Sunday, 24 April 2016

Baba Budan

East Market St
Open every day
Espresso, filter
Coffee: Ozone & Coffee Collective
Also: Doughnuts, pastries, soups
Coolness: Elegant wire sculpture that occupies the high ceiling space

Baba Budan (5♥) is a coffee and donut shop (billed as a 'donuterie') that takes up one of the arches under the Old Town's Jeffrey Street near Waverley Station. It's part of The Arches development which has repurposed the arches that date from around 1875 into a restaurant, retail and bar area.

Owner Craig has taken a long time to shape up this gem of a coffee shop with every aspect thought through after much research and travelling around the world honing his thinking.

His house espresso is a blend from New Zealand/London roasting company Ozone. He intends to have one or two other espresso coffees on offer and is using Copenhagen's iconic Coffee Collective to kick things off.

He also has two or three filter coffees available. When we visited we sampled Brazil, Kenya and Burundi filters but, as it's very early days, Craig plans to see what customers enjoy, and offer some variety to suit.

Baba Budan is also a 'donuterie' and provides 3-4 varieties of fresh donuts each day, made on the premises. They use locally produced flour and cold press rapeseed oil, and they're delightful. Other food items include their own marshmallows, pastries, bagels from the Bearded Baker and Union of Genius soup. They're offering T2 teas and you'll also be able to get stove top chai tea and iced tea in warmer months.

The decor is distinctive and elegant, primarily using black and white, contrasting with the stonework of the arches. Inside the shop are a couple of neat black tables for two and a high black bench with stools, but there are also plans for seating out the front of the shop.

Baba Budan's occupies a very tall arch and Craig has made excellent use of the height by commissioning a black wire metal cubic sculpture to exactly fit the space. It adds an elegance and interest while keeping the sense of airy space.

This one is an absolute cracker and we look forward to visiting often!

(In case you didn't already know, Baba Badun was apparently a 16th-century Sufi who is famous for introducing the coffee plant to India by bringing seven raw beans from the port of Mocha, Yemen.)


Riverhill Coffee Bar

24 Gordon St
G1 3PU
Open every day
Espresso, aeropress, clever dripper
Coffee: Dear Green
Also: Meals, cake, beans
Coolness: Fantastic array of mouth-watering cakes

Riverhill Coffee Bar (3♥) is located in Glasgow's city centre and shopping district and offers high quality food, primarily to take away.

They use Glasgow roaster Dear Green and offer good espresso, aeropress and clever dripper with beans chosen accordingly.

The venue is small - narrow with the servery running most of its length. But the owners pack a lot into that small space and the service is very friendly and efficient.

The first thing you'll see when you enter the shop is a beautiful display of cakes of many types. It is really very hard to resist a little something to have with your coffee! Examples include dark chocolate and beetroot cake, caramelised banana and strawberry jam frangipane slice and pistachio, orange blossom and dark chocolate financier - among many others, piled up on a long wooden board looking like a veritable cake-u-copia.

The food is inventive, locally sourced and very much the focus of Riverhill who also have a restaurant around the corner that faces on to West Nile Street (offering the full suite of options for breakfast, lunch, dinner).

If you're lucky you can perch on one of the few stools available but the vast majority of customers grab their coffee and a sandwich, salad or soup (or cake!) and take it with them to devour elsewhere.

More: Riverhill Coffee Bar facebook

Spitfire Espresso

127 Candleriggs
G1 1NP
Open every day
Coffee: Avenue bespoke blend
Also: Meals, cakes, beans
Coolness: 1950s retro decor and brand

Spitfire Espresso (5♥) is located in Glasgow's busy Merchant City area and sits on the corner of Candleriggs and Ingram Street, with big windows facing both.

Owner Danny is originally from New Zealand but has very much set himself up in Glasgow as 'home', opening up Spitfire in 2015. On offer is local roaster Avenue's coffee - a bespoke blend of Colombian and Brazilian - made with great relish and focus.

The food is of equally high quality and includes wholesome big breakfasts, soups, sandwiches and a wide array of mouth-watering cakes.

Spitfire has a great atmosphere, created in no small part by the super-friendly and high energy host and team. They're very keen for you to have a good time and will check in regularly to make sure you're happy. The other part of what makes Spitfire a great place to visit is the decor. The 1950s war-time nostalgia theme is unique and chirpy. Combine that with a bit of sunshine through those big windows and you won't want to leave.

There's plenty of seating with tables and chairs inside and out, and bench seating along both big windows that face the street.

You can also pick up a Spitfire cap (we do love a bit of coffee merch) and Frank Lloyd cups.

Spitfire Espresso definitely offers some of the best coffee Glasgow has to offer.

More: Spitfire facebook

Find the best coffee in Scotland with our App

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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, 22 April 2016

Avenue Coffee Byers Road

291 Byers Rd
G12 8TL
Open: Every day
Espresso, aeropress
Coffee: Avenue Coffee
Also: Meals and cakes
Coolness: Three choices of aeropress coffee on offer

Avenue Coffee in Byers Road (4♥) is a jam-packed café, full of appreciative locals in Glasgow's busy West End.

The coffee on offer is their own, roasted locally at their Great Western Road shop and roastery. Aeropress lovers will be very happy with a choice of three different beans at any one time. When we went they had a Rwandan, Brazilian and Ethiopian on the board - with tasting notes. They do a fine espresso-based coffee as well and you can even give latest fad bullet-proof coffee a try if you're up for it (coffee with butter and oil added "to promote high energy and brain function").

Avenue have a wide range of beans available in their shop and even more on their website for one off or subscription purchase. They source their beans from high quality and sustainable sources, ensuring growers get paid fairly. The majority of their coffee is single origin but they also have seasonal espresso blends.

Alongside picking up Avenue beans to take home, they have some brewing kit such as filters, drippers, chemex and aeropresses.

The food features as strongly as the coffee such as big weekend breakfasts, soup, pulled pork burgers, sandwiches, salads and an impressive range of cake and tray bakes. The staff are very friendly and service-oriented, it's not hard to see why the locals love it so much!

More: Avenue Coffee Facebook

Roots, Fruits & Flowers Kelvinbridge

451 Great Western Rd
G12 8HH
Open every day
Coffee: Charlie Mills
Also: Whole foods, meals, groceries
Coolness: Wholefoods to take home - raw and ready to eat

Roots, Fruits & Flowers (3♥) is a combination wholefoods, healthfoods, delicatessen, florist, fruit and vegetable shop that's been a landmark in Glasgow's West End for decades.

It has a grand and wide frontage with some produce on display outside the shop - under their iconic black awnings with gold type clearly spelling out their wares.

In the section of the shop that has a big glass deli counter, you'll be able to order your coffee to have in or take away - made with beans from local roaster Charlie Mills.

The deli counter displays a wide range of food to eat in or take-away including soup, olives & hummus, deli platters, grilled panini, savoury tarts, tortillas, salads and cakes.

The majority of the large number of customers take yummy things home, but there's quite a bit of seating available to eat-in, by way of large, chunky, high wooden tables and stools along the windows.


Thursday, 21 April 2016

Avenue Coffee Great Western Road

321 Great Western Rd
G4 9HR
Open every day
Espresso, V60, aeropress, chemex, French press
Coffee: Avenue
Also: Meals, beans
Coolness: These folk roast their own coffee upstairs

Avenue Coffee (5♥) is on busy and eatery-filled Great Western Road, on the left as you head out of Glasgow toward the River Kelvin.

This is the home of Avenue Coffee's roaster, with which they roast their ethically sourced coffee weekly, for use at both of their shops. They also supply wholesale beans to other coffee shops and retail beans and subscriptions to home consumers via their website. Their Diedrich roaster is upstairs from the café area, surrounded by hessian bags of beans. It can be seen, along with weekly cupping sessions, from the shop floor.

All the main brew methods are available using the Avenue Coffee range including Rwandan, Ethiopian, Brazilian, Kenyan and Costa Rican single-origins, among others, as well as their own blends. The staff are keen to share their passion for coffee - they also run classes to help you hone your barista skills.

Similar to their Byers Road shop, the food available includes big weekend breakfasts, soup, pulled pork burgers, sandwiches, salads and cakes.

The décor of modern stonework and timber has a minimalist feel, warmed by the light that streams in through the floor-to-ceiling wood-framed windows and friendly staff. You can choose from seating inside and outside - a mix of chairs, stools and tables.

More: Avenue Coffee Facebook