Discover the best coffee shops in Edinburgh for quality espresso, scrumptious pastries, and a nice atmosphere. These cafes are perfectly located for tourists and are close to the top sights.
Edinburgh easily makes my list of the best cities to visit in Europe. This historic capital has stayed in my TOP five favorite destinations for many years.
The cobblestoned streets, quaint cafes, university vibe, picturesque streets, and friendly pubs won my heart from the start. I could wander the streets of Edinburgh for days on end. If there’s a city to get lost in and appreciate the architecture and views, Edinburgh is it.
If you’re visiting the United Kingdom, it would be a wise decision to include Edinburgh on your itinerary. There’s a reason I included it on my 10 day UK itinerary combining London, Edinburgh, and York.
Whether you're spending one day in Edinburgh or a week, I’m positive you will at some point need a coffee break. After spending several weeks in this historic city, these are the Edinburgh coffee shops I find myself returning to again and again.
These spots are perfect for a quick caffeine fix to get ready for a busy day of sightseeing or a leisurely break to read a book and enjoy the cozy atmosphere.
This map shows each Edinburgh coffee shop listed in this post. Click the icon in the very top left to see a list view of each pinned location. Click the top right button to enlarge the map. Click the star to save to your own Google Maps account. To access this map once saved (after clicking the star), open Google Maps (on your phone/computer/tablet), click the menu button, go to "your places", select "maps", and you will see this map listed.
- Blue - TOP 5 coffee shops in Edinburgh
- Purple - honorable mentions
1. The Milkman
One of the most Instagrammable Edinburgh coffee shops located in the heart of Old Town
The Milkman is quaint, cozy, and perfectly Instagrammable. It ticks all the boxes when it comes to ranking the top coffee shops in Edinburgh. Great atmosphere, free WiFi, delightful baristas, amazing views of medieval Edinburgh out the windows, and outstanding quality coffee. Hands down one of the best flat whites in the city.
I was lucky enough to grab a cozy window seat and watch tourists hurry by while the weather was gloomy and gray. If I lived here, this little Edinburgh coffee shop would be a regular stop of mine.
Arrive first thing in the morning for the best chance of snagging a seat (and best selection of pastries), otherwise, plan on ordering to-go.
The original location is situated just around the corner from Waverley station, the main train station in Edinburgh. This makes for the perfect coffee shop stop before you head out of the city for an exciting day trip or when traveling to your next destination.
Considering that Waverley train station is in the heart of Edinburgh, this also means that The Milkman is a great option for a quick stop while seeing the main sights. There’s a good chance you’ll pass right by it on your way to Edinburgh Castle as it’s only a six minute walk away.
The second location is a three minute walk up the street.
For being located in the heart of Old Town, I was surprised that not only was the coffee quality outstanding, but the prices were also great. £3.30 for a flat white, £2.80 for an americano, £0.20 for oat or soy milk, and £3 to £4 for pastries. You won’t find subpar, overpriced coffee here!
Don’t skip ordering a pastry when visiting this Edinburgh coffee shop. I highly recommend getting whatever fresh baked sweet bread they have that day.
2. Union Brew Lab
One of the best coffee shops in Edinburgh to study or work
Union Brew Lab is my regular hangout when I need to get some work done.
There’s plenty of table and counter space and the steady stream of customers creates the perfect background noise. This seems to be a popular place for students, and you won’t get the evil eye from whipping out your laptop and staying a while.
Reliable WiFi, friendly service, and top-notch coffee make this a winner. Union Brew Lab serves single-origin specialty-grade coffee from Union Hand-Roasted Coffee Company. Two espressos and two filtered coffees are offered each day for those that like some variety.
If you’re looking for specialty coffee, solid bites, and a work friendly atmosphere, Union Brew Lab will hit the spot.
Union Brew Lab is equidistant, 10 minutes by foot, from the University of Edinburgh and the heart of Old Town, giving it an ideal location.
One of the best coffee shops in Edinburgh for a slice of cake with your coffee or tea
I often find myself reminiscing of my visits to Lovecrumbs and enjoying their Insta worthy cakes.
If you’re like me, the hardest decision you’ll make all day will be deciding which cake to try. They're all homemade, beautiful, and absolutely delicious. Many are vegan, though you would never know it by the taste.
Cakes aside, Lovecrumbs is a big thumbs up. There's plenty of space, it’s actually one of the bigger Edinburgh coffee shops on this list. The cafe is usually filled to capacity with students and locals.
It’s no surprise Lovecrumbs is so popular. Everything is done with care. The homemade cakes are a major standout, but they also do coffee and tea right and offer a selection of rotating baked goods like lemon raspberry cruffins, scones, and cookies.
Not in the mood for something sweet? Go for a baguette sandwich or a mince pie.
Lovecrumbs is located by Grassmarket Square, which is sure to be on your sightseeing itinerary.
One of the best coffee shops in Edinburgh located in the heart of New Town
A wander around New Town is a must while in Edinburgh. It’s a stark contrast from Old Town. Narrow twisting streets are traded for wide, grid-like lanes. The architecture goes from Medieval to Georgian.
New Town is the area to shop, enjoy the views from Calton Hill, admire artwork at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, and soak in the sun at Queens Street Gardens.
Fortitude is my favorite spot for a coffee break in New Town. It’s small, like most cafes in Edinburgh, but is guaranteed to serve some of the best coffee in Edinburgh. The baristas are beyond friendly and the avocado toast is spot on…some say the best in the city.
This is the place to enjoy a simple brew to fully appreciate the outstanding quality of their beans. Fortitude roasts their beans each week to guarantee optimum taste and freshness. Try a pour over or an americano.
Fortitude is located right across the street for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and 12 minutes from Calton Hill.
5. Wellington Coffee
One of the best coffee shops in Edinburgh for scones and patio seating
Wellington Coffee is located in the heart of New Town on George Street. This little Edinburgh coffee shop is known for serving the best scones in the city. They are baked fresh and big enough to share.
Go sweet and try the fruit scone of the day or savory with whatever flavor combination the baker dreamed up...bacon and cheese, jalapeño and clotted cream...they're all outstanding. The carrot cake is also insanely good.
Not only are the scones and other baked goods reason enough to visit, but the coffee is on point. They make a mean americano and a beautiful cappuccino. The loose-leaf tea is served in a personal teapot, which I always appreciate since you can get several cups out of one little pot.
Visit early if you’re going for the baked goods as they do sell out. The patio is perfect when the weather is nice. The inside has a homey feel with wood tones throughout and low ceilings…but can become cramped during the morning rush of customers.
This is one of my most visited Edinburgh coffee shops since I love to sit outside and enjoy my coffee. I went here 11 out of 14 days during my last trip to Edinburgh. If that doesn't give testament to the quality at Wellington Coffee, I don't know what would!
Honorable Mention: Thomas J Walls Coffee
This is a great stop if you're looking for a solid brunch menu. Popular items include avocado toast, eggs benedict, and shakshuka. It's a large space, though there's no WiFi.
Honorable Mention: Cairngorm Coffee
Cairngorm Coffee is another great option in the heart of New Town. If Wellington is overly crowded, Cairngorm is a perfect alternative as it’s only 3 minutes down the street.
A new location recently opened at 1 Melville Place. The space is bright and open and it's conveniently on the way to Dean Village, which I highly recommend visiting.
Honorable Mention: The Wall Coffee and Design House
Located 2 minutes from The Milkman, this is a good option if you want a bit more space. This Edinburgh coffee shop has the largest loose-leaf tea selection out of all the cafes listed. The cakes here are also very good.
I hope this list of the best Edinburgh coffee shops keeps you caffeinated and ready to take on the sights. These are without a doubt my favorite coffee shops in Edinburgh. Each spot on this list offers friendly service, quality coffee, and scrumptious snacks. Let me know which ended up being your favorite.