams and Johnson's single origin, seasonally changing coffee and do a fine espresso-based brew. Relative new-comers Williams and Johnson are based in the Biscuit Factory in Leith and draw on previous experience including working at Melbourne's Market Lane coffee roaster.

Apart from lovely coffee, Grams' big differentiator is their affordable, health-conscious food. Owner Lewis creates his menu based on whole ingredients and avoiding sugar and processed food. That is, he starts with raw ingredients and processes them as little as possible so all the nutritional value (and flavour) is retained.

While everyone will find very tasty food at Grams, people chasing specific dietary needs will find more joy at Grams than most other cafes. Vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free folk and avoiders of sugar and dairy will have their needs met - including almond and coconut milk coffees.

The menu includes bacon rolls, poached eggs & avocado, smoothie bowls, super salads (such as chicken aioli, chipotle salmon, sweet potato and vegan 'pulled pork'), baked sweet potatoes, soups and sandwiches.

The cakes menu deserves it's own mention as they're works of art. Without the use of sugar, dairy or cooking, you can choose from slices of cheescake, a raw 'snickers bar' and a host of other delights that taste great but are still good for you (in moderation of course!). Grams also provides their cakes to other cafes and can often be seen at farmers markets including the Stockbridge market on Sundays.

You can eat in at a mix of tables, chairs and stools or take-away for work, uni, picnic etc. For those who live or work nearby - Grams is an absolute break-through from a coffee point of view, and they open early!


Monday, 16 May 2016

Find the best coffee in Scotland with our App

 Download from the App Store

Download from the Playstore

Our App will help you find the best independent specialty coffee shops in Scotland - quickly and easily, whether you're online or offline.

Your location will show up on our map alongside the best coffee shops - all visited and rated by us. You can choose the coffee shop that suits your style and mood based on the rating, review and photo.

For 0.79p, you can download our app from the App Store or Playstore and never have a bad coffee again!

Why an App?
We're passionate about Scotland's independent coffee shops and want to support them by driving customers through their doors. With location services, our App makes it easy for you to find your way to the best coffee shops Scotland has to offer.

We've been reviewing indy coffee shops in Edinburgh since 2008 and have recently been inspired to expand to the whole of Scotland. Over coming weeks and months we'll load up more shops and we're working to improve how the App functions.

Our App works offline so visitors who don't have a UK phone can download it while they're on WiFi and still use it when they're offline.

You'll also stay up to date with the best coffee shops as they open across Scotland, Edinburgh and Glasgow - as your App will be updated regularly.

We'll continue to refine our App as our coffee scene evolves.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Luckie Beans - Grassmarket

Central reservation
2nd Saturday of every month
Hario beam heater samples
Coffee: Luckie Beans
Also: Beans!
Coolness: Bustling and historic Grassmarket location

Luckie Beans is a Berwick-based roaster owned and operated by Jamie McLuckie. He pops-up at a number of markets in Edinburgh and the Borders and sets up his stall at the Grassmarket Markets on the 2nd Saturday of the month.

Due to local rules, Jamie is unable to provide full cups of coffee but he is able to give away samples of his coffee made on his trusty Hario beam heater.

Jamie generally offers samples of coffee (the drink) using his Love Lane House Blend, which combines darker roasted Brazilian and Indian beans with lighter roasted Kenyan and Guatemalan beans. He also offers samples using single origins from his wide range which includes coffee from Kenya, Malawi, Ethiopia, Colombia, Sumatra and a Brazilian decaf.

Grassmarket Market stall holders sell a mix of local produce and hand-made products and the location is pretty stunning. It's in Edinburgh's Old Town at the foot of Edinburgh's formidable castle and is surrounded by twisting cobbled streets and picturesque buildings.The Grassmarket space has been used as a market place since the late 1400s so it's great to see it still in use for the same purpose today.

Jamie also sells his Diedrich roasted beans online and via his Fountainbridge Fridays, Leith, Kelso and Peebles market stalls, and also supplies a range of coffee shops in Southern Scotland.


Sunday, 8 May 2016

It All Started Here - Partick Farmer's Market

Mansfield Park
G11 5QE
Every 2nd & 4th Saturday of the month
Coffee: Foundry Coffee Roasters & guests

Coolness: A rare opportunity to try Foundry coffee in Scotland

It All Started Here (5♥) is William Heenan's mobile specialty coffee stall that pops up in different places across Glasgow and broader Scotland.

William uses Sheffield based Foundry Coffee Roasters as his house bean supplier. He's worked closely with Foundry for some time and continues turn out great quality coffees using their seasonally changing and distinctive roasts.

Foundry roast batches of beans each week to order and sell them via their website alongside brewing equipment to suit a wide range of budgets.

William sets up his coffee stall in line with the Partick Farmer's Market dates - every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month. He's usually ready to hand you a top notch espresso-based coffee by 9am and packs up in line with the market finishing at around 2pm.

The Partick Farmer's Markets (or also known as the West End Farmer's Markets) is located in Mansfield Park near Kelvinhall subway station. It hosts around 35 other stall-holders including high quality local farmers, growers and providers of meats, eggs, seafood, fruit & veg and cakes plus more.

Swing by It All Started Here and sip your ethically sourced and expertly made coffee while you peruse shop for some of the regions best produce.


Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Bearded Barista - Leith Market

Dock Place
Every Saturday except the last of the month
Espresso, cold brew
Coffee: Steampunk
Also: A sweet brownie type thing
Coolness: Grab a great coffee while you do your market shopping

The Bearded Barista (5♥) is Lewis - who makes excellently prepared Steampunk coffee from his bicycle-based stall at the Leith Markets. Lovers of cold brew will also find joy with Lewis' own bottled brews.

Apart from great coffee, you can also expect a very friendly and down-to-earth experience with Lewis who is very attentive and happy to chat. As are other stall-holders at the Leith Market which is a sister market to the Stockbridge and Grassmarket Markets, and an excellent addition to Leith's Saturday scene. You can pick up your fresh veggies, cheeses, fish, meat, food to eat on the spot and other produce and hand-made products. All while listening to live music and supporting your local indy producers and artisans.

Lewis had been a permanent fixture near the Edinburgh Uni Informatics Forum until recent building works made it unfeasible for him to remain. In the short term he's looking for another permanent spot, but for Leith Market visitors, the show goes on!

While Lewis offers all the usual flat whites, lattes, long blacks, we did ask for an explanation of a 'shlongo'. It's a small long black. All his coffees have two shots of espresso unless you request otherwise and you can also pick up a tea or hot chocolate.

Go and grab a coffee from Lewis.

More: Bearded Barista Twitter

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Machina Espresso

2 Brougham Pl
Open every day
Espresso, Chemex
Coffee: High quality guests
Also: Soups, cakes, beans
Coolness: Beautiful coffee equipment a stones throw from The Meadows

Machina Espresso (5♥) is one of Edinburgh's best, on all coffee fronts. Coffee to drink, coffee beans to buy and coffee making equipment in a variety of shapes and forms.

Located just past Tollcross as you head out of town and very near The Meadows, Machina Espresso is friendly and passionate.

They use an ever-increasing variety of roasters and small batches and you can choose your preferred brewing method and beans. The baristas are very happy to step you through your options and genuinely want you to enjoy coffee, which is great for two reasons:

1 - You'll get a great coffee while you're there. You might like to try something new (brew method or bean variety) or an old favourite, but can be sure you'll be getting great coffee.

2 - You can get everything you need for home brewing in all shapes, sizes and budgets. These guys are coffee equipment suppliers for private and commercial use, so offer a wide variety of machines, some of which are very shiny and expensive but plenty that are more affordable. They're also distributors of Inker cups and have a raft of equipment and guidance on their website.

Machina Espresso is definitely among Edinburgh's finest coffee shops (and coffee equipment providers) and well worth the visit.