Wednesday 23 March 2016

Cairngorm West End

1 Melville St
Open every day
Espresso, V60, batch brew
Coffee: Guests
Also: Meals, cakes, beans
Coolness: Find your coffee zen in this beautiful, airy, copper & wood cafe

Cairngorm West End (5♥) brings together classic Edinburgh architecture, Scandi-inspired smooth lines and specialist coffee infatuation.

Before getting on to the main act - the coffee - a quick overview of the food. You can expect options that suit early breakfast through to evenings. Granola and fruit, pastries, avocado on toast, high-end filled rolls from Manna, soup and the signature, somewhat epic, grilled cheese sandwiches appear on the menu.

And now the coffee. Robi Lambie has some seriously shiny gear that promises to help him achieve his dream of producing great coffee while maintaining an unwavering focus on his customer service. He's the proud owner of a San Remo Opera espresso machine - there are very few of these super high end machines in the UK. Robi's looking forward to refining the art of pressure profiling using the bluetooth app that controls the  the variables of each of the three group heads. Sitting cosily next to the Opera is his Mythos Victoria Arduino double grinder set that maintains the temperature of the beans regardless of the length of the coffee queue, keeping a perfect and consistent grind.

For filter coffee, the team will use a Mahlkonig grinder that will feed both individual coffee pour over as well as his Marco batch brewer. The latter is yet to take off in Edinburgh but we're sure it won't be long. It allows baristas to brew large quantities of high quality Kalita Wave style pour over, which means customers can be served quickly - especially good for the pre-work rush. In our opinion it's tastier, more complex and softer textured than an Americano.

Tea lovers are also in for a treat with Dutch company Crusio Tea on the menu. They directly source high quality tea for shops and homes and have a tea master in every country where they buy tea leaves including Japan, China, Nepal and Sri Lanka. They spend time with growers to develop and the flavours of their teas.

The more immediate wow-factor for most customers when they visit, however, is the decor which is something special indeed. The shop front is charmingly curved, with large counter-to-ceiling windows that face both Queensferry Road (which is called Melville Place for this single block) and Melville Street. The colour scheme is light and bright, softened with natural tones of the polished concrete servery, warm-toned hanging lamps and three chunkily elegant copper and oak long tables that radiate into the middle of the shop like glamorous jetties. These are communal tables with white shapley stools lined up on each side. Toward the back of the shop there's a recessed room with tongue-in-groove light grey walls that tips its hat to the decor of the original Cairngorm Coffee in Frederick Street. It has a similar copper and oak 8-seater table and chairs, presenting a cosier option for diners.

Robi's also fitted out a room downstairs with a more British traditional decor as a meeting room space that's available to hire (combine work with great coffee - brilliant!). It has a long table that seats up to 11 people and meeting facilities such as projector and wifi.

So all in all, in case you hadn't realised by now, we're big fans of this place!



  1. Visited this new coffee place today. Good location and interesting interior with plenty of seating. However, front door was wide open on a cold Easter Day was a drawback along with the over loud music blasting from the speakers was not conducive to a relaxing coffee and a read of the newspapers. Pleasant staff produced an attractive looking cappuccino let down by it being at best look warm and a whopping £2:70 for a very small cup! Potentially this corner shop cafe could do well but a cold atmosphere, cold coffee and loud inappropriate music will be attractive only to "cool" under 25's.

  2. Nice place but my tea was only luke warm. asked politely for a heat up - was I really asking a lot?? Grumpy reception and a bit more luke warm water was added. Wont be back.