In the last year, Edinburgh has experienced a coffee shop trend. With speciality cafés popping up all over the city, you can easily be overwhelmed for choice. Here are 10 cafés perfect for fulfilling all your caffeine needs.

Cult Espresso

coffee, beer, espresso, wine
Alexandra Clark

Cult is located on Buccleuch Street just around the corner from the university. Just like the TARDIS, Cult is surprisingly large on the inside despite its small entrance. When I went in to have a chat with the baristas about the speciality coffee, I got the impression they wanted their customers to have a fun and relaxing experience as evidenced by the Peg Games at every table. They buy their coffee from Round Hill Roastery in Bath and the coffee beans are also available to be bought by the bag.

If you're not feeling like coffee, they also sell wonderful tea which they source from Anteaques. All the lunch is prepped in the café, with options of sandwiches, soup and quiche. To add on to all of this, they buy in some wonderful cakes from The Manna House Bakery and Patisserie. I would seriously recommend the blueberry and lavender cake, both cake and frosting are deliciously light and fluffy. 

Machina Espresso

Alexandra Clark

Machina Espresso has two locations in Edinburgh giving you all the more opportunities to try their coffee. One is at Tollcross and the other is on Nicolson Street. What makes Machina special is that they roast their own coffee at a roastery in Peffermill. I found the coffee incredibly tasty and I know that I will probably become a regular there.

There's a warm atmosphere thanks to local art on the walls and lovely jazz music playing in the background. If it's not a day for coffee, tea from Anteaques is also provided. Breakfast and lunch items such as smoothie bowls and toasted sandwiches are provided throughout the day till 7pm. You can then top this off with a delicious cake from Bostock Bakery or Manna House. 

Brew Lab

coffee, tea, beer, wine
Alexandra Clark

Brew Lab is located on South College Street which is right next to the university. The excellence of its coffee is evidenced by the need for ninja abilities to grab yourself a seat among throngs of students. They serve a different kind of specialty coffee for their filter, black, and white but if you want something slightly different you can buy Cold Brew Coffee which they wholesale across the UK.

A selection of treats from places such as Baba Budan and Le Petit Français are on offer. You can also have tea from Pekoetea or if that doesn't take your fancy, they also sell beer in the café. If you're really into your caffeine you can even take training classes to improve your domestic coffee making skills. 

Leo's Beanery

coffee, beer, tea, wine, cake
Alexandra Clark

Leo's Beanery has locations in Tollcross, Infirmary Street and Howe Street. They use speciality coffee from Hand-on Coffee, located in Cornwall. The coffee is a mixed blend of 80% Brazilian beans and 20% Sumatra beans and is ground to order to make sure that it is fresh.

All of their cakes are handmade—watch out for their award-winning brownie. There is a range of non-coffee drinks on offer such as tea from The Tea Experience in Yorkshire, Chai which they blend themselves, and handmade hot chocolate. On top of all of this you can have a full sit down lunch. The Infirmary Street location has a particularly wonderful menu. 

Baba Budan

toast, coffee, tea
Alexandra Clark

Baba Budan is located on East Market Street at The Arches. Since it's just down the road from Waverley train station, it's perfect for picking up a quick coffee before catching your train. For their filter coffee, Square Mile Coffee is used and for their espresso coffee they provide The Coffee Collective, both of which are wonderful and can be bought by the bag.

They have a range of teas which are bought from T2. However, what really makes this café special is the handmade doughnuts they sell. With different flavours being offered everyday, I only wish I could be there all the time. If you want, you can even have ice-cream from Affogato in your doughnut.  For lunch, bagels filled with delicious cheeses and cured meats are on offer from I.J Mellis. 


beer, coffee, tea, wine
Alexandra Clark

Fortitude is located on York Street just round the corner from St Andrew Square. This is the place that baristas all over the city recommended to me. It is a small space but it's definitely worth it because the coffee is divine. Their beans are from Workshop Coffee based in London but the specialty coffee changes seasonally and the guest roaster is changed weekly.

At lunchtime, you can buy the incredible Union of Genius soup and sandwiches from Manna House Bakery. To top it off, you have try the tempting treats provided from suppliers such as The Bearded Baker which pair exceptionally well with Anteaques tea available. 


Alexandra Clark

Lowdown is located on George Street hidden away on a basement floor. The open plan layout makes it stand out from other places. The idea is to allow the customers and baristas to have more interaction with each other and for people to feel more social and relaxed. Their coffee is particularly special because they only use coffee beans that have a rating of 90+ and they grind their espresso beans with an EK43 grinder.

For their espresso, they use Colonna and for their filter they are currently using April and Koppi. What is even more unique about them is that they are the only café in the UK that sell Postcard tea from London. With all the cakes and lunch made on site, you are guaranteed to eat some delicious food.  Compartes chocolate and Colonna Nespresso pods can also be bought in the café. 


coffee, milk, cappuccino, espresso, chocolate, mocha
Alexandra Clark

Cairngorm have two locations in Edinburgh, one being on Frederick Street and the other on Melville Place. Both of these are prime locations and are always very busy.  Their current speciality coffee is Caravan Coffee Roasters and three kinds of beans are being used for filter, black and white, which are La Palmera, Gutiti and Paulina Lopez. However, this changes seasonally so make sure you get down there every time it changes.

On your coffee-free days, you can have their tea from Crusio who are based in the Netherlands. The lunch options of avocado toast and grilled cheese have become quite well known and I would definitely recommend trying them. There is a range of cakes from independent bakers across Edinburgh to choose from, but the real winner is the gluten-free brownie which is so fudgy and chewy you wish it would never end.  


coffee, tea
Alexandra Clark

Filament is located on Clerk Street which is near the Meadows. They are currently using specialty coffee from Hasbean Hella with a bean from Costa Rica. For something even more refreshing than a coffee in the morning you have the option of fresh juices and smoothies. On their menu is a wide selection of fillings and spreads to put on bagels, from banana and honey to the classic smoked salmon and cream cheese. If that's not enough, try one of the wonderful doughnuts made by The Bearded Baker. If you're lucky on some afternoons you will find they have live music which provides a very relaxing atmosphere.

Castello Coffee 

coffee, tea, beer
Fatimata Seck

Their specialty coffee is supplied by Allpress Espresso and if you’re really dedicated, you can even buy your own bag. Tea from Pekoetea and amazing hot chocolate from Edward and Irwyn means that you can drag your non coffee-loving friends along with you. For something beyond coffee, you can choose from their delicious homemade sandwiches and soup, plus scrumptious cakes from Leo's Beanery.