While large chains still retain a visible presence across Edinburgh, the capital’s thriving independent coffee scene is stronger than ever, with dozens of smaller cafes becoming firm favourites of local residents and visitors alike.
Whether seeking out the best international offerings or simply looking for somewhere to grab a caffeine hit on the go, the capital has something for coffee lovers of all tastes.
These are our top five independent coffee shops to check out in Edinburgh.
The Bluebird Cafe, Canonmills
Canonmills may not be the first place that comes to mind when think of the Southern United States, but that doesn’t mean The Bluebird Cafe skimps on the authenticity. With just 14 seats inside, what the Bluebird lacks in size, it makes up for with a stunning offering of coffee and treats with a daily-changing menu. Incredibly, the venue also hosts live music - country, in keeping with the theme - and the food is all good Southern fare, the bourbon brownie comes highly recommended.
Artisan Roast, Broughton Street
Started by a Chilean and a New Zealander and with two sister cafes in Kuala Lumpur, Artisan Roast brings a distinctly international flavour to the capital’s coffee scene. The original on Broughton Street is by far the most popular and plays to its global theme, offering the best from far flung locations including Ethiopia and Costa Rica,
Casa Amiga, Leith Walk
Bringing a slice of Lisbon’s cafe culture to the streets of Leith, Portuguese coffee house Casa Amiga has been a favourite with locals since opening in 2014. The DELTA coffee imported from Portugal is fantastic and few are able to resist the temptation of their delectable pastel di natas - custard tarts.
Papli, Hanover Street
Located just off Princes Street, Papii has become a popular haunt for those looking to unwind after a dose of retail therapy. The comfortable and warm interior is the perfect place to catch up with friends and the menu extends beyond the usual coffee offering to include milkshakes and a host of traditional Greek treats.
The Milkman, Cockburn Street
Surrounded by the bigger chains, it would be easy to miss The Milkman at the base of Cockburn Street, but the stylish coffee house has quietly carved out a reputation as one of the best places to grab a cup on the go in the city centre. Its giant window seat is prime space for people watching and the massive gluten-free cake offering is unrivalled.