Edinburgh: A Coffee-Fuelled Weekend

First- happy holidays/new year! Second, I’m back in Korea! Woohoo! After a very short (it was a month but went so fast!) trip home, I have finally made it back to Seoul and am currently in the midst of training for my new job. I’m a busy busy bee. BUT I have so much to share with you so let the blogging resume~

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One of the places I had the absolute pleasure of travelling to during my time at home was Edinburgh. Edinburgh is easily one of my favourite cities (shortly followed by Budapest or Barcelonna etc). It is where my sister went to University and now resides permentantly, so over the years I have visited her there as much as humanely possible. Edinburgh therefore holds a very special place in my heart. It is a city of endless beauty, dynamic atmosphere and  some of the most amazing coffee shops. Similar to Seoul, Edinburgh has it’s own kind of diverse coffee culture; there are many coffee shops that try to step away from the boring-coffee-norm and be a bit more experimental. The cafes are warm, cozy and always appropriately filled with students studying and laughter from general coffee-lovers.

While visiting my sister for a few days, I went to three coffee shops (including one of my all-time favourites and one brunchy place). If you’re visiting Edinburgh anytime soon then consider this as your unofficial guide of where to go.

So grab your kilt and your haggis and let’s get to it!~

1: Spoons

Spoons is one of those cafes I would always walk past when with my sister (being on one of the main roads in Edinburgh, near the Royal Mile), and she would say “I love this place- we should go there!” and we never had the time. But this time, we did! And yes it was well-and-truly worth the wait. Spoons is the epitome of the “cozy” and “warm” type cafe I was describing before. It’s the kinda of cafe you would be more than happy living in, as it feels very reminiscant of a slightly decadent living room/kitchen. The atmosphere was so bright and friendly, the staff were lovely, and the drinks were great! My sister has a regular latte and I, feeling a bit rough from my 6 hour train journey to Edinburgh and being very sick and barely able to talk, opted for a simple iced latte. One thing that I was reminded of very quickly since being in England is the fact that in the UK, usually if you order an iced latte the barista will often add some kind of sugar syrup as having coffee iced tends to make the flavour a bit more bitter than having it warm. In Korea this NEVER happens, so I had practically forgetton about this ritual completely. Now, if I wasn’t exhausted and a bit poorly (see above) I might have hated this, but I actually rather appreciated the little kick of sweetness. It wasn’t at all overpowering, it was just a dash so was rather pleasant but it did mask the flavour of the coffee quite a lot, which was a bit disappointing as I was craving something a bit stronger and more hardcore. However the overall flavour was one very similar to biscotti biscuits as it was sweet with a hint of almond. It also tasted rather earthy, which complimented the sweetness rather well.

Easily the best thing about this latte is the fact that they actually topped it with frothed latte milk! In Korea, an iced latte is literally just espresso topped with plain old milk- no bubbbles or nothin’. But the frothed milk made the coffee smooth and it was really pleasant.

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The best thing about the cafe overall? The music.
THe owners were blasting some classic/soft rock (is soft the right word?) and it was so good. A little bit of Elton John or David Bowie is NEVER  a bad thing. It matched the cafes vibe so well!

2: Black Medicine

If you’ve ever lived in Edinburgh then you’ll know Black Medicine. It’s actually a small Edinburgh-exclusive chain (I believe there are two or three?), and I just love everything about it. The main theme of this cafe is kind of dark wooden tribal? The furniture is basically completely made up of strangely shaped wooden pieces, the ceiling is adorned with a very beautiful kinda-gothic-looking chandalier, and there are several brightly painted wooden tottem poles climbing the corners of the room. The staff are always so lovely and friendly and it’s just the best vibe of any cafe I’ve ever visited. Honestly Black Medicine is probably one of the first places that kindled my love of coffee shops. I would often go there when visiting my sister and read or write and drink coffee after coffee.

The coffee itself is actually one of my favourites. As I started visiting this place before I was truly into coffee, I would only ever drink the latte. So that’s all I can ever bring myself to order when I go- to have anything like an americano or flat white would just be wrong…it would feel disloyal to my former self (old habits die hard, you know?). It’s the kind of cafe you could easily spend hours in, curled up in the corner by the large old-style victorian windows, latte in one hand and a novel in the other. There’s truly nothing I could fault about this place. If I could only visit one cafe for the rest of my life- this would be it.
P.S. the ham and cheese croissant is life-changing.

Special brunchy mention:

3: Hemma

Seriously craving brunch one morning, my sister, her boyfriend, and I decided to visit Hemma. A place that serves delicious prodiminantly vegan or vegetarian food, it is 100% worth a visit. I had the savoury pancakes (filled with spinach, sweet potato, feta, rocket etc) and goodness they were superb. Their use of all the vegetables and fresh ingredients made the food so bright and delicious. Brunch is usually full of a lot of carby/starchy foods, but this one did not leave me feeling sluggish at all due to the lightness of the pancake and the inclusion of all the greens/super food. My sister had some kind of sccrambled egg with mushrooms on bread topped with feta and drizzled with honey. It reminded me so much of the Korean Gorgonzola pizza you can buy here that is served with honey for dipping or glazing. It sounds awful but honestly it is an astronomical breakthrough.
Served with an English Breakfast tea on the side, my brunch was a truly delightful thing. So yes. If you’re vegetarian/vegan/love yummy food, go here.

If you’re visiting Edinburgh then please visit at least one of these places. If you’re not, simply google “edinburgh coffee shop” and spend a few minutes/hours marvelling in there beauty and sheer coziness/aesthetic. You will not be disappointed.

That’s all for now! Sorry for being a bit MIA lately, but I’m back in Korea now so the normal upload schedule with commense once again.

Happy sipping!~

Laura

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