This post has been, quite literally, months in the making. I know the owner from a previous life and the place has a fantastic reputation, so shortly after I started up Edinbug nearly 4 months ago, Brew Lab was high on my list of places to cover. So why has it taken me so long to get something written about it?
It started as pretty much every other review, I was in the area with a friend on a Monday afternoon and decided to pop in. I started taking pictures of the outside, scoping the menu and eyeing up the delicious cakes and sandwiches out on display. There was one big problem, though, and it only struck me as I was about to order at the counter.
There was nowhere to sit.
Now, Brew Lab isn’t a particularly small place. There are certainly larger cafes in town, but there’s smaller ones too. And yet, every single table, sofa and bar seat had been taken. The place was bursting at the seams.
You can order your coffee to take away, but something told me that the paper-cup-on-a-street-corner write up wouldn’t really cut it for the site, so I decided to leave it and come back another day.
Fast forward a month or so, and I thought I would try my luck again. I was in the area with another friend and popped in. As soon as I stepped in the door, I cursed under my breath.
The place was full. AGAIN.
Well, you know what they say, one bitten, etc… So it was a good couple of months before I gave it another go, this time just by myself.
There I saw bit, big and plush and red and just perfect for curling up with a warming cup of coffee. A seat. A glorious seat had finally opened up and I was going to embrace it with both butt cheeks.
Giddy with excitement, I ordered their pour-over Columbian coffee and a slice of carrot cake. They take their coffee very seriously, and if you order one of their pour-overs you will be served it black, as any added milk will spoil the taste.
Also be prepared to wait a couple of minutes for it to be brewed properly – if you’re sitting in, they’ll give you a table number and it will be brought over once it is ready.
The carrot cake came from local bakery Lovecrumbs, which was moist and buttery and the perfect accompaniment to my coffee.
Brew Lab bring in a lot of their food from local producers, with Le Petit Francais taking care of their bread and pastries, and their soup and salad made by our old favourite Union of Genius.
The cafe’s interiors are some of the most unusual in Edinburgh. The building used to be an office, but when the folk behind Brew Lab took over, they stripped back the plain white plasterboard and found this fantastic raw wall behind, which they have just kept as is.
Coupled with the interesting furnishings and reclaimed fittings, the cafe looks unlike anything else in the city.
Brew Lab is renowned for its precise coffee selection and brewing process, so the pour-over coffee is definitely worth a try if you see yourself as a bit of a connoisseur. But, straight-up brewed black coffee isn’t for everyone, and there is still plenty on offer for those who would prefer something more traditional.
The guys also do a mean flat white and there are other kinds of coffee available, as well as your usual soft drinks and various teas from Pekoe Tea.
So if you love your coffee, then Brew Lab is a must visit when you’re in Edinburgh.
The place serves up some of the best coffee in town, and has been even been recognised nationally as one of the best cafes in the UK. With that in mind, it’s probably no wonder you’re going to struggle to get a seat from time to time!
Brew Lab Coffee is located at 6-8 College Street, EH8 9AA. You can get there via any bus that goes down South Bridge, aka the 3, 5, 7, 8, 29, 30, 31, 33, 37 and 49. It’s down a little side street, which is tucked away opposite Black Medicine.