As promised I wanted to share my favourite coffee shops in Edinburgh. These are mostly set in the Old Town area and in Leith as that is where I work and live.
I am a caffeine fiend and will always slip into a coffee shop in between tours and I’ve selected these establishments based on their quality of coffee, friendliness of staff and the cosy atmosphere inside (all in my opinion). In no particular order…
5 Upper Bow, Edinburgh.
The Hideout Cafe has two establishments, one in Leith and one in the Old Town. Both are excellent cafes (the Leith one is larger and has a bigger food menu) but for this post I want to talk about the Old Town Hideout Cafe. Situated on the Upper Bow, just off of the Royal Mile this place genuinely is a “hideout”. Tucked neatly in the corner in between the bustling Royal Mile and Victoria Street this cafe is a sanctuary to escape the busy streets.
The decor inside is very cool, much like it’s sister cafe in Leith, and vintage themed with old tape decks, boom boxes and lots of tape cassettes (remember them?!)
The coffee is excellent too, expect to pay £2.70 for a latte/cappuccino, and I like that in the hot summer months they also serve a nice iced latte. They also have a small chill cabinet which offers sandwiches and baked items. If you want somewhere cosy and quiet to relax whilst you are playing tourist in Edinburgh then seek out the Hideout Cafe.
Zebra Coffee Co.
16 Bank Street, Edinburgh.
Another favourite of mine near the Royal Mile is Zebra Coffee. This cafe is quite compact but that does give it a cosy feel and there’s also a secret garden seating area at the back.
The coffee on offer is great, I usually opt for a Mocha so that I can get my full chocolate fix alongside their famous brownies. Their window display full of brownies and other gooey goodness is what will draw you in and for good reason. They usually have at least three different varieties of homemade brownies – my particular favourite is the Terry’s chocolate orange brownie.
They also have a decent brunch menu including bagels, pancakes and full scottish breakfasts (veggie options are also available). Expect to pay around £2.90 for a coffee.
Head to Zebra Coffee if you want to feel all warm and cosy inside. I especially love the fact that it’s situated inside a traditional Edinburgh stone tenement building and you can really feel that when you’re inside.
Union Brew Lab
6-8 South College Street, Edinburgh.
Brew Lab is the place to go if you’re a coffee aficionado and appreciate the art of coffee making. They have highly qualified baristas that make specialty coffee and their mission from the outset is to serve single origin speciality grade coffee. The coffee menu is extensive, they offer filters, espresso and cold brews, hot chocolates and teas. I usually opt for a cold brew and a filled doughnut, trust me they are delicious.
Part of the coffee shop is also a retail shop, which sells coffee beans, coffee making equipment and books.
The decor inside is very trendy and I love the exposed stonework and thick wooden interiors. Expect to pay around £3.00 for a coffee, if you are in the area and want to treat yourself to some speciality sourced coffee then head inside!
274 Leith Walk, Edinburgh.
Artisan Coffee can be found half way down Leith Walk on the corner with Balfour Street. This modern coffee shop has a very laid back, friendly vibe and offers outstanding strong coffee, they use Sons of Amazon Coffee, the UK’s strongest coffee brand. They also offer Turkish coffee, teas and my personal favourite – a freddo cappuccino. Expect to pay around £2.50-£3.00 for a coffee.
Artisan Coffee also has a good range of alternative milks and vegan options on their menu. In terms of food, you can try their homemade soup, vegetarian breakfasts, toasties and vast range of desserts. If it’s a sunny day in Leith, take advantage of their outdoor seating area. The coffee shop is also part of the Leith Walk Scheme to help businesses through the disruption of the tram works. People are being offered £10 vouchers for £5 to spend on a range of businesses the length of Leith Walk.
Purchase the voucher from here.
*Valid until August 2021.
46 Easter Road, Edinburgh.
At the top end of Easter Road you’ll find the Little Fitzroy coffee shop and if you head there early in the morning you’ll spot a flurry of caffeine fiends getting their morning fix. They are open from 7am on a Monday morning.
What I like about this place is that they support many locally sourced coffee roasters, they are passionate about their coffee and you can tell that straight away. I usually opt for a classic cows milk latte when I visit, but they also offer coffees made with plant milks and have a great selection of vegan friendly bakes. Vegan cinnamon rolls anyone?
If you need a little bit of a fiery kick in the morning then you can try their ginger and turmeric shots and you can take the reusable glass bottle back for a discounted refill. If you want to support the local coffee scene, head to Little Fitzroy and if you enjoy the coffee on offer they also have the opportunity for you to purchase the coffee beans.
Black Medicine Cafe
2 Nicholson Street, Edinburgh.
Black Medicine Cafe is an Edinburgh coffee house institution, having been on Nicholson Street since 1998. I began visiting here when I was a student back in the day, and still go there regularly. The interior is beautiful with natural wood panels, one of a kind tables and overall a very chilled bohemian vibe.
In terms of coffee, they are great at what they do. The baristas take great care in preparing your drink and if you like latte art, you’ll like this place. I usually opt for a mocha or latte and you always get a wee cinnamon biscuit on the side. It’s these nice little touches that make a place feel homely. I can also highly recommend their homemade lemonade. Black Medicine also offers light lunches and cakes, including filled bagels and paninis. If you are exploring the Old Town or in the mood to hibernate with a good book – head to this cafe and try and find a window seat (they are very popular though).
I have linked the coffee shops websites so you can check their updated times and practices through the Covid-19 pandemic. I have visited all of the coffee shops within the last 3 months and can say that they are all following strict hygiene rules.
Follow me on Instagram for more coffee stops at @travelkattours.