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Top five Edinburgh coffee haunts

When thinking of reasons to visit Edinburgh, ‘coffee’ may not be your first thought – but it actually represents an incredibly vibrant community within Scotland’s capital city.

So, with International Coffee Day approaching (1 October) and a whole festival planned for it in Edinburgh, let’s take a look at some the best coffee shops and cafes to be found there.

Brew Lab

This is more than just a coffee house – it’s a TEMPLE OF WORSHIP for artisan coffee fans (and of attractive interior design, too). Launched in 2012 by university graduates Tom Hyde and David Law, after several years of careful research and planning, it’s meticulous about the way its coffee is prepared and served. There’s even a testing area for new brews and tasting notes for visitors, accompanied by a trendy bare-brick backdrop and comfortable leather armchairs. 


The Elephant House

First, let’s get this out of the way: JK Rowling wrote large parts of her Harry Potter books here. Second, it has a great view of Edinburgh Castle from its back room and occasionally turns into a live music venue in the evening, when you can get beer or wine as well as great coffee. The latter’s arabica beans are locally roasted; and it also offers a fine array of sandwiches and other tasty forms of savoury sustenance. Be warned: Lunchtimes are VERY busy. Wonder why?


Union of Genius

Like your coffee with a social conscience? Then Union of Genius is the one for you. Local ingredients and products are used here to create delicious, fresh, proper soups – which is what it’s mainly famous for – served with tasty bread from a nearby bakery. Then there’s the coffee. Supplied by Artisan Roast, it never fails to disappoint – and the experience is finished beautifully by sweet treats from Lovecrumbs (the next star on our list). We love seeing local businesses work together.



This one wins the award for best name... and for an extreme dedication to not only coffee, but also cake. LOTS OF CAKE. And tarts, brownies, doughnuts and more. If you don’t fancy coffee, you can also opt for excellent hot chocolate and a range of teas – and there’s fruit juice, too (still sweet, but in a healthier way). As for decor, giant colourful cushions set the tone, paired with a general sense of student-like relaxation. It’s next to Edinburgh College of Art, so this isn’t surprising... but it’s also just as popular with other community groups. Real quality always has a wide appeal.


Dovecot Cafe

Formerly a public swimming bath, Dovecot Cafe is a pleasingly creative space with galleries of metalwork, ceramics and even tapestry. And it serves great coffee. Artisan roasts are complemented by a diverse selection of sandwiches, soups and cakes, making it the ideal place to while away a lunch hour or catch up with friends. 


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