EDINBURGH’S love affair with black gold has received another shot in the arm with the opening of a new coffee boutique catering for those who like to get theirs just right.
The latest addition to the Capital’s caffeine scene is nestled away on the luxury shopping street Multrees Walk, but don’t expect to waltz out clutching a steaming Styrofoam cup as each order can take two hours to process.
You see, this isn’t just any coffee shop. In fact, owner Nespresso is keen to stress that a “coffee shop” is exactly what it isn’t. The boutique houses a full range of the brand’s designed machines and accessories as well as 21 Grand Cru coffee capsules which can either be sampled by the non-converted at the tasting bar or picked up in bulk by those who have long since seen the caffeine-tinged light.
But you have to wonder, is there any real need for such a select store? Will shoppers be drawn? The folks at Nespresso think so, even roping in Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin to open this, its first boutique in Scotland – following on from stores in London, Beijing and San Francisco. The stats would seem to back them up, too. Compared with 2009, twice as many people now visit one of the hundreds of coffee shops dotted across the city each day. In Morningside alone there are more than 50 places in the space of just one mile to enjoy a coffee.
The drink’s boom is expected to continue, with the market forecast to grow by 25 per cent in the next five years.
We asked Nespresso why it felt posh coffee is so popular these days and if there really was a need for an entire shop dedicated to it?
“Today’s coffee drinkers are increasingly discerning, both in terms of tastes and sustainability,” a company spokesman said. “They want coffee that tastes good, but they also want to know where their coffee has come from and how it has been produced.
“As a business, Nespresso sees huge potential in Edinburgh, a city in which premium food and drink retailers and restaurants are continuing to thrive. Our new boutique offers customers a unique experience, providing access to some of the world’s highest quality coffee from the finest suppliers across the globe.”
Granted, coffee has come along way from the “penny universities” of old when coffee houses were a popular place to meet and read newsletters in 1660s Britain, but are folk really willing to fork out for it?
For Nespresso, the answer is a clear “yes”. Backing up its thinking is a recent survey which found that more than 60 per cent of people living in Scotland like to drink more than one coffee a day and more than 50 per cent would be happy to pay more than £2 for a quality cup of it.
Machines at the boutique start at £89, with a sleeve of ten capsules costing £3, making a quality cup of coffee, in the eyes of Nespresso at least, affordable in people’s own homes or workplaces.
To mark the shop’s opening, Tom Kitchin, the youngest Scottish chef ever to be awarded a Michelin star, has created a range of recipes using coffee while award-winning designer Judy R Clark fashioned a couture gown made from 1200 recycled Nespresso capsules.
Kitchin’s recipes include Roe Deer Carpaccio, Halibut Ceviche and Pumpkin and Coffee Tiramisu, each dish having been specially matched to one of the Nespresso Grand Cru range.
“At The Kitchin, our ‘From Nature to Plate’ philosophy means we’re absolutely committed to using the very best fresh, seasonal, local produce,” he says.
“When it comes to cooking with coffee, often people assume it only works well in sweet dishes, but in fact the bold flavour goes well in both sweet and savoury recipes. As an ingredient it can work well in sauces, marinades, stocks and soups.”
For award-winning designer Judy, this was a chance to collaborate creatively with a brand which reflects her passion for quality and design.
“I enjoy working with new and different materials, so when I was approached I jumped at the chance,” she says. “It was great to create something for a brand that has so much in common with my own work.
“Fashioning a unique and attention-grabbing gown with these beautiful recycled capsules was an exciting challenge and I am very pleased with the finished piece.”