Coffee Culture: Top Five Cafes In Edinburgh, Scotland

Scotland may not be the most populous city in the UK, or the European capital most famous for its coffee.

Edinburgh is a picturesque little city surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, yet unfortunately, it’s known more for its deep-fried mars bars than its coffee culture.

But it’s time to change that perception, and reveal the hidden cafe scene that Edinburgh has to offer.

Here are five of the finest coffee spots in Edinburgh, Scotland:

Cafes in Edinburgh

Photo courtesy of Fortitude.

1. Fortitude

Serving up the excellent UK coffee label Workshop, Fortitude is an Edinburgh gem.

Housed in a quaint-yet-stylish, classic-yet-airy space, this little cafe offers sweets from local baker Lovecrumbs to go with their lattes.

Located in central York Place, Fortitude is also just a stone’s throw from the Scottish Portrait Gallery, so you can make a cultural afternoon of it.

It’s a beautiful spot to curl up and read some short funny travel stories or even a collection of true life travel love stories.

Cafes in Edinburgh

Photo courtesy of Edinburgh Larder.

2. Edinburgh Larder

The people at Edinburgh Larder really know their stuff.

Specializing in fine, local Scottish fare, the Larder has two locations, including a bistro in the West End, but their sweetest spot is their inner-city cafe.

The food is fresh, seasonal, and eco-friendly, and the coffee simple and sublime.

Head to this Blackfriars Street establishment for lunch, then make the most of the many museums in the surrounding streets.

Cafes in Edinburgh

Photo courtesy of Spoon.

3. Spoon

In a pretty and relaxed cafe space, Spoon is all communal tables, comfy reading spots, and good coffee.

Their cakes are a favorite, as are their brunches, though this little spot is great at any time of day.

Just across from the Festival Theatre, they also cater to theater-goers with a special Pre-Theatre menu.

Cafes in Edinburgh

Photo courtesy of Peter’s Yard.

4. Peter’s Yard

Northern European regions unite in the lovely Peter’s Yard.

Though this establishment has a couple of locations, our favorite is their Quartermile bakery cafe.

On the edge of the university campus, next to the greenery of the Meadows, this cafe makes great coffee and Swedish baked goods.

All their sweets are wonderful, but you can’t go wrong with a cardamom bun and a mug of strong black coffee.

Cafes in Edinburgh

Photo courtesy of Brew Lab.

5. Brew Lab

Perfectly located to keep the university students charged up on caffeine, Brew Lab is a sleek, modern space with excellent espresso, pour-over, and even siphon coffee.

The perfect Old Town destination for a simple flat white or an exotic Sunday siphon mix.

6. The Elephant House

The Elephant House is an obligatory mention. J.K. Rowling wrote the first few Harry Potter books in this cozy cafe during winter, when she couldn’t afford heating in her home.

The Elephant now has drawers in their tables with paper and pens so you can start your own masterpiece.

It’s not as cool or as well-crafted as the other cafes on this list, but HP lovers often make the pilgrimage to sit (and even write) where their beloved saga was born.

What’s your favorite Edinburgh coffee spot? Please share in the comments below.

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Jessica Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.

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