Saturday 16 May 2015

Brew Lab

6-8 South College St
Open every day
Espresso, Pour-over, Chemex, Siphon, Cold brew (bottled and nitro on draught)
Coffee: Has Bean & guests
Also: Meals, cakes
Free wifi
Coolness: Large choice of brew methods and training lab

Brew Lab Artisan Coffee Bar (5♥) is a big, stone and light industrial-vibed coffee house in the middle of the Edinburgh University area, on the South of the Old Town.

They're at the forefront of coffee seriousness: choices of brew methods, each with their own appropriate bean and grind types. You can also enjoy locally sourced top notch tea, hot chocolate, cakes and light meals such as salads, baguettes and soups. They're as committed to great food as they are great coffee.

It's guaranteed that Brew Lab will continuously change (as in week to week) the coffees they serve - and the food - so expect to experience something different each time. Think of how chefs change their menu all the time based on their whim and what's fresh or seasonal.

The main brew methods available when we've been are:
  • Espresso - Brew Lab has a very fancy Seattle-built espresso machine (you can read all about it on their website) and they use their own 'Brew Lab' beans created by 'Has Bean'. We found this to be different to anything we'd tasted before. Light, with a bit of smokiness up front moving rapidly to a sour acidity. 
  • Kalita wave - A pour over style that uses a fine paper filter. This one has a flat bottom that contributes to an even distribution of the coffee and therefore balanced brew
  • Cold brew - Brew Lab make their own cold brew by soaking coffee overnight in water and triple filtering it. They offer it ready-bottled or on draught, infused with nitrous oxide so it feels and looks a bit like Guinness but speeds you up instead of slowing you down.
  • Siphon - (on Sundays) A vacuum brew method invented in the 1830s that looks a bit like a science experiment. Water is heated in a lower glass vessel and coffee grounds are placed in a top vessel with a filter in between. The two vessels are also connected by a separate tube that siphons the water up into the top vessel before it passes through the coffee grounds and filter and back into the lower vessel again, all driven by a gentle vacuum caused by heating water. The result is a light, soft, tea-like brew.
As we said, this is a place that seriously loves their coffee in all its shapes and forms. Locals can look forward to going with them on a coffee joy ride. For those who are looking to get more serious, Brew Lab also have a training lab so you can polish your barista skills.



  1. I cannot wait to try this place out!! Thanks for the review. Please continue to update, provides me with good inspiration to try new places!

  2. Visited brew lab a few times and indeed the coffee is grand. Just a question to folk out there, what are your thoughts on asking for a extra hot latte? First time my latte was good, but lukewarm (almost cold). So second time asked for extra hot. I got a lecture on milk temperatures and extra hot would mean burning the milk. I realise there is a science behind making coffee, but should that extend to making your customers feel like a pure idiot? I just like it the way I like it!

  3. @Anonymous - and so you should! As standard we steam our milk to between 60-70 degrees. This is the literal 'sweet spot' of milk. At this temperature the lactose (which is what gives milk a sweetness) dissolves and makes the milk lovely and sweet. Any higher and we risk burning the milk and spoiling the taste of the drink. However, we want people to enjoy their drink how they want it, so next time you're in, don't be afraid to ask for an extra hot latte - we'll happily make it for you. I'm sorry if you were made to feel like an idiot. That's not right at all. So wing me over and email - and we'd happily make you a coffee on us.

  4. Awww ..... Nice comment Dave. Actually I've visited you several times now and my latte has been ace. I actually think it was just that one time I was unlucky. Thanks for your message though, I like the vibe you have created. Good food too. I just wish you were open a little later so I could come for after work coffee hit. Cheers again.

  5. This is by far my fave coffee place in Edinburgh. Going to take some of my 'hipster' friends from Amsterdam there tomorrow - reckon they will love it!

  6. I think the staff in Brew Lab are arrogant and not friendly. I've taken a few friends there who all say the same. Yes the coffee is good, but you go to a coffee shop not just for the coffee.They make a lot of people unwelcome. What took the biscuit was being told by staff to buy something because they were busy - How rude. I will not be coming back here again.

  7. Rebeeca Hargreaves18 November 2014 at 17:20

    Yes I agree. The coffee is good, but the few times I have been there the staff are rude and walk about with real arrogance. Its just not welcoming. I hate to say it but I have noticed that the staff treat people differently. I have also taken my custom elsewhere as it seems this coffee shop only wants a certain type of clientele. Sorry Brew Lab - but it's true.

  8. Staff are rude, obnoxious. - what happened to service with a smile?? Wifi gets switched off during lunch hours and if you haven't bought a coffee within 5 minutes somebody comes over and asks you too. Ridiculous behaviour

  9. Absolutely obnoxious, rude and arrogant staff. The arrogance of the place just because they make coffee. Ask them a question and they respond with a superiority. The wifi gets switched off at lunchtime? They care more about getting people in and out the door than creating a nice, relaxing atmosphere. -10/10

  10. I love Brew Lab. I don't 'look the part' at all but the staff are always friendly and helpful with me. Could it be that some people see certain people and pre-label them as arrogant? In my experience, yes.

    As for the Wi-Fi being turned off at peak times, this is a business in a very busy part of Edinburgh. I wouldn't blame them if they didn't have Wi-Fi at all! There's almost nothing more frustrating than trying to get lunch or a drink and being unable to because people are sitting with their phones and MacBook, despite clearly having finished their one (usually cheapest on the menu) drink ages ago.