Going into hibernation

This blog is going into deep sleep. It’s no longer serving it’s original purpose since I’m pretty healthy again and getting to just about anywhere I choose. This was never meant to just be a review site. There are other, better sites for coffee and cake reviews in Edinburgh, particularly this one:

If I ever get ill again then I’ll rattle the coffee spoons and wake up the blog. In the meantime, I’ll be concentrating on work and arty things.

Thanks for reading…

Disappointing brunch

Not really the kind of bread you expect in a place called The Granary! Also overcooked eggs with a chunk of shell and quite bitter coffee once they brought the correct one. Staff pleasant enough but not likely to be back.

Happy New Year coffee fans!

Beach House on the prom by MadeleineS
Beach House on the prom, a photo by MadeleineS on Flickr.

First coffee shop of 2013 is The Beach House on Portobello Promenade. We had walked from Easter Road mostly off road and I was pretty worn out by the time we reached Portobello. I’d been meaning to visit the Beach House for at least two years so I was really glad they were both open and had a table available this time. The cakes looked wonderful and were being served up at great speed by the super-efficient staff coping with the busiest Wedensday afternoon they’d seen in a long time.

We, however, are trying to reduce the calorie intake so lunch involved sandwiches and salad and americano coffees. The picture is a lovely slaw of beetroot, celeriac and horseradish in a low fat dressing. The toasted pannini sandwiches were just what we needed and we set off again down the prom revitalised. Thank you Beach House and your terrific staff.

Must stop making things and start preparing!

four more scarves! by MadeleineS
four more scarves!, a photo by MadeleineS on Flickr.

Open Studios and the Craft Reactor Members’ Showcase creep closer and I’m trying to finish off lots of projects and decide what would look best in which place. Picture above are the last of the felt scarf project that started on the International Day of Felt. I could make two more but other things need finished or added to.

Presentation also need some attention. Yesterday two tailor’s dummies arrived at Plum and Pepper studio which will help a lot. I also plan to decouopage the polystyrene heads that I bought in the summer and then there’s all the labelling and the tidying to get stuck into. Just as well a fortifying brunch has just arrived on my table at the Roseleaf Cafe Bar – signing off to eat it now.


OOPS! That was stupid! This post was intended for Madeleine’s Hepherd but I got my wires crossed!  Rather than faffing around trying to swap posts over I decided to put an Edinburgh Coffee Spoons “guest post” on Madeleine’s Hepherd.  You can read it at www.madeleineshepherd.blogspot.com and find out about the art and craft work I’m involved in too.


international day of coffee

BrewLab by MadeleineS
BrewLab, a photo by MadeleineS on Flickr.

Today is apparently the “day of coffee” but then every day is the day of coffee at BrewLab.  I’m blogging live from this great new addition to Edinburgh’s coffee scene.

BrewLab’s great attention to detail makes for superb coffee, lunch and cake.  As seen above I’m having V60 drip coffee and a slice of Victoria sandwich cake (made by Lovecrumbs).  This is possibly the only coffee shop in Edinburgh that offers drip coffees as an alternative to the ubiquitous espresso based coffee. I like this very much. The resulting brew is lighter and a longer drink than espresso. If espressos are like nips of whisky this is the equivalent of real ale – which I’m also very fond of.   BrewLab’ s handbuilt Slayer espresso machine, of course, produces the coffee world’s peaty single malt.

The post-holocaust decor won’t suit everyone – a colleague asked me if they would be closing for a day to finish it! Their choice of furniture isn’t great for my old arthritic bones either. Yet BrewLab’s got me hooked. It’s only been open a couple of weeks and I’m already a regular. One reason is that it’s premises on South College Street are very close to my work but I’d make a pilgrimage across town for this coffee.

Live from Spoon Towers

tea at Spoon

Posting live from Spoon this lunchtime has just been paused by the arrival of hot food!

OK soffed that Veggie Grill and now typing again.  Basially this post is a test for a new bit of mobile kit and so far it’s doing just fine.  The photo of my tea uploaded easily and coming back in to edit this post was a piece of cake.  Not that I’ve ordered any cake yet.  I have to get back to thst e office and finish up all the urgent stuff before the end of the day. I’m off to London tomorrow for a most exciting couple of days exploring botanical dyes with India Flint at St Augustines#’s Craft Centre in Higate. Expect some Edinburgh Coffee Spoons on Tour posts and some action over at my craft blog Madeleine’s Hepherd

So many coffee shops, so little time!

Everywhere I go there seems to be a new coffee shop! I’ve been rattling around the city getting ready for open studios, taking part in family events and trying to get some recreation and exercise too. On one of those really busy days I stopped at the new Skylark Cafe in Stockbridge. The chocolate cheescake cupcake was delicious but I discovered as I sat there my bus to the next stop (my aunt’s 75th birthday) was arriving 15 minutes earlier than expected. So not enough time to truly appreciate the cake and coffee stop but it, hurried as it was, I did enjoy it. For readers with small children, Skylark is worth noting as it has a child friendly policy that goes as far as devoting their back shop to a safe play area for the little darlings.

Around the corner from Skylark, there’s a new branch of Peter’s Yard, the excellent Swedish bakery in the Meadows. Unfortunately the new premises are not as spacious so the seating area is a bit cramped and push chairs make it difficult to negotiate. The product is as good as the original but the experience is not so relaxed.

Finally, for today, there’s an exciting new developement two doors away from my day job. It’s called Brew Lab and looks like being heaven for coffee geeks. Even though their publicised choices of furniture remind me of 1960s and 70s school furniture (with all the painful associations that brings!), I’m still looking forward to it opening its doors in September.

Edinburgh Coffee Spoons on Tour!

Kolbenbolle and coffee by MadeleineS
Kolbenbolle and coffee, a photo by MadeleineS on Flickr.

Life had been charging along at its usual crazy pace for the last couple of months, making it all the more surprising that we made time to have our first holiday together in five years. and set of to Copenhagen for a week of sightseeing etc.

The main reason for picking that destination was so that we could visit the manatees at Odense Zoo. We have always been fond of these placid beasts but really didn’t fancy a trip to Florida. Obviously the were more elements to the decision than that – Bronze Age history, Rococco architecture, Danish modern design and, of course, the pastries!

We didn’t book breakfast in our hotels so that we could explore the surrounding cafes. Above you’ll see our first breakfast, in the Copenhagen Now! tourist information centre. There are more pictures of the coffee stops in the Flickr set on the right. (if your reading this a while after posting you might have to click through to Flickr to find them.) Every gallery/tourist attraction had it’s own style of cafe but the quality of the coffee and cake was consistenly good. Even the “child-centred” catering at Odense Zoo was better than I reckon it’s UK equivalents would be. That’s not to say our local zoo in Edinburgh is doing a job – indeed it has seen a vast improvement in the last year or so with the introduction of barista coffees and so on. But I digress.

In Copenhagen, Roskilde, and Odense we were treated to great baked goods. A special mention has to go to Coffeemania in central Copenhagen where our blueberry muffins were served hot from the oven – yum!

The other purpose of this blog is to gauge my health by distance travelled for coffee and cake. This is not the greatest distance over all – that would be Athens. In Copenhagen, however I walked much further than I recall walking in Athens or here in Edinburgh. Copenhagen is flat, which helps but the seven and a half turns of the spiral ramp in the Round Tower didn’t stop me either. I reckoned my hips and my respiratory health were doing pretty well – until I got home and had the worst cold I’ve had in ages! As one of my colleagues said, these holidays can be dangerous things.

The Metropole for brunch

The Metropole by MadeleineS
The Metropole, a photo by MadeleineS on Flickr.

Well here we go – more live blogging! It’s been ages since I’ve been it the Metropole and I’m happy to report it’s much the same as when I left. Very nice coffee and french toast and I’m staying for a second coffee.  The choice of music here is often right up my street too but sometimes I expect too much.  This morning they were playing what sounded like early Peter Hammill but too quietly, so I couldn’t recognise the song competiting with the coffee machines.  When the machines stopped I realised it was a track from David Bowie’s Hunkydory – disappointed but not too much and not really surprised!

Given the pretext for starting this blog, it could be seen as a backward step. After all The Metropole is not far from home and was my maximum distance to walk after my first hip operation. But worry not dear reader, I just decided to have brunch before my bus journey to the studio instead of after it.

Oooh! my second coffee just arrived with a chocolate escargot pastry bigger than the plate! (it’s a small plate – honest.)

You’ll see from the sidebar of photos on the right that I have been to a lot of places since the last post. Sharp eyed readers will notice that one of the pictures isn’t a coffee bar. There was coffee and cake and it was in Edinburgh so I reckoned it was worth noting here. It was taken in Transreal Fiction on Candlemaker Row on the 15th anniversary of its opening. Belated congrats from Edinburgh Coffee Spoons!

The other anomalous photo is the lovely cake stand in Anteaques – they don’t serve coffee! They were the subject of my first post and I returned a couple of weeks ago to meet Helen again for a catch up chat and some excellent tea and scones. We have seen each other since the last time but so often it’s at events and there’s no time to talk. Tea is great for catch up chats – a pot lasts so much longer than a cup of coffee. Hearing how Helen’s animation business has developed and her future plans for writing projects I see she’s as busy as I am. An escape haven like Anteaques is an essential luxury.

The second coffee of the morning is nearly done so I’d better sign off, pay the bill and go do some arty stuff!

Cafe Marlayne

Cafe Marlayne by MadeleineS
Cafe Marlayne, a photo by MadeleineS on Flickr.

Well this is a breakthrough for me! I’m blogging from the cafe in the the photo during the same visit. We have mobile internet and I’m using it for the first time – doesn’t matter if the cafe has WiFi or not but I do have to lug the laptop around.

I’m in Cafe Marlayne at the top of Leith Walk en route to the studio. I had intended to spend the afternoon there but it’s been a crazy day. One day off work and I try to fill it with three days of stuff and at least three cafes.

Best thing about the day is that it’s the fifteenth anniversary of my partner’s bookshop. We went to Cafe Turquaz for a Turkish breakfast and then to his shop Transreal Fiction. I got some space themed candles and decorations for a cake I bought and we had a nice time confusing the morning customers!

After that I set out to take some stock to the Stick Factory Gallery and to meet a friend at Earthy Cafe to discuss tomorrow’s Stitch Lab activities. She gave me some homemade jams for Mike for the shop’s anniversary. – all made from locally foraged ingredients. I’m really looking forward to trying them.

I’ve just been to Edinburgh Printmakers to check up on a course and now I’m in Cafe Marlayne running out of time to get to the studio and back to town for a 5.30pm science festival event – better dash off now!