Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Lovecrumbs Stockbridge

22 St Stephen's St
Coffee: Steampunk
Also: Cake, homewares
Coolness: Holding their own with their funky designer neighbours

Lovecrumbs (4♥) has been providing Edinburgh with top notch cakes, coffee and other goodies for some years from their shop in Westport. And now to the delight of Stockbridge locals, they've opened up in St Stephen's Street.

Located down a few steps and nestled amongst the signature elegant and often quirky home wares, fashion, restaurants and hair dressers, Lovecrumbs is holding its own.

The front and rear parts of the shop are primarily dedicated to coffee and cakes with seating, tables and stools. The middle features a range of stylish and useful kitchenalia, textiles, magazines, greeting cards, stationery and other must-haves from long time collaborators Century General Store.

With it's inviting friendliness and scrumptious cakes and coffee, we love this Lovecrumbs!

More: facebook.com/bakery.lovecrumbs/

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Zest & Co

22 Canning St
Mon-Fri - 7.30am-3pm
Coffee: Artisan Roast
Also: Meals, cakes, snacks
Coolness: A tucked away, friendly food gem 

Zest & Co (3♥) is a busy coffee shop, filled with appreciative locals and workers from the surrounding offices in Edinburgh's West End.

Sandwiched (pun intended) in the narrow streets between Shandwick Place and the Western Approach Road, Zest & Co offers well made Artisan Roast espresso-based coffees and cold brew in Summer for iced coffees. On the tea front, you can enjoy local speciality merchants Shibui and Coco hot chocolate.

Their menu is creative, wholesome and ever-changing, with the majority of their tasty options made on site. Breakfast includes toast, morning rolls, porridge, yoghurt & granola and french toast with maple syrup.

Their lunch menu changes every day across two soups (home-made and generally gluten-free and vegan), two salads, two sandwiches, a wrap, three panini, a filo pie and a hot dish.

A flavour-packed menu keeps people coming back. To give you a idea of the food... salads of broccoli, chilli & peanut, paprika & honey roast chickpea and cajun halloumi & avocado - and sandwiches and panini such as walnut chicken salad & rocket and chorizo, monterey jack & caramelised onion. And their filo pie is jam-packed with goodies such as spinach, chicken & sun-blushed tomato. Cakes and traybakes are also mainly home-made.

These folk are serious about their food, and you'll not be short of choices.

While loads of customers drop in for take away, Zest & Co has tables and chairs for around 20 people - some on street level and the rest upstairs - and has wifi if you've got time to stop and have more than one coffee!

This is friendly spot and definitely worth dropping into when you're in Edinburgh's West End on week days.

More: facebook.com/zestandco/

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Cairngorm Coffee New Town

41A Frederick St
Open every day
Espresso, filter
Coffee: Guests
Also: Beans and some non-espresso kit
Coolness: Retro industrial décor meets rustic coziness

Cairngorm Coffee (5♥) is in the heart of the Georgian New Town, just below street level.

A short set of stone stairs take you down from street level past a table & chairs and into the open fronted shop. We very much liked the decor of simple chunky wood with equally chunky old metal machinery holding up various chairs, tables and benches. To the right side of the entry is a deceptively large seating area that is very cosy.

Cairngorm stock lots of yummy food and drink options such as cold drinks, chocolates and other snacks from a range of gourmet suppliers. They also do light lunches with toasted cheese sandwiches being a particular specialty, soups and pastries.

Owner Robi and his friendly team use guest beans from a range of European specialty coffee roaster which we very much enjoy in our flat whites. Fiercely passionate about great coffee, Cairngorm is well worth dropping into.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

St Mocha Coffee Shop

G63 0JQ
Open every day
Coffee: Charlie Mills
Also: Cakes, snacks, coffee beans
Coolness: Tasty coffee right by beautiful Loch Lomond

St Mocha Coffee Shop (3♥) is a cosy spot, a stone's throw from where the Inchailloch Ferry wharf departs on Loch Lomond. It offers a rare moment of well-prepared speciality coffee in the area as well as along the West Highland Way.

The espresso-based coffee on offer is from Charlie Mills - a small batch, independent roastery based in Glasgow. When we visited we were treated to Charlie's Seasonal Tip Top Espresso blend - 50% Brazil, 25% Colombia and 25% El Salvador - balancing depth very nicely with some citrus juiciness.

The barista and support crew keep a steady eye on churning out good quality coffee despite the constant stream of walkers and other visitors eagerly awaiting drinks to take-away or sit in. Food is kept simple, focusing on ice cream, cakes and sticky sweet things such as tiffin and salted caramel & popcorn slice.

The decor is down-to-earth and relaxed - primarily stone with comfortably utilitarian furnishings and some tartan softness to warm the place up. There's a couch inside as well as tables and chairs, and outdoor seating in the front patio area.

St Mocha is attached to a grocery shop and part of the Oak Tree Inn - which is a pub with food as well as rooms. And it's conveniently located across the road from the Conic Hill National Park Visitor Centre and car park, so you can ask for advice about walks in the area including the said hill.

This is a top notch spot to visit enabling you to combine nice coffee with some spectacular scenery and walking.

More: theoaktreeinn.co.uk/food-drink/st-mocha-coffee

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Scotland Coffee Lovers 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.

Download our app free from the App Store or Playstore and never have a bad coffee again!

Want to be on our app?
We're always looking to add Scottish high quality, independently owned, specialty coffee shops to our app. We review them all ourselves, an no-one pays to be listed. If you fit the bill, we'd love to hear from you, just drop us an email (scotlandcoffeelovers(at)yahoo.co.uk) or direct message us on Twitter or Facebook.

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, 6 October 2017

What’s on at the Edinburgh Coffee Festival

The next annual Edinburgh Coffee Festival is at the Corn Exchange on 14 October.

This third Festival will give coffee lovers loads of opportunities to taste different coffees, learn how to brew from experts, and get to know our coffee roasters and tea merchants – plus eat great cake and street food and buy great coffee making gear.

The Edinburgh Coffee Festival website has more info on the exhibitors and speakers & demonstrators who'll share their amazing knowledge. 

Here's the rundown on what you can expect...

There are still spaces to book on to the SCA ‘Introduction to Coffee’ course that I’ve already written about. The cost of the Festival ticket is included in the £60 fee and it’s an opportunity to spend three hours learning from accredited professional coffee trainers for half the price of the usual course. And also, while we’re talking bargains, you can buy a festival-ticket-Frank-Green-cup-combo that means you’ll get a Smart Cup for 40% off and be both stylish and environmentally heroic ongoing.

The Corn Exchange will be converted into an exhibition space for over 40 stall-holders. While the majority are coffee-related (the hint is in the name of the Festival), there’s a healthy smattering of tea, cake, doughnut and food stalls to help you regulate your caffeine levels and other cool stalls such as coffee equipment suppliers who’ll help you brew with the best.

Coffee and tea stall-holders will offer tasters and talk about their sourcing, flavours and how to brew best. They’re a friendly and passionate bunch who like nothing more than sharing their knowledge and answering questions. They’ll also have bags of coffee and tea to buy and take home. Stall-holders you’ll meet include:
There’ll also be three areas dedicated to talks, demonstrations and cupping that you can opt into on the day. They’ll be low-key, small group sessions - see the full programme on the Festival website. An overview of the programme includes:
  • Speciality Coffee Association talking about how to run a coffee shop
  • Roasters MachinaCarvetii, Dear Green, Chipp Coffee Co, and leaf tea experts Eteaket sharing their knowledge about sourcing and brewing
  • Water quality is critical to how coffee tastes - Carvetii and Machina will talk through this topic, and Machina will also cover filter coffee styles, ratios and sensory (sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing)
  • Chipp Coffee Co will help you taste and learn about different stages of roast development
  • The Counter team will teach you about how to do latte art
  • Environmentally responsible packaging company Vegware will discuss sustainability
  • Lisa Cathro from Zest talking about how to support people facing barriers to employment through working at coffee shops
  • Falcon Coffees and Schulter (Green coffee companies) and Brazilian coffee co-op Minasul will be amongst those running cupping sessions so you can taste and compare coffee aromas and flavours. (Cupping is the technique that professionals all over the world use to rate coffee and that involves standardised steps, ratios of water to coffee, timings and slurping).
Environmental sustainability is a big theme of the event which, with Vegware’s help, will be a zero waste event. The vast majority of the millions of disposable coffee cups dished out every day in the UK are an environmental disaster because they’re not compostable and they can’t currently be effectively recycled.

Not using a disposable cup at all is the best option - either sitting in and enjoying the ambience or bringing your own transportable cup and snagging a discount on your coffee in many of Edinburgh’s finest coffee shops. I’ll be making this discount clearer on my blog and app soon to help you choose where to drink great coffee!

You can buy your tickets and find out more on the Edinburgh Coffee Festival website and find out more about the people behind our great coffee scene via our Coffee Stories series.

A shot from last year's Coffee Festival

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Tea Story - Erica Moore of Eteaket

In the lead up to this year's Edinburgh Coffee Festival on 14 October, we're publishing regular stories about some of the people that are involved, and that make our speciality coffee scene great. They're a passionate and varied bunch!

Erica Moore in the Eteaket
Concept store
Photo: Eteaket
But we also have a great speciality tea scene in Edinburgh so today's 'Tea Story' features Erica Moore of Eteaket who have a Tea Room in Frederick Street and a Concept Store Rose Street Edinburgh

What's Eteaket all about? We're on a mission to create an innovative and modern British tea culture with quality, ethical leaf tea and exciting experiences and products that make the everyday better for everyone. You can enjoy our tea, tea cocktails and Afternoon Tea in our Tea Room, find the perfect tea or gift in our Concept Store, buy online or enjoy a pot of eteaket in one of hundreds of amazing cafes and restaurants that we supply in most parts of the UK.

When did you start Eteaket and what attracted you to the speciality tea business? I started Eteaket in 2008, after I had a sneaking suspicion that a life in the tea world might be slightly more fun than a life in law (turns out not all lawyers get to live like Ali McBeal). Once I tasted proper whole leaf tea I was hooked. Since then, thanks to our amazing team, our journey has taken us on our own tea pilgrimage to China, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Japan in search of the best leaves and we have been privileged enough to have met some of the best Tea Masters and teachers in the world along the way.

Photo: Eteaket
How would you describe our teas and how they differ from other speciality teas? We’re quite innovative in our approach to tea and love to collaborate with like-minded businesses. Our aim is to make people as excited about leaf tea as we are, whether that’s starting with some flavoured teas or going straight to higher end single estate teas.

What's involved in selecting and creating your speciality teas? A lot of hard work. We’re constantly tasting, sampling and experimenting and even get to visit tea gardens occasionally. Last year we created our Isle of Harris Gin Tea using the botanicals that go into the amazing Isle of Harris Gin. I even got to go out with the diver for the magic ingredient – sugar sea kelp. Our most recent blend was our Tomatin Whisky Tea - Europe’s first barrel aged tea. We created a black tea blend that we suspend inside Tomatin Whisky barrels. By letting the tea age in the barrels in naturally absorbs the scent of the whisky. We obviously had to consume a fair amount of whisky in the experimenting process…

Eteaket chai
Photo: Eteaket
What do you love most about being in the speciality tea business? I absolutely love doing something that I’m passionate about and have a real drive to play my part in making the tea scene exciting again so that the tea industry is sustainable and tea garden workers can have the best standard of living possible.

What tips would you give tea lovers? Buy yourself an infuser teapot or mug, pick three loose leaf teas you’ve never tried before, take a little time for yourself and get brewing. I promise you’ll never go back to tea bags again! Keep experimenting whether it’s making tea lattes, steeping some cold brew teas or even making some tea cocktails. We run private tea training classes, blending workshops and tea cocktail session in our Concept Store – or just pop in and have a chat.

Photo: Eteaket
What tips would you give people considering a career in tea? Do it. The tea industry needs to grow and it needs more independent companies working together to help grow the market. It’s a very varied career and the possibilities are endless. I’m off to Japan in November to chat about tea! Between trips overseas, drinking unlimited amounts of tea every day and quality checking the cakes in our Tea Room the ‘job’ certainly does have its perks.

Any other pearls of wisdom? Get a loose leaf travel flask so you’re never with good tea. As long as you’ve got tea with you anything is possible.

Eteaket  will be have a stand at the Edinburgh Coffee Festival on 14 October.
Photo: Eteaket