Sunday, 1 March 2020

Hideout Cafe - Old Town

5 Upper Bow
Open everyday
Coffee: Clifton
Also: brunch, sandwiches, soups, baking
Coolness: Retro audio cassettes 'slaying' centre stage decor and soundscape

Nestled just around the corner from the Castle and the Grassmarket on Upper Bow is this lovely cosy nook that opened in late 2019.

At Hideout Old Town you can enjoy coffee from Bristol speciality coffee roaster Clifton, pulled on a super slick Slayer machine. When we visited, they were using Clifton's seasonal espresso blend EQ V.18 and producing lovely espresso-based coffees.

The Old Town branch of Hideout is an ideal spot in which to dodge the tourist hoardes (at least 5 tour groups passed by during our hour there) whilst also sipping speciality coffee.

The Hideout team have made great use of the small and charming space with a selection of snug corners in which to relax.  In some ways this place lives up even more to the Hideout name than their original cafe in Leith, which is at a fairly busy junction.

We visited on what apparently had been a 'crazy day’ (a combination of wet weather and school holidays) according to Hideout's barista - meaning that by 2.30pm they had pretty much sold out of their nice selection of sandwiches, filled croissants etc; but they did have their tasty soup which was ideal on what was a particularly dreich day in the capital. We also had their fantastic honey cake, which is a bit of a signature dish of the café.  Hideout also serve Teapig teas and a range of sodas.

As with their well-established sister cafe in Leith this place has a distinct vintage feel with a range of intriguing old coffee makers and music coming from cassettes. Anyone who grew up in the 80s or 90s will feel a wave of nostalgia as they browse the wall of tapes.  Lou Reed and Bowie tunes were wafting around the cafe on our visit.

It’s great to be able to find speciality coffee in such a touristy area. Don’t miss it if you find yourself near the Castle.

Review and photo by Charlie Ellis & Eva Vaporidis

More: Hideout Old Town Facebook

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Fortitude Coffee Stockbridge

66 Hamilton Pl
Open everyday
Espresso, pour over, batch brew
Coffee: Fortitude
Also: breakfasts, savoury food and baking
Coolness: Coffee heaven a stone's throw from St Stephen's Streer boutique shops 

Fortitude's Stockbridge cafe opened in February 2020 and we ventured along in the lashing rain to see how they could build on the great reputation of their well-established York Place café and coffee roasting business.

As soon as we entered we felt it was very promising! They have kept the lovely tiled walls but have opened out the interior, creating an airy and warm space showcasing a chic long wooden bench filled with gleaming built-in coffee making equipment. This positioning of the coffee equipment at counter top level helps maintain the feeling of spaciousness and the Scandinavian influenced furniture gives the shop a lovely feel. Coffee geeks will quickly clock the Modbar under counter espresso machine - cutting edge tech that's currently a rare find in Scotland. The time and thought spent developing the interior (previously occupied by Ronde Cafe/Cycles) has absolutely paid off.

Opening a cafe in an area already well populated with cafes might seem risky. Niall the manager pointed out that while Stockbridge may be full of cafes, only a few (such as Artisan Roast) are coffee specialists so there's room to address the unmet demand for high quality coffee. While Stockbridge already has a strong base including the Sunday Markets, he sees it's "on the up in terms of high quality food and drink".

What their second, larger shop offers Fortitude is the opportunity to expand the food and coffee offering. As well as a range of breakfast options, a tasty range of sandwiches are on offer, Union of Genius soups and baking supplied by artisan French bakery Au Gourmand. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free choices are also featured on the menu. Our grilled cheese sandwich with pickle was ideal fare for such inclement weather.

At time of visiting the main espresso coffee was El Sauce-Peruvian - towards the fruitier end - and our meticulously made cortados were a treat. The other espresso on offer was a National Colombian and there were three pour over options and one batch brew.

While coffee lovers are spoilt for choice, tea drinkers will enjoy the Good & Proper leaf teas. The shop also sells coffee making paraphernalia and Fortitude branded products (reusable cups etc).

Niall and his team enjoyed a "good first day despite the horrendous weather". We have no doubt that Fortitude will make a success of their venture Northwards.

Review and photo by Charlie Ellis & Eva Vaporidis

More: Fortitude Coffee Instagram

Friday, 21 February 2020

Spider on a bicycle

Station Square
AB34 5HX
Open every day except Monday
Coffee: Papercup
Also: Meals, cakes, alcohol
Coolness: Stately interior, out of the cold with tasty coffee, or sit outside on sunny days

Spider on a bicycle was recommended by one of our coffee lovers, and is high on our list for a visit soon.

They've not stinted on the gear - with their La Marzocco pride of place - and use Glasgow-based Papercup Coffee which we rate highly.

The shop is on Station Square in a stone building that was once part of the railway and has an airy, elegant feel with the curved ceiling and windows, enhanced by a cheery, classy colour scheme. The decor of recycled timbers and eclectic home-away-from-home furnishings adds to the relaxed ambience.

The wholesome food is generally made on site using ingredients sourced as locally as possible. You'll enjoy a varying menu of creative cakes, salads, soups, mezze style platters, brunches, toasties and more. Vegetarians as well as meat eaters will find joy here!

Dogs are welcome. This is definitely a coffee highlight in the region!

(Photos from Spider on a bicycle's instagram stream)


Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Scotland Coffee Lovers App

 Download from the App Store

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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 review.

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.

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.

Monday, 27 January 2020

Foodstory Zero

Taylor Building
Regent Walk, University of Aberdeen, AB24 3EB
Open Monday-Friday
Espresso, batch brew
Coffee: Dear Green
Also: breakfast, lunch and cake
Coolness: Zero waste cafe!

Foodstory have been turning out great food and coffee for years from their Thistle Street shop - with a big ethical, community-inclusive and sustainable focus.

Foodstory Zero is their smaller cafe at Aberdeen Uni - offering Glasgow's tasty Dear Green coffee as well as a small but perfectly formed menu such as porridge, granola, toasties, salads, hot pots and cakes that are all vegan, vegetarian and/or gluten free.

In keeping with their environmentally sustainable menu, this is a zero packaging cafe. You'll need to bring your own reusable cups, bowls, plates etc. There's also a smart selection of reusables available for purchase. There should be more of it!

More: Foodstory Zero Instagram

Saturday, 18 January 2020

The Little Bakery

6-7 High St
South Queensferry
EH30 9PP
Open every day
Coffee: Has Bean
Also: Full menu
Coolness: The backdrop of the Forth's three bridges

The Little Bakery is on South Queensferry's High Street - which has to be one of Scotland's quaintest, plus its location and view of the bridges is stunning.

On the coffee front, you can choose from all the usual espresso-based options using their own Little Bakery blend from Stafford-based coffee roasters Hasbean. When we visited it was 60% El Salvador Argentina washed and 40% Bolivia Don Carlos Bourbon washed. Hasbean is a highly regarded speciality coffee roaster and relatively rare in Scottish coffee shops, so South Queensferry residents are indeed fortunate.

Their wide range of cakes are made onsite and include scones, brownies, biscuits, cakes, cupcakes and more sitting alongside a big brunch-related menu plus burgers, salads and sandwiches.

You order and pay at the counter and your food is brought to your table.

We would say, however, that this shop isn't little. It's actually quite big and does a roaring trade with a constant queue of customers.

More: The Little Bakery Facebook

Monday, 11 November 2019

The Apothecary - Ellon

21 The Square,
AB41 9JB
Open every day and evenings
Espresso, cafetiere, pour over (kalita)
Coffee: Artisan Roast
Also: Meals, cakes, wine & cheese
Coolness: An oasis of top notch coffee and food

The Coffee Apothecary Ellon (5♥)  is owners Ali and Jonny's second cafe, building on the success of the much-loved Udny shop.

In a part of the world where great coffee is rare indeed, The Coffee Apothecary team are relative lone wolves. While the standard of coffee is very high, they also offer choices of seasonal beans and brewing methods. Brilliant.

And their passion extends beyond coffee and into food and drink. The menu is extensive, creative and wholesome. Their cakes amazing and they offer cheese and charcuterie platters and wine (as well as other alcoholic beverages).

This shop would absolutely hold it's own in a big city. The folk of Ellon are indeed lucky!