Edinburgh’s five best coffee spots

Edinburgh's best coffee

I may be literally addicted to caffeine–I get headaches if I don’t have enough daily…oops–but that doesn’t mean that I’l drink any old coffee. I’m not at the stage of only drinking nitrate coffee brewed by hipster unicorns, but I think instant coffee is the drink of the devil and loathe foam or anything too milky, so it’s flat whites all the way for me. Luckily I live in a city full of brilliant independent coffee shops and even in the six months since I moved here, Mr Mouse and I have found several favourites.

Artisan RoastThe Stockbridge branch our most frequent haunt, as we grab coffee on our way for a walk in the Botanic Gardens. I love that they roast their own beans, which means that they’re always super fresh, they change the variety fairly frequently, and the flat whites have a real punch. The food is good (especially the pastrami bagels, below) and they always have great dogs visiting too.

Artisan Roast coffee shop pastrami bagel

Cairngorm CoffeeI think Cairngorm’s coffee is my favourite out of these five. They may not roast their own but they use beans from The Barn, which is my favourite place in Berlin, and always get the temperature of the milk spot on (sounds poncy but it’s important, promise). They also do possibly the best toasties in the world. There’s a bigger one on Melville Place but it tends to be populated by suits having meetings, so we prefer the diddy basement one on Frederick Street.

Castello Coffee CoAnother minute cafe that serves excellent coffee, this little gem is literally 50 yards from Prince’s Street but somehow the crowds don’t seem to find it, thankfully. There are only about 5 indoor seats but you can also brave the weather and sit outside (and have a view of the Castle). The filled croissants are rather good too.

Brew Lab CoffeeProbably the most hipster of the five here, Brew Lab is a mecca for serious coffee lovers (and students, due to its proximity to campus). Not the place for you if your preferred order is a venti pumpkin spiced caramel anything, but they do make a very good flat white, and the variety of filter coffees is slightly mind-boggling. Excellent doughnuts and sandwiches, and they also run coffee masterclasses in their special ‘training lab’, which should tell you all you need to know.

Café W in Waterstones: My last pick is possibly a bit unexpected, but the Café W in Waterstones West End is lovely. The coffee is good, the cupcakes come from the amazing Cuckoo Bakery (the black bottom ones are incredible, and I’m really not a cupcake person), and the veggie chilli will warm you on even the coldest Edinburgh days. The fact that you’re surrounded by books and that there’s a view of Edinburgh Castle is an added bonus.

Do you have any recommendations for coffee shops?

- Any product marked with an '*' is a PR sample. All reviews are 100% honest regardless of whether I bought the item myself or was sent it. Links may be affiliate, which means that I get a small commission if you use them -