I met my best friends in a coffee shop. I met my boyfriend in a coffee shop. I spent 1/2 of the past year in a coffee shop. This was all the same coffee shop. And I need to stop saying "coffee shop" because 50 Cent is playing in my head now.
There's this place in Edinburgh called Cult Espresso that I basically lived at last year. It was a two minute walk from uni and a 30 second walk from my old flat. At first, I would go there and order tea and sit quietly, unaware of the rich coffee culture in Edinburgh and unaware of coffee in all aspects, honestly. It wasn't until I became a regular and befriended the baristas and other regulars that I learned what a long black was.
*Cue the really cute guy who sat down at my table one day and started talking to me.* He showed me what the eff an aeropress was and taught me how to properly pour water into a Kalita Wave.
I think coffee shops are very important to have in a city. Although there is one on every corner in Edinburgh, you would never tire of them. They are all unique to the personal brand of their shop, but yet all have a comfortable feel that if you were to walk into a shop you've never been to before, you instantly feel welcome. As an American on my own and starting from scratch socially, I give Cult a lot of credit for where I am, who I'm close to, and what I'm doing today, a year and a half later. Maybe that's cheesy, but it's true.
In Connecticut, there aren't a lot of coffee shops. (Just ten million Starbucks.) If I was ever bored, I'd get in my car and drive around singing songs until my gas tank teetered on empty. I relied on making friends at uni or reconnecting with ones I had grown up with. People don't seem to socialize with strangers outside of a bar... or their iPhone apps. But by hanging out in a coffee shop, you could end up forming a unique community with people who inspire you/you inspire them.
Over the past year I've discovered many coffee shops throughout Edinburgh. These shops are my getaways, my hang-outs, and my workspaces. I go to see friends, to people and dog watch, and to get shit done. You don't have to drink coffee or even like coffee to go to one. These places have pastries and herbal teas, sodas, soups, and grilled cheese. And wifi. There's always a coffee shop stop to look forward to. On the weekends, in between shopping, after the gym, for a writing break, to meet my friends, etc.
Whether you live in Edinburgh or not, I encourage you to check out a coffee shop nearby. There's a website dedicated to coffee in Scotland. If you live in the countryside or the suburbs, plan a weekend trip to a city nearby and "coffee-hop" with friends, a good book, or laptop. If you live really far away from any coffee shop whatsoever, then just open up your own shop. It can't be that hard, right?
P.S. Secretly, my goal is to have "Kelly Pierce wrote here" on a sign hung up in Cult after I publish a few books. Just like the Elephant House on George IV Bridge with JK Rowling (although I'm pretty sure that's been embellished.)
MY FAVORITE COFFEE SPOTS IN EDINBURGH
- Cult Espresso, 104 Buccleuch Street - wifi, dog-friendly, lots of space
- Filament Coffee, 38 Clerk Street - wifi, dog-friendly, small, good place to hang out
- Cairngorm Coffee, 41a Frederick St and 1 Melville Place - wifi, small, good place to chill after shopping in New Town, grilled cheese. *The West End shop has more space.
- The Milkman, 7 Cockburn Street - wifi, very small, really cute place, great treats from Pinnies & Poppy Seeds
- Artisan Roast, 138 Bruntsfield Place - no wifi, dog-friendly, lots of space, good place to read
- Leo & Ted, 36 Leven Street - wifi, dog-friendly, good amount of space
- Machina Espresso, 2 Brougham Place - wifi, small but good working space, iced lattes for us Americans
- Söderberg, 1 Lister Square in the Quartermile - no wifi, huge space, good pizza, really chill