In the heart of Edinburgh, on the corner of George and Castle Streets, you’ll find a Starbucks. Ignore that and head down Castle Street towards the castle. Just before you get to Princes Street, you’ll find a Costa Coffee on the left. Go past that and a few steps later you’ll find Castello Coffee, possibly Edinburgh’s best kept coffee secret and one of its more recent additions, having only been open since the summer of 2012.
I’d walked past it twice before without giving it a second thought, but everyone I’d talked to about Edinburgh coffee had said excellent things about it, so I thought I’d better give it a go, making it my last stop on the Coffee Spot tour of Edinburgh. It’s a tiny place, with just enough room for a couple of tables and a bar opposite the counter. There are also a few tables outside and another tiny bar space by the window.
Despite its tiny size, it packs a lot in: breakfast, sandwiches and soup for lunch, cake, and three grinders, one for the regular, one for the guest blend and (a little) one for the decaf. I was duly impressed.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
It was a day for small coffee shops: The last day of my Coffee Spot tour of Edinburgh had consisted of a short walk from east to west which had started with Artisan Roast (small), gone on to Razzo (smaller) and Wellington (even smaller) and then ended with Castello (smaller still). Still, they say that good things come in small packages and, perhaps more pertinently, that good things come to he who waits.
So, was it worth the wait? Well, I’ve got to say that the bar had been set pretty highly, especially by Artisan Roast and Wellington, which are both lovely spaces to have coffee. And I’d had universally good coffee all day, although I had yet to find that special something that hit the spot.
Castello serves Allpress Espresso, all the way from Shoreditch in London, but by this time the novelty of Edinburgh Coffee Spots using English beans had begun to wear off. I started with the guest coffee, which was Allpress’ Christmas Blend. I would be wrong to say I didn’t like it: it was lovingly prepared and very short and I can see why others rave about it. It had a nice taste to it and a nice aftertaste, but it didn’t quite hit the spot for me.
I also tried, in the interests of balance, the regular Allpress blend, which was also very fine, similarly beautifully prepared and served in a classic white cup, of which I can only approve. I was also impressed that not only did I get a glass of water with the Christmas Blend without having to ask, I also got a fresh glass of water with the regular espresso. That’s the sort of dedication I appreciate.
To round things off I had a flat white (in the interests of self-preservation, it was decaf) to go with the last scone of the day (it was almost closing time and it would have been rude to leave it). The flat white ensured I ended my day on a real high: whether it’s the effect of the milk or the decaf blend itself, I’m not sure, but it pretty much hit the spot. The scone was very good too and I’m a harsh critic of scones, since I make them myself.
To end the day, I had a long chat with Sandro, the owner, a Scot from the west coast with Italian heritage and cafés in his blood. He obviously cares a lot about his coffee. I was impressed with the care and dedication that went into each of the three coffees I had and it was obvious from the set-up that serving excellent coffee is what Castello is all about.
Indeed, what impressed me most was the effort that had gone into the whole set-up. I’ve seen similar-sized places concentrate on a much smaller range (Wellington, for example) and there is always a danger of trying to do too much and not doing it well. However, that’s not the case in Castello, where everything I had was excellent and passion and care shone through. Next time I’ll come back for breakfast or (more likely) lunch as well as the excellent coffee.
|7A CASTLE STREET • EDINBURGH • EH2 3AH|
|Monday||07:30 – 18:00||Seating||Two tables, six bar stools, tables outside|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 18:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Thursday||07:30 – 18:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Friday||07:30 – 18:00||Wifi||No|
|Saturday||08:30 – 18:00||Power||Limited|
|Sunday||10:00 – 18:00||Mobile||2.5G, Voice|
|Chain||No||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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