Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mini Coffee Tour of Edinburgh City Centre.

Travel tip: invest in lacy knickers. Because they'll air-dry on your windowsill much, much faster than those darn cotton panties.

After researching the best coffee shops for studying via websites like Yelp and various student forums, I dedicated my afternoon to tucking in with a nice cup of tea and some homework.

Over the course of about six hours, I hit up four coffee shops.

Of course, over the past two and a half days, I think the grand total of coffee shops has come to 11. But that includes hippity-hopping in and out really fast for a flat white and a banana on the go, and two of the places were Starbuckses, so they only kind of count. I don’t remember the names of most of the coffee shops, but I remember the four I visited this afternoon!

One of the really cool things about the UK is its dedication to Fair Trade goods, especially coffee, tea, and chocolate. I can't tell you how many places I've been to that make a point to advertise their Fair Trade certified coffee. Which is A-okay by me.

So here’s the low-down:

Brew Lab: This was the first place I visited, and for studying purposes, definitely the best. I spent nearly three hours here, and the only reason I left was because I was personally feeling antsy and couldn’t focus anymore. I was one of many students who were crashing for hours on end, and nobody there seemed to mind. There were also a TON of electrical outlets. The food and drinks were good, too!

The Black Medicine Coffee Co.: I literally walked down to the corner and across the street from Brew Lab to get here. The Earl Grey tea was fabulous here, and the wifi was free, but I couldn’t find any outlets. Plus, it was a smaller floorplan, so I felt more intrusive staying here for a long time.

Kilimanjaro Coffee: This coffee shop was just down the street from the Black Medicine Coffee Co. I was able to get a seat by the window, which was nice, but again I couldn’t find any outlets. I didn't stay here for very long (really I think after three hours at one place, I wouldn't be able to crash anywhere else for more than 45 minutes), but I think the people here would have been cool with it if I had.

Elephant House: I ended my tour at the place which touts itself as “the birthplace of Harry Potter.” I actually got a proper dinner here. You have to wait to be seated, probably because of the popularity level. The food was good, the service was fine, and the "Relaxer" (a latte with decaf espresso) was some of the best coffee I've had, but the wifi was not free. Boo. There were electrical outlets, though. The atmosphere was also one of the best.
At the Elephant House, where JK Rowling started writing the Harry Potter books. Ooooooooh

All of these places had good service, yummy eats and drinks, and were all fairly close to each other. All had been recommended somewhere on the internet. I also felt very safe at all these places. I traded computer watching with the girl sitting near me at Brew Lab as we each had to run to the loo/order more tea, and at Elephant House I simply left my backpack at my table. Both times, my stuff was totally fine. Brew Lab was definitely my favorite, but you couldn’t really go wrong with any of them.