If you happen to arrive to Edinburgh by train, or if you are visiting Edinburgh and at any point find yourself near the Waverley station and in need of coffee, fear not, as this is actually an amazing location to enjoy three different specialty coffee shops!
This is probably one of the most iconic coffee shops in Edinburgh. Its facade as well as its cozy interior is one of the most photographed and Instagramable cafes in town. The Milkman is a third wave coffee little gem, located a block away from the market street entrance/exit of the station. It is a neighborhood coffee shop, with a rather small space, but a super cozy atmosphere, including brown brick walls, hanging plants, and some padded nooks as well as bar seats, some of which face Cockburn street (right off the Royal Mile), which allows you to see the hustle and bustle of the street.
The milkman offers some delicious ethical coffee, along side with yummy cakes and pastries to snack on. They always have at least one vegan option, however their sweet selection changes daily, so you never know what it might be. Just ask the lovely staff, and they will help you figure it out.
Order at the counter and then grab a seat. Hopefully the place won’t be too full when you come along, and you will be able to find a spot. The Milkman is a popular space for one-on-one catching up, job related meetings, as well as a good spot for freelancers, as they offer free Wi-Fi. You don’t want to miss this one. Open from 8am-6pm on weekdays and from 9am on weekends.
With a Midtown New York vibes, the coolest red and white tiles and their home roast, you won’t want to miss out on this little cafe, just across the street from the Market Street exit/entrance. Gordon St Coffee is part of a small Scottish chain, that has another location in Glasgow, on (surprise!) Gordon street. Gordon st Coffee is quite rare find in the Edinburgh coffee scene – it has a very modern decor to it, with the roasting machine right in the middle of the store, the tiles mentioned above, and matching red metal chairs, the tables are white, and there are also a few bar seats by the window, as well as next to the tills. And though it has a quite modern, industrial aesthetics to it, it still feels very cozy, perhaps due to the friendly welcoming staff, and to the fact the Edinburgh is a much cozier city than New York.
If you happen to walk in, order your coffee over the counter, right now I am into their Edinburgh brew, which is stronger, darker and slightly more bitter. Also consider getting a savory snack, such as a sandwich. In the early mornings their display consist of pastries, such as croissants (with a vegan blueberry croissant option!). After 10am there is a variety of baked good – brownies and daily selection of other cakes. The place is very vegan friendly, and usually has at least two different options. On top of that, Gordon St Coffee also offers hand crafted local chocolate, if you would like a little something sweet on the side.
If you have a few hours to kill, and you are looking for a laptop friendly spot, Gordon St Coffee is perfect for that too. This is also a great place if you happen to arrive in a slightly less traditional hour – open from 6:30am-8pm on weekdays, from 7:30am-8pm on Saturdays, and from 9am-6pm on Sundays.
**Post COVID-19 lockdown Williams & Johnson near the Waverly station has closed down (you can now visit Bross Bagels and buy coffee by Machina Espresso instead)
The third coffee shop I would recommend you give a visit, is the Waverley location of Williams and Johnson. I have blogged about it a couple of months back, so you can find more info in this post 🙂