The best Edinburgh coffee shops to suit your personality
Brew Lab – for coffee connoisseurs
This contemporary coffee house has the University of Edinburgh running through its veins. Firstly, Brew Lab is the brainchild of former students Tom Hyde and David Law, who spent years planning the opening of Edinburgh’s first artisan coffee bar in 2012.
Secondly, it’s housed in a former University of Edinburgh building, which has been stripped back to its rustic roots and filled with quirky pieces of reclaimed furniture.
Thirdly, it’s within walking distance of the halls at Potterrow and Teviot Row House student union. Factor in a training lab in the basement, where ‘home and professional baristas’ can hone their craft, and this place has certainly found its niche. Pop in if your palette will only tolerate the very finest of filter coffees, or you just want to learn to pour latte art like a pro.
Brew Lab, 6-8 South College Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AA. Open every day.
The Elephant House – for quirky coffee drinkers
We’re just going to get straight to the point with this one: J.K. Rowling wrote large parts of her Harry Potter books here. And if that wasn’t enough to send you charging straight to the doors of The Elephant House, the fact that other fans include fellow authors Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall-Smith will.
Whether there’s some sort of secret creativity booster in the water here, we don’t know. But one thing’s for sure: this place is really popular. Lunchtime heralds a slew of coffee-lovers looking for a decent cuppa and a hearty lunch. And the back room – which has a great view of Edinburgh Castle – has been known to transform into a live music venue in the evening.
As for what to drink, there’s a choice of three straight coffees on the menu – all made with arabica beans, of course – plus a different specialty blend every week. It’s perfect if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to be blinded by science when you order, but you do want to know you’re getting the good stuff.
The Elephant House, 21 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EN. Open every day.
Lovecrumbs – for chilled-out caffeine fans
This one wins the award for best name, and for dedication not just to coffee, but also to cake. Lots of cake. And tarts, and brownies, and doughnuts, and… you get the drift.
Lovecrumbs came about as a collaboration between baker Rachel and coffee-lover Hollie, who set up shop in West Port in 2012. Everything has a local feel – the bulk of specialty coffee comes courtesy of Edinburgh coffee roasters, Steampunk, and there’s a great line of Anteaques tea – another Edinburgh-based outfit.
As for decor, giant colourful cushions set the dial to relaxed, as do the students who visit from next-door Edinburgh College of Art. That means it’ll be right up your street if you tend to drink your coffee in your slippers, or just want to wash it down with a huge slab of cake.
Plus, there’ll be more savoury options appearing on the menu very soon, as the place is set to have a bit of a revamp since Rachel and Hollie parted ways. The upshot? You can get yourself comfy and stay all day.
Lovecrumbs, 155 west port, Edinburgh EH3 9DP. Open every day.
And once you've tried and tested what the coffee shops have to offer, why not explore other parts of the city such as Edinburgh Castle and Arthur's Seat. If you need a few more ideas, our city guide gives you the rundown on what you can get up to on your next trip. And best of all, we've got some great deals on travel to Edinburgh. So why not book now.