IN EDINBURGH, COME IN OR ELSE NO COFFEE
"Come in, or else no coffee". Already the CULT sign outside the coffee shop promises a place that does not only provide quality coffee but also has its fair share of dark humor. As I appreciate a character with an edge (in all things, really) I stopped by on a Sunday afternoon, shortly before hopping on a plane back to Brussels. Upon entering, it seemed liked stepping into a tunnel made of red brick. Overall, this place has an industrial feel to it with its blend of wooden furniture, exposed brick walls and concrete floors. Having lived in Vietnam for a few months I could appreciate the black 'n red propaganda posters that are decorating the wall. When you reach the light at the end of the tunnel you'll be rewarded with extremely friendly service by guys who really know their stuff. Plus, the Kees Van Der Western espresso machine with the Cult logo is a real looker!
There were two options available for espresso based drinks, a Mexican coffee roasted by Round Hill from Bath (Ernie) and a guest coffee from Costa Rica roasted by Horsham (Bert). The owners experiment regularly with different coffee rosters for the guest option, which keeps it interesting for people who love trying new flavours. You might be asked if you were happy with your coffee and because these guys take their business very seriously they will make you another one if you have the slightest hesitation in your answer. Another perk at CULT are the little games on the table to entertain yourself with. Be aware of the comment you leave them on Tripadvisor though as it might be featured on their sign outside the door, much to my amusement I must admit ;-)
104 Buccleuch Street
EH8 9NE Edinburgh
MO - FRI 8:00-18:00
SAT 10:00 - 18:00
SUN 10.00 - 17.00
Cairngorm Coffee Company
I was a pilgrim on the search for black gold, walking the streets of Edinburgh in great company, laughing, joking and breathing in endless opportunities. Going to a coffee shop can seem like such an ordinary thing, but for me it is freedom. The fact, that I can just sit there in the middle of the day, live in the moment, taste delicious coffee and move on to wherever I please is a privilege (all those creative minds pressed into a 9-5 scenario will know what I am talking about).
Anyway.... On this particular day my intuition brought me to Cairngorm Coffee Company, a little downstairs café in new town Edinburgh with extremely welcoming baristas and great coffee. Cairngorm was opened in 2014 by Robi Lambie and is proudly featuring coffee roasted by the local roaster Mr. Eion (see my blog for a feature on him). The place is also famous for its extremely tasty grilled cheese sandwich, which I ordered for breakfast and devoured almost in one go.
When walking down the stairs to enter we passed by the little outside space, where you can lean against skateboards converted into backrests. The inside of Cairngorm is a mix of rustic wooden furniture and modern elements, such as tablets resting on a wooden bar. In case you are wondering about the name, Cairngorm is a mountain range in Scotland, which explains why the logo features two snowy mountain peaks. Looking at the interior design, it does remind me of a charming, simple wooden cabin somewhere in the mountains. The ceiling is plastered with coffee bags and here and there bulbs stick out to exude warm light.
Now let's talk coffee: While Mr. Eion is a regular in this place, changing guest coffees provide diverse flavours to coffee lovers with an experimental streak. For espresso based drinks Cairngorm had a Guatemalan option roasted by Small Batch and for filter coffee a Mexican roast from Small Batch as well. As I am a sucker for fruity flavours i went for LaChuchilla, the single origin from Guatemala, and was very happy with my choice.
41a Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 1EP, UK
MO - FRI 7:30-20:00
SAT - SUN 9:00-18:00