Thursday, 18 August 2016

Introducing the Edinburgh Coffee Fringe - August 16

Edinburgh’s famous August festival period is just about to get even better with the city’s first Edinburgh Coffee Fringe, targeting specialty coffee lovers and hosted at some of our best coffee shops and associated Festival pop-ups.

Our specialty coffee scene is one of the most highly regarded in the UK (validated by leading researcher Allegra, not just my bias!) and the events lined up as part of the Edinburgh Coffee Fringe aim to get locals and visitors up close and personal with cupping, tasting, drinking, classes and generally talking about all things coffee.

Organisers Dave Law (Brew Lab), Ewan Osprey Allan (Union Hand Roasted Coffee) and Martin Dare (Edinburgh Coffee Festival) have put together the alternative Fringe throughout August and have pulled in some big names with roasters from Berlin’s The Barn and Denmark’s La Cabra, England’s Square Mile, Origin Coffee and Hasbean and Edinburgh’s own Artisan Roast, Williams & Johnson and Machina Espresso.

Coffee lovers of all levels of seriousness – or un-seriousness - are welcomed to these chilled out events. Each roaster will talk about how they source their coffee beans, where they come from, how they’re processed and how they’re roasted, followed by tastings.You can expect some pretty special flavours and coffee insight from some world-class roasters.

Incorporating some Edinburgh Coffee Fringe events into your busy festival show schedule gives you a rare opportunity to taste and understand high quality coffee, and stay buzzing for those late night shows.

With Edinburgh's first Coffee Festival being such a big success last year, and the voracious appetite of local and visiting coffee lovers who are becoming more and more discerning, the Edinburgh Coffee Fringe is a great addition to our calendar in the run up to the second Festival that takes place on 1 October at Summerhall. Pop that in your diary!

Here’s an overview of the schedule so far and you can find the venues with our App

Ticked booking and more info is on the Edinburgh Coffee Fringe website

  • August 8th - 18:30 - Steve Leighton of Has Bean @ Brew Lab Victoria St popup 
  • August 9th - 18:30 - Jeremy Torz of Union Hand-Roasted @ Urban Angel
  • August 10th – 15:30 – Sensory Class @ Brew Lab Training Lab 
  • August 11th - 18:30 - Oli Jones of Origin Coffee @ Brew Lab Victoria St popup 
  • August 13th - 18:30 - Esben Piper of La Cabra @ Cairngorm 
  • August 15th - 19:30 - Ralf Ruller of The Barn @ Brew Lab Popup Victoria St 
  • August 17th – 15:30 – Sensory Class @ Brew Lab Training Lab 
  • August 17th - 18:30 - Pete Garcia of Square Mile @ Kilimanjaro2
  • August 20th - 18:30 - Todd Johnson & Zack Williams of Williams & Johnson @ Century General Store Abbeyhill
  • August 23rd - 11:00 - John Thompson @ Artisan Roast Holy Garage popup
  • August 24th – 15:30 – Sensory Class @ Brew Lab Training Lab 

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Holy Garage - Artisan Roast - Popup 2016

George Square Lane
Open every day
Coffee: Artisan Roast
Also: Doughnuts, cake, alcohol
Coolness: Cafe meets bar meets arty hang out

Holy Garage (5♥) is a cruisy mix of coffee, alcohol, doughnuts and music- a true mash-up, pop-up - that's open during the day through to the wee small hours of the morning.

Local experts at Artisan Roast are offering Deadly Doughnuts and Barney's beer among others to create a chilled out space with seating inside and out on the cobbled street.

To pause on the coffee for a moment...Artisan Roast have three coffee shops in the burgh, are a major roaster and pretty near founded the independent coffee scene in Edinburgh - so expect the best.

George Square Lane is narrow and runs parallel to The Meadows very near to the Festival busy-ness of George Square. This pop-up has taken over buildings that may well be used as garages at other times and set up a host of tables and chairs inside and out.

Drinks wise, the coffee is available 10am-5pm and alcoholic drinks available until closing time at 3am. The menu includes Barney's Beer, cider, spirits, absinthe, wine, tequila, whisky and soft drinks. So plenty there to help you round off your evening!

Holy Garage is a very inviting venue. As you walk up the lane you'll see plenty of tables and chairs outside, which is especially nice if the sun is shining. A bar faces the street where you can order a coffee or other drink, or you can go inside and take a seat. The brickwork is rough, the large wooden doors are newly painted and chunky and distinctive pieces of art adorn the walls. It all combines to help you feel like you've stepped out of the thronging festivals and into another time and place.

These folk have been creative and re-thought the pop-up - incorporating great coffee!


Friday, 12 August 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.

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) 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.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Thomas J Walls Coffee

35 Forrest Rd
Open every day
Espresso, ice americano, ice latte
Coffee: Squaremile
Also: Meals, cakes, beans
Coolness: Stylish nostalgia meets all day brunches

Thomas J Walls Coffee (5♥) is a large, elegant coffee shop located on the South side of Edinburgh's busy Old Town, near the National Museum of Scotland.

Owner Jonathan Sharpe has a number of other shops in Edinburgh and offers consistently high quality espresso-based coffee from long-time supplier London's Squaremile. The house bean is generally their Red Brick seasonal espresso, a particular favourite of ours, and guest beans are often available.

The site used to be an optician's shop and many a local, and their parents (and probably their grandparents) has had their eyes tested and glasses fitted here. The transformation to coffee shop has been sympathetic to these origins, preserving the original frontage, complete with the brass company name lettering and display windows. Look out for the shop logo that also smartly blends spectacles and coffee cup.

Visitors will be rewarded not just with lovely coffee, but also good food. Brunches are a main staple, well-suited to the relaxed and spacious surrounds. Options include rosti with spinach, smoked salmon, poached eggs and hollandaise, shakshuka, yoghurt & granola and the ever-present avocado on toast among others. Freshly made juices, soups, sandwiches and cakes are also on the menu.

There are plenty of tables and chairs in the front part of the shop and more to the rear, along with some softer seating by way of arm chairs and a sofa. The decor is simple and stylish and when combined with some very nice paintings, high ceilings and old world touches, adds up to a classy feel. Big thumbs up from us.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Brew Lab Victoria St pop-up

5 Victoria St
Open every day during the Festival
Espresso, filter, cold brew bottles, nitro cold brew
Coffee: Hasbean
Also: Baguettes, soups, cakes
Coolness: Beautiful Victoria Street with cracking coffee

Local top notch coffee boffins Brew Lab (5♥) have set up temporary shop in Edinburgh's iconic Victoria Street.

They're offering their high-end coffee in the heart of the Old Town and on one of Edinburgh's most picturesque streets.

Using their long-time buddies Hasbean, you can pick up lovely espresso-based coffees as well as filter and cold brew - bottled or on nitro tap.

For coffee lovers, being able to sample Brew Lab's finest in the Old Town between shows is a luxury.

They're going for a chilled out vibe and offer soups, baguettes, salads, cakes, croissants, Pekoe Tea, and hot chocolate.

It's a large space with plenty of tables and chairs so you'll be able to take a well-earned break from the Festival to refuel.

Sunday, 24 July 2016


76 Victoria Rd
G42 &AA
Open with specialty coffee on Sat & Sun
Coffee: Excellent guest pop-ups on weekends
Also: Cakes, breads, meals
Coolness: Creative food, coffee and community focused business model

Bakery47 (5♥) is a top notch bakery and cafe that bakes a wide range of breads and cakes for their shop, as well as supplying other cafes. The unusually long description below is partly due to the sheer breadth of excellent culinary and community options available. It's also partly because Bakery47 is so very good!

Please scroll down to read more about Bakery47, but we'll focus on the coffee first (as you'd expect :)

Each weekend Bakery47 is joined behind the servery by a skilled and impressive coffee pop up that matches the quality of the bakery items. These are high-end baristas and small business owners that serve up their specialty coffee to Bakery47 customers to enjoy, alongside their exceptional baked goods and meals. On week days Bakery47 offers a £1 filter coffee using beans from Coffee, Chocolate & Tea.

We're yet to get to Bakery47 to sample all the baristas, but very much intend to. They include 'Back to Black'. 'Fun in a cup' and 'It All Started Here'.

It All Started Here
William mixes up his offering, between his long-time mates Sheffield-based Foundry Coffee Roasters and guest seasonal beans from other high-end roasters that take his fancy. To give you an indication, he's featured Climpson & Sons, Man Versus Machine and Caravan recently. He also regularly sets up shop at the Partick Farmer's Markets, and his consistently high standards are always a treat.

Espresso-based drinks are Will's staple, but, depending on the weather or time of year, you may get to try coffee tonic, cold brew or iced latte. In keeping with Bakery47's community ethos, Will also offers an affordable tasty filter coffee. Keep an eye on It All Started Here's Facebook and Twitter stream to stay up to date with Will's pop ups.


On the food front, you can buy mouth-watering baked items between Wednesdays and Sundays each week. They're made on site by the people who take your order and you can pick up loaves and buns of many types as well as cakes, tarts, scones, traybakes, pastries and bakery items you hadn't realised existed. We know that there's many a cake connoisseur who knows a lot more than we do, but we can confidently say that Bakery47 is amongst the best around. You won't be disappointed, but to give you a sense: portuguese custard tarts, poppy chia bagels, rhubarb pastries, amarena cherry toasted pistachio brownies, peanut butter banana buns, wholewheat spelt cinnamon currant buns... and much, much more.

The cafe is quite large and customers are invited to place their order and pay at the counter (you place your order for coffee at the same time). There are plenty of customers picking up bakery items and leaving again, and plenty sitting in as well. The menu takes great advantage of their bread and cakes as well as high quality seasonal food, sourced from as nearby as feasible.

Supporting, and being active in, their community are at the heart of their approach to business. They regularly share their space with other like-minded individuals, from events to classes, workshops to popups. And on they have 'bread barter' days on the first Wednesday of every month - where the owners offer their bread in exchange for goods or services without using money.

Unless you're lucky enough to be able to pass by Bakery47 every day, the best way to stay up to speed with all the goings on is to watch their Facebook. The pictures of their baked items alone are worth it!


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Tasty Buns Bakery

67 Bread St
Open Monday-Saturday
Coffee: Mr Eion
Also: Cakes
Coolness: Deceptively large and charming - complete with interior street light

Tasty Buns Bakery (3♥) is a cafe that serves home-baked cakes, muffins and traybakes on aptly name Bread Street, near the Old Town.

Owner Louise opened the cafe recently and is continuing to develop her menu, with independent coffee a key ingredient.

Edinburgh's Mr Eion provides a bespoke Brazilian Sumatran blend and the resulting coffee packs a traditional and flavoursome punch. A good match for the sweet baked items available.

The shopfront is narrow but the cafe itself is deep and surprisingly spacious. There are plenty of chairs and tables inviting you stay a while and the decor is one of stripped back opulence, enhanced by the high ornate ceiling and rich colour scheme. The old-fashioned street lamp in amongst the timber furniture adds to the charm.

Tasty Buns is definitely a nice hide-away in an up-and-coming area that's gradually edging away from it's bottom-of-the-barrel strip-joint history. Albeit the name of this establishment may tip it's hat in that general direction!