Brew Lab, Edinburgh

6 Mar

So as you know from my last post I spent a sneaky last minute weekend in Edinburgh. Pat has been working up there so I felt it only fitting to go up and pay a visit! Edinburgh is a beautiful city and we crammed a lot into such a short time – staying true to ourselves, most of it revolved around food, drink and coffee!! (Hard sessions in the gym this week to make up for it…)

One of the places which we were recommended to pay a visit to was Brew Lab, South College Street. It’s a lovely coffee shop just off the main street, close to the university and surgical museum (which much to my disappointment was closed when we were there – it looks really quite cool!)

Brew Lab looks pretty modern from the outside, but inside it retains some of its old brickwork charm. The first thing you see are the amazing looking pastries and cakes (which I somehow spectacularly managed to refrain from gobbling up), and then the smiley faces behind the counter. It’s all set up a little like a chemistry lab (in the loosest sense of the word) – all coffee making paraphernalia is on show (featuring a very high tech looking kettle type thing built into the counter) and the coffee types are arranged on the wall as though they are part of the periodic table. Appealed to my scientific side, of course! We went relatively early on a Sunday and the atmosphere was really laid back. It’s very spacious inside, with a large table in the centre of the place, perfect for friendly get togethers, and more private, intimate tables spotted around with comfy sofas, partially hidden by walls and corners. There were a few people dotted around the place but it was really quite quiet, just the ticket for a Sunday morning coffee and a relaxed lazy read of one of the many Sunday papers available (for those of you that don’t know, reading more of the news and learning more about the world in general was one of my New Years’ Resolutions…so the paper has become a bit of an old, comforting friend!).

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The coffee beans seemed to be mainly from Has Bean (they seem to be doing pretty well for themselves as suppliers! Unsurprising to me as my brief encounters with them have been more than enjoyable – the team there are just incredible), although there were a couple of other suppliers which I noticed. I chose a skinny latte and Pat had a filter coffee. My latte was made beautifully, and the flavour was quite mild and nutty, with hints of gentle vanilla. I think I would have preferred this particular one as a flat white (after a particularly strong flat white elsewhere the day before I had decided to go for something a little less intense!). Pat’s filter was a great flavour – again quite mild and mellow but lovely and nutty, with subtle deep dark fruit tones. Perhaps this choice of beans was in fact, a little too mild for our tastes. His only gripe with his filter was that it was served in a small metal jug on the side – which although aesthetically pleasing, meant that the coffee dropped its temperature pretty quickly. He is someone who normally drinks his coffee brewed at temperatures below boiling (~95C, the proper way!), but even this was a little too lukewarm for him!

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Overall the place is well worth a visit; it’s great for intimate coffee dates yet accommodates for larger friendly get togethers too. The coffee is high quality, and the baristas are lovely too! If you fancy buying any of those crazy high tech aeropress coffee making madness things, they’re on offer as well. A coffee will set you back anything from around £2.00 – £3.00 (I’m still getting my head around the steep speciality coffee prices, but I guess you get what you pay for). As prices go in Edinburgh I can’t really compare, but it’s comparable with the London prices, and the coffee is high quality. A fine coffee drinking establishment! And the cakes look amazing too….

They’ve got a fantastic and informative website which you can check out here: www.brewlabcoffee.co.uk

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