Printworks Coffee on Leith’s Constitution Street vies for my attention with the famous Mimi’s Bakehouse, itself just a couple of streets away. In terms of character, the two are miles apart, but you know a place has to be pretty decent to drag me away from my beloved Mimi’s!
In many ways, Printworks is the sort of neighbourhood café that you can find on any street in any town or city in the country. However, by serving Monmouth coffee (from London) and loose-leaf tea from Pekoe Tea (all the way from Edinburgh!) and by doing it well, Printworks proves that you don’t have to be a speciality coffee (tea) shop to serve decent coffee (tea). It also goes to show that there’s no good reason why this sort of friendly, neighbour café can’t do decent tea and coffee, although judging by the numbers, far too many fail.
Printworks has great food too, using local, independent suppliers. There is a limited, but excellent, breakfast menu, served until 11.30 (it includes porridge and a scrambled egg breakfast bap, so I’m happy) plus a wide-ranging lunch menu from noon onwards. At weekends there’s a separate brunch-menu until three. Plus cake, of course.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Printworks Coffee stands on Constitution Street in Leith, near the end of the Leith walk, a short stroll from my friends’ house where I stay whenever I’m in Edinburgh. It was initially recommended to me by the staff at Artisan Roast, but my friends also independently knew of it (they like to take their dog there). We visited for brunch during my previous visit to Edinburgh in April. That I’m now only just writing Printworks up on my return to Edinburgh, seven months later, is testament to the wealth of great Coffee Spots out there!
Printworks cuts a fine figure, with a handsome façade and a well-spaced set of tables outside on the pavement. These are protected on both sides by big, red barriers which serve the dual purpose of advertising Printworks from half-way down the street and preventing pedestrians from accidentally walking into the tables as they wander along, texting on their mobiles.
It’s not a huge place, occupying a double-windowed store front, with the door recessed in the centre. This creates two bay windows, each of which is occupied by a window bar with three bar stools. The left-hand side of the store is taken up with the counter, a fairly substantial affair, but there’s just enough space between counter and window-bar for a pair of armchairs and a small coffee table, creating a great little space to sit and drink your coffee.
The bulk of the seating is provided by a row of tables down the right-hand side, opposite the counter. These are arranged in two sets, each with its own padded bench running along the wall. At the window-end is a four-person and a pair of two-person tables with stools, while at the back is a single, four-person table with chairs. These are separated by a round, transparent table with a pair of chairs. You could probably squeeze 25 people into Printworks, with eight more outside if the weather’s good enough.
I liked the décor, with the plain white walls and ceiling highlighting some of the original features. This includes a central, narrow pillar and some lovely coving around the tops of the walls. These go well with the wooden counter and floor, while the generous windows at the front make for a very bright space.
The coffee, from Monmouth, is well-made, with Printworks serving a standard, espresso-based menu. I had a flat white when I went with my friends for brunch and followed this up with an espresso on a second visit a couple of days later.
My flat white was very good, the coffee going well with the milk. These days I find that a delicate coffee can get lost, even in the relatively small quantities of milk in a flat white, while a strong, dark-roasted coffee can dominate. Here the balance was spot on, while the milk itself was good. The espresso was also decent, although I preferred the coffee in milk.
For brunch, I indulged in a scrambled egg and potato scone bap from the regular breakfast menu, which was excellent. There’s something about correctly-scrambled eggs between light and fluffy bread which appeals, while the addition of potato scone was a major bonus. I also tried some of my friends’ French toast from the brunch menu, which was excellent and not too sweet.
November 2014: To celebrate (finally) publishing the Printworks Coffee Spot, I popped back for breakfast on the day I published it. I’m pleased to say that it was a lovely as ever 🙂
|42 CONSTITUTION STREET • EDINBURGH • EH6 6RS|
|www.facebook.com/PrintworksCoffee||+44 (0) 131 555 7070|
|Monday||08:00 – 17:00||Roaster||Monmouth (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 17:00||Seating||Tables, Window Bar, Comfy Chairs, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 17:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 18:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free|
|Sunday||09:00 – 17:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||26th, 28th April 2014|
Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to Edinburgh for more great Coffee Spots.
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