Artisan Roast, Broughton Street

There are those who say that Artisan Roast has been at the forefront of the speciality coffee revolution sweeping Edinburgh during the last few years. I’m not sufficiently qualified to rule on that, but I do know that several of the excellent Coffee Spots which have opened in recent years will openly acknowledge their debt to Artisan Roast. I can also say, with authority, that Artisan Roast is one of my all-time favourite Coffee Spots.

It’s a small place, with just two rooms and a clear focus on the coffee. From the street, you walk into the main room, where you find the espresso machine sharing the space with a cluster of tables. At the back, you’ll find the Mooch, with its padded benches and, in the winter, log-burning stove. There are few better spaces in which to drink high-quality coffee.

Talking of the coffee, Artisan Roast, as the name implies, roasts all its own coffee, with the beans on sale on-line and in-store. There’s a mind-boggling array of ways to make and take your coffee, with all the beans on offer via all the methods. It was too much choice for my poor brain, so I just had an espresso…

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Artisan Roast on Broughton Street
  • Quite right too! A (not very) subtle dig at Starbucks...
  • The front room at Artisan Roast. Very cosy!
  • If you want to sit by the window, you've got to move quick. There's only one seat... What's that on the wall?
  • Ah, a subtle dig at the Elephant House (the Edinburgh Cafe where JK Rowling wrote the early Harry Potter novels)...
  • The espresso machine, tucked away in a dark corner...
  • The drinks menu and quick espresso guide
  • The guide in more detail
  • The (not very) extensive cake range.
  • In fact, you can buy more ways of making coffee than you can varieties of cake...
  • Just at the back of the front room is where they keep all the beans...
  • and next to that is the archway into my favourite bit, The Mooch
  • Here it is, lit by cafetiere. How novel :-)
  • The roaring wood-burning stove makes it very cosy.
  • More of the seating
  • And yet more, this time with the stove.
  • Finally, it's time for coffee: an excellent espresso.
  • And an equally excellent chocolate brownie to go with it
  • My espresso, in its classic cup, warms itself in front of the stove
  • All gone, but the crema still coats the sides of the cup, always a good sign...
Artisan Roast on Broughton Street1 Quite right too! A (not very) subtle dig at Starbucks...2 The front room at Artisan Roast. Very cosy!3 If you want to sit by the window, you've got to move quick. There's only one seat... What's that on the wall?4 Ah, a subtle dig at the Elephant House (the Edinburgh Cafe where JK Rowling wrote the early Harry Potter novels)...5 The espresso machine, tucked away in a dark corner...6 The drinks menu and quick espresso guide7 The guide in more detail8 The (not very) extensive cake range.9 In fact, you can buy more ways of making coffee than you can varieties of cake...10 Just at the back of the front room is where they keep all the beans...11 and next to that is the archway into my favourite bit, The Mooch12 Here it is, lit by cafetiere. How novel :-)13 The roaring wood-burning stove makes it very cosy.14 More of the seating15 And yet more, this time with the stove.16 Finally, it's time for coffee: an excellent espresso.17 And an equally excellent chocolate brownie to go with it18 My espresso, in its classic cup, warms itself in front of the stove19 All gone, but the crema still coats the sides of the cup, always a good sign...20
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I first came across Artisan Roast just after it opened in the summer of 2007. I fell in love with it back then, but have been rather remiss at carrying on my love affair, usually because I’ve never been in the right bit of Edinburgh. It’s tucked away just northeast of the centre on Broughton Street and I always seemed to end up elsewhere…  So, when it came to my Coffee Spot tour of Edinburgh, it seemed only right and proper that Artisan Roast was top of my list and, fittingly, is the first place from the tour to feature on the Coffee Spot.

Forgetting everything else, Artisan Roast is a great place to have coffee. My favourite spot is the Mooch, where you sit on padded benches and, in the winter, toast yourself in front of the log-burning stove. As one of the staff remarked, it’s all about the atmosphere, and the atmosphere is great. The walls are decorated with old coffee sacks, with light provided by bulbs hanging a metre off the ground, using cafetieres as lamp shades. Genius. It’s also got a couple of power outlets.

If that’s not to your taste, you can sit out front with the espresso machine, grinders and coffee beans, perched on one of the high stools at a table. If everyone squeezes up, you might get 12 in the front and 15 in the Mooch. It’s a shame there isn’t more room since it’s a great space to linger over your coffee.

Artisan Roast has a limited cake range: in the interests of thoroughness, I forced myself to sample a brownie. It was lovely, moist (but not sticky) and very, very chocolaty. Artisan Roast also does tea, but the main focus is on coffee. There’s the usual range of espresso-based coffee drinks, with regular bean, guest bean and decaf options and a handy guide for the uninitiated. For the more adventurous, you can try a V60 (filter) or a cafetiere while, at the weekend, there are Aeropress and Chemex options.

As the name suggests, Artisan Roast roasts its own beans, which are all for sale from the shop or on-line. They will grind them for you, but really, at this point, you should invest in your own grinder! You can also opt to have any of the beans brewed by any of the methods listed above. Seriously, you could experiment for weeks!

Artisan Roast was started five years ago by a Chilean and a Kiwi on a mission to bring great coffee to Edinburgh (where have I heard that before?). Michael, the Kiwi, once spent half an hour explaining his passion for coffee to me. He’s since moved on to run Artisan Roast’s four cafés in Malaysia, but co-founder, Gustav, is still here, running the two Edinburgh and one Glasgow Artisan Roasts.

The passion and love for coffee carries on too: Cat, who runs the Artisan Roast Twitter account, made sure to tell me about loads of great Coffee Spots in Edinburgh before I came, and tracked me down in person with another recommendation while I was there. Such generosity of spirit can’t go unrewarded…

Update: you can now see what I made of Artisan Roast’s little sibling on Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield Place, the Glasgow branch on Gibson Street, and the latest Artisan Roast in Stockbridge.

57 BROUGHTON STREET • EDINBURGH • EH1 3RJ
www.artisanroast.co.uk
Monday 08:00 – 19:30 Roaster Artisan Roast (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 19:30 Seating Tables, Bar Stools, Comfy Benches
Wednesday 08:00 – 19:30 Food Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 19:30 Service Counter
Friday 08:00 – 18:30 Cards Cash only
Saturday 09:00 – 18:30 Wifi No
Sunday 10:00 – 18:30 Power Limited
Chain Regional Visits 12th December 2012

Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to Edinburgh for more great Coffee Spots.


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