The Best Coffee Shops and Cafes in Edinburgh

Discover the most luxurious coffee shops for a morning pick-me-up and some cosy cafes for an afternoon brunch all in the beautiful Edinburgh.

We all know how Scottish weather can be fine one moment, then clouds start to form and the rains begin. Therefore, it is even more valuable that Edinburgh offers streets and streets bursting with lovely cafes and cosy coffee shops, where you can enjoy a a range of deliciousness..

Caffiene Boost Spots

Are you a latte, macchiato or simply a straight up espresso drinker? Or even drinking an unusual coffee such as an Egg Coffee, find your perfect cup in Edinburgh! Check out this link for in depth coffee know-how, information on artisan/speciality coffee and where to find these places in Edinburgh – for all the espresso geeks out there.

According to some specialist magazines – such as TimeOut Edinburgh and The List, but also on opinions of locals and foreigners living in Edinburgh, here is a list of the best coffee spots in town:

  • Wellington Coffee – 33A George St, Edinburgh EH2 2HN (4.5 star rating on Google) is highly recommended for the wide choice of coffees. On a regular basis they introduce new special coffee, so that you will never get tired of drinking the same type of coffee.
  • Kilimanjaro – 104 Nicolson St, Newington, Edinburgh EH8 9EJ (4.3 star rating on Google) has a great choice if you are looking for a more affordable place and a young and vibrant atmosphere. This café is in the heart of Edinburgh University and offers delicious coffee, also serving a Scottish breakfast!
  • Black Medicine Coffee Co – 2 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9DH (4.5 star rating on Google) offers a diverse range of hot and cold drinks, including a selection of teas. Even the coffee shop even has freshly baked pastries to compliment your chosen beverage, including sandwiches, wraps, cakes, bakes and sweet treats.
  • Brew Lab is a relaxed café, ideal both for students and professionals with very friendly staff specialized in coffee brewing. With exceptional décor that almost replicates a science laboratory! It offers both a mix of courtesy and quality that will make you want to go back again.
  • Gordon St Coffee Edinburgh – 6 Market St, Edinburgh EH1 1DE (4.6 star rating on Google) known for its exquisite coffee beans in a variety of flavours including dark chocolate/mollasses/wine and sweet chocolate/fruity caramel. Wow how bold. This is a coffee shop but also a roastery so you have the ability to sit in an enjoy a luxurious coffee or on the other hand, order the coffee beans and have them delivered to your door.

If you have a tight schedule you can enjoy your coffee ‘on the go’? Then you might like Camp Coffee – the world’s first instant coffee. Starting in 1876 in Glasgow, this coffee is popular for its practicality, since it changed the habit of drinking coffee, introducing the concept of instant coffee. It is not an ordinary instant coffee as you can clearly recognise its peculiarity by its interesting taste of chicory, mixed with sugar, water and dried coffee extract. If you want to try it for yourself, you can easily find it in any supermarket in Scotland.

If you have a smartphone, you might want to try the Edinburgh Coffee Lovers App. An app that helps you navigate and find the best independent and specialty coffee shops and roasters.

In Scotland coffee, is an essential beverage- even more popular than water! Drinking coffee is an attitude, a lifestyle, a social occasion. It is common in Edinburgh for people to meet over a coffee. Additionally though, at home and you will often hear the expression ‘I’ll put the kettle on‘ which can be translated as‚ ‘Let’s have a chat over a cuppa’.

As Sir James Mackintosh said: ‘The powers of a man’s mind are directly proportional to the quantity of coffee he drank‘.

Fancy a cuppa?

Cafe’s For Getting a Bite In

Edinburgh caters to all the hungry tummies. The capital has a huge amount of eateries offering everything from a traditional Scottish breakfast to more exotic dishes from around the world. We’ve suggested a few of our favourites below to whet your appetite.

  • Urban Angel – 121 Hanover St, Edinburgh EH2 1DJ (4.5 star rating on Google)

Located on Hanover Street, right in the heart of the city centre, Urban Angel is a popular breakfast destination – so popular, that its breakfast menu is available all day from 8am to 5pm on weekdays and 9am to 5pm on weekends. The café-bistro operates a flexible, “mix and match” approach, so that you can build your ideal breakfast from fresh, seasonal produce. Lighter options include homemade granola, porridge oats and toast with homemade preserves, while cooked breakfast options include Arbroath smokies, kedgeree and eggs Benedict.

The wonderfully named Caffeine Drip, in the heart of the West End is the perfect place to jump start your morning. It’s a coffee shop, offering rich, full-bodied coffee, but it is also a bakery and delicatessen, offering a large breakfast menu, served until midday. The Caffeine Drip offers a ‘Create Your Own’ option starting with the egg and bread of your choice and then you can pick whatever you like, particularly sausages – which include special South African sausages, known as ‘boerewors’. There’s also a similar option for vegans, plus a selection of lighter options for those with smaller appetites.

  • Snax Café – 15-17 W Register St, Edinburgh EH2 2AA, 118 Buccleuch St, Newington, Edinburgh EH8 9NQ (4.6 star rating on Google)

If you’re really hungry and on a budget, try Snax Café (on West Register Street, near Princes Street or on Buccleuch Street, near Alba English and Edinburgh University). The cafés serve breakfast all day, seven days a week, and its full Scottish breakfast, available in ‘Bigger’ and ‘Biggest’ sizes, features all you could wish for, including black pudding, a tattie scone and a buttered roll on the side, at a very cheap price (vegetarian options are also available). For those with smaller appetites, Snax Café offers a range of delicious, freshly made breakfast rolls, wraps, sandwiches and even the Scottish favourite haggis.

This eatery serves food authentic to Scotland. Providing local produce with honest ingredients and deliciousness. Ranging from the full and mighty Scottish breakfast, to veggie breakfast, poached eggs, smoked cod and chorizo for a hearty lunch. The cafe even suppies more lighter options including porridge, buttery baps and a wide selection of sandwiches. If you thought it couldn’t get anymore tasty – orange juice or freshly ground coffee with a guilty but sweet treat of gluten free chocolate and nut brownies that are rated as the best in town.

This café has stood out as one of the favourites by Edinburgh’s locals and visitors since the 80’s. Due to funky inspiration of having an American-diner style theme, that makes it stand out from the rest. The café provides all day breakfasts, burgers, nachos, fajitas, pancakes (sweet/savory), hotdogs and desserts too. Also serves pints and cocktails for a full American experience. Even take part in the burger challenge to earn a place on The Wall of Fame.

Now your morning coffee, breakfast and lunch is all taken care of. Enjoy your day..

Some interesting vocabulary:

espresso geek= (n) A geek is usually someone who is not cool and who has a strong interest in, spends a lot of time using and has a lot of knowledge about computers. So an espresso geek must be someone who has a strong interest in, spends a lot of time making and drinking and has a lot of knowledge about coffee. Carlo is an espresso geek. He has lots of coffee making equipment and lots of varieties of coffee in his kitchen. 
subtle taste= a subtle (adj) taste (n). A gentle, delicate flavour. This wine has subtle taste of citrus fruits.
brewing= (v) To make a drink by mixing natural ingredients such as beans or leaves with hot water (tea, coffee) or by fermenting grains such as wheat (beer). Budweiser has been brewed since 1876.
chicory= (n) a plant. You can use the leaves for salads and the roots for flavouring. Chicory can be eaten raw or cooked. 
whet your appetite= (phrase) to sharpen one’s desire to eat

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