Edinburgh is a great city for so many different reasons: the history, the sights, the friendly people, the shopping, the fact that we have a volcano to hike up on. I could go on and on. But did you also know that Edinburgh has an amazing coffee scene? I could list about 20 different coffee shops off the top of my head that I frequent and would recommend to all you lovely people. But to prevent you from getting overwhelmed with choice, I’ll go ahead and break down Edinburgh’s coffee scene into a few manageable categories.

Whether you’re in the city for a day or a week, here are a bunch of places you absolutely need to check out.

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All photos by the author.

Best for good quality coffee

Let’s get straight to it. You’re on the hunt for a good coffee, so naturally, you’ll have to forego the large chains and their disappointing, watered down brew. Even though most independent coffee shops in Edinburgh will offer amazing quality coffees, I’ve got a few firm favourites that top them all. Let me share my top secret spots with you:

Fortitude Coffee: Fortitude Coffee opened it’s doors in 2014 and quickly made its mark on Edinburgh. The coffee shop doesn’t have a lot of seating available, simply because their main focus is on the quality of each and every cup of coffee rather than the décor. I’ve recently discovered my favourite ever coffee here: the Macchi-oato. Once a secret item not on the menu, this recent addition to Fortitude’s caffeine roster is a twist on the traditional macchiato made with deliciously creamy oat milk. The best part of the coffee is when you get a taste of the melted chocolate hiding at the bottom. I’m actually drooling just thinking about it.

Find them at 3C York Place
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8AM-6PM, Sat 10AM-6PM, Sun 11AM-4PM

Wellington Coffee: This is a no-nonsense place. It’s small but central, has good service and opens at 7 AM, which is great for all you morning people. Why is it one my favourites, you ask? Because they conjure up the best flat whites in town.

Find them at 33A George Street
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7AM-6PM, Sat 8AM-6PM, Sun 9AM-6PM

Brew Lab: Brew Lab is almost always full of people, and it’s really no wonder why. The baristas know what they’re doing and I’ve never left feeling anything but satisfied with my order.
Tip! If you don’t know what to order just get their famous cold brew. It comes in an Instagrammable glass bottle that you can take with you if you can’t finish it. I’ll admit that I’ve once left their coffee shop with about five of these in my handbag.

Find them at 6 – 8 South College St
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8AM-6PM, Sat & Sun 9AM-6PM

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Tropical café Hula.

Best for coffee + food

Coffee is important, but so is food. So where should one go to combine the two? I’ve got a breakfast and lunch favourite here that I’d love to share with you – and what’s great about them is that they both serve up loads of healthy dishes that’ll keep you energised all day long.

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Hula: This is the spot to go to when you need a) something delicious to fill your stomach with and b) you’re in need of a tropical holiday. The walls are covered in massive palm tree prints and tiger wallpaper, and all their smoothie bowls come served in coconut shells. Perfectly Instagrammable, if you ask me!
Tip! Do not miss out on their acai bowls and cinnamon lattes, trust me.

Find them at 103 – 105 West Bow
Opening hours: Every day 8AM-6PM

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Healthy treats at Milk Juicery.

Milk Juicery: If you’re running low on fuel, pop into the Milk Juicery for a healthy lunch. Their lunchtime meal deals usually include a healthy super bowl and a smoothie for a great price. I always tend to finish it off with a Bulletproof coffee for an extra kick of energy.

Find them at 19 Queensferry Street
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7.30AM-4 PM, Sat 9AM-4PM, Sun 10AM-4PM

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Treat yourself at Lovecrumbs.

Best for a sweet treat

Sometimes you just have to treat yourself, don’t you? A nice cake or doughnut is well-deserved. But where does one go in Edinburgh to find these? Read on to find out.

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Lovecrumbs: If you like cakes, this place in an absolute MUST. In fact, make sure to head over early in the day because the best cakes go fast! You will not find any dry, flavourless treats here. Every cake and brownie is made with a mixture of the best ingredients and pure love.
Tip! Try and get a seat by the window. It’s the perfect little nook to sit in and people-watch, cake and coffee in hand.

Find them at 155 West Port
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 9AM-6PM, Sun noon-6PM

Baba Budan: This place is so much more than just a coffee shop – it’s where great coffee and the world’s best doughnuts meet. They make their doughnuts on-site, with new exciting flavours on offer every day. Consider yourself lucky if you’re in town over the weekend because they offer something extra special from Friday to Sunday. That something special is doughnut french toast. And yes, it’s just as delicious as it sounds.

Find them at Arch 12, 17 East Market Street
Opening hours Mon-Tues 7.30AM-4PM, Wed-Fri 7.30AM-5PM, Sat-Sun 9AM-5PM

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Cairngorm Coffee Co: The perfect place to dig into those pesky emails at the bottom of your inbox.

Best for work

In between sightseeing, shopping or walking around the beautiful city you might need to tend to some e-mails. If so, I’ve got you covered. These stellar coffee spots will have you concentrating on that inbox in no time.

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Cairngorm Coffee Co: There are two of these in the city centre but the one located in the West End is my favourite. It’s actually described as a bright & productive environment”, which couldn’t sum it up any better. You can either spread out on one of their long wooden tables or have a seat by the window where they provide iPads. After finishing off all your hard work, you should treat yourself to one of their deliciously chewy Oreo brownies.

Find them at 1 Melville Place
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8AM-6PM, Sat-Sun 9AM-6PM

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Hyde and Son: The perfect marriage between laid-back Scandinavian design and a work positive environment.

Hyde and Son: This spot is the new kid on the block, having opened in summer 2017. It’s quickly become one of the most popular places in town and is now frequented by even Edinburgh’s most avid coffee lovers. Hyde & Son’s large windows and open spaces make for a beautifully roomy and sunlit locale. They’ve got seating choices of every type too – from large pillows on the floor to comfortable lounge chairs scattered around the space. The interiors have that Scandi-esque design element to it that makes you want to longe forever. In fact, if you end up staying for a while, you’ll discover that the café turns into a cosy wine bar in the evening. So you could very literally spend the whole day here and never miss a thing.

Find them at 127 George Street
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 7AM-11PM, Sun 8AM-10PM

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