I'm not going to write a huge amount in this post as I don't feel educated enough in coffee to do so. In fact I only started drinking coffee 6 months ago. I'm still playing it safe with Mochas too.
Whilst in Edinburgh I noticed that another food blogger happened to be visiting Edinburgh too. Richard who writes Them Apples posted a picture on Instagram of a coffee place I had walked past the day before. Interested I asked him if it was a place he would recommend.
So on our final day in Edinburgh a very tired D and me decided to pay a visit.
Brew Lab describes itself as an artisan coffee bar, so for the fellow uneducated it's a skilled way of making coffee in a traditional or non-mechanised way with high quality ingredients.
They serve single origin brewed coffees and espressos. If like me you read this and was like 'what the hell does that mean' a quick search on wikipedia tells me that it is:
"coffee grown within a single known geographical origin. Sometimes this is a single farm, or a specific collection of beans from a single country. The name of the coffee is then usually the place it was grown to whatever degree available. Single-origins are viewed by some as a way to get a specific taste, and some independent coffee shops have found that this gives them a way to add value over large chains." Wikipedia (Aug, 2014)
Seriously, writing this post is an education in itself.
They also serve cold brew, another new concept to me, basically it's cold coffee. Apparently not like the coffee you get when you accidentally get distracted by the latest controversial tweet-thread and lift your cup to find that your coffee went cold half an hour ago, no apparently this is good stuff. Nice cold coffee... Here's the blurb from the website about it:
"The cold brew is steeped over night for 16 hours in cold water. The long, cold extraction creates a really balanced and naturally sweet coffee to refresh you when you’re sweltering on a hot Edinburgh day in the meadows. We don’t put anything in it other than single origin coffee from Has Bean, and our wonderful Edinburgh water." Brew Lab (Aug, 2014)
Sounds intriguing... next time I'll give it a try if someone could point me in the direction of these Edinburgh meadows?
Anyway, back to my experience. Stepping into this place I was immediately terrified. There was only two ways this could play out... If I tried to play it cool and pretend to know what I was talking about whilst ordering my coffee my cover would blown immediately and I would be shown up the for the shambles I am. Or I could simply be honest and say I know nothing about coffee and could they please give me some helpful advice on what they thought was the best thing I could order and tell me all about where it came from and how it was made etc etc.
When it came to it, my dopey sleepy head still on, all that came out of my mouth was 'erm... I could use some help I have no idea what to order'. Hmmm. He asked what I normally ordered from coffee places and I cringed and closed one eye (I don't know why I do this) and said a mocha. He didn't look down on me from his great big coffee pedistool but was graceful and recommended a milk blend. I didn't know what this was but said sure it sounded great.
D played it safe and asked for a tea, then looked perplexed when they asked if breakfast tea would be fine. I said it would and ordered a blondie too. We were given a plank of wood with a number on and told that it would be brought over to us. Okay, I exaggerate it wasn't a plank but it wasn't what you'd call a stick either. Far more substantial.
Here is D's tea complete with timer so he knew when it was brewed and ready to pour. A nice helpful little quirk showing they're not completely ignoring tea drinkers.
Below you will see our blondie which we shared, which I wished we had one each as soon as we started eating it. It was sweet with a bit of salt, chewy and full of texture. I loved it.
Next up was my coffee which took a little bit longer. Looks pretty stunning to me. There is an attempt of latte art on there not the neatest I've seen but I think it took the barista a while to find us as switched places as soon as a bog comfy sofa became available so I imagine it became a bit distorted.
I am starting to learn that coffees can taste completely different depending on where you go. There is a harshness to some, some are smooth, some are more bitter, some have a lot more flavours to them than just that 'coffee taste'. This one was decisively smooth and packed full of different flavours with a hint of chocolate.
The 'lab' is up-to-date in terms of current fashions for coffee shops/bars/eateries which is an unfinished stripped back look.
Complete with moody customers, people working hard on their Macs, students, and hipsters... and then the bewildered tourists (that was us).
I definitely recommend a visit if you're in to your coffee and know a lot more than I do. It's not badly priced and there is plenty of space for everyone to take a seat.
Now... who wants to give me a lesson on coffee?
6-8 South College Street