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Brew Lab - Artisan Coffee Bar
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Brew Lab
6-8 South College Street,
0131 662 8963
Open 8am-6pm Monday-Friday;

Coffee shops, we have a few in Edinburgh and sometimes I hanker for something a bit more gutsy, a bit more urban, a bit more radical! Whenever I'm in London, I make a beeline to my favourite caffeine fuelled pitstop, Prufrock in the heart of Hatton Garden. I love the place; it's minimalist, edgy and the staff, coffee and cakes are first class. This is what I've hoped for in Edinburgh and now my hopes have been fulfilled with the arrival of Brew Lab.


It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea (pun intended) and some are not best pleased that, if tea is ordered, the water isn't boiled to 100C. However, that's not really what Brew Lab is about, now is it? It's all about the coffee.


The masterminds behind this concept are two young laddies, Dave Law and Tom Hyde. Not a spur of the moment thing, it's taken three years of research and planning to come up with this unique concept of brewing and serving coffee for us Burghers. There's lots of fancy kit including a hand built, custom-made Slayer espresso machine from Seattle, the first of its kind in Scotland. It cost as much as a small car, but does it make good coffee? I think so but you'll have to judge for yourself. These guys are coffee alchemists, masters of the dark art of brewing. It's a place for serious coffee drinkers, and to take your time. Some of the brews take four minutes to make; the same amount of time as a proper Old Fashioned cocktail. Don't balk at the price tag of £3 for a caffeine fix. A V60 (a cone and filter method that drips into your cup) or a clever dripper, similar to V60 but the slurry (the proper term for the sludgy mix of grounds and water) steeps for a couple of minutes; then when placed over a jug, the base automatically opens, letting the liquid drip through. Both will give you two cups.


Several companies, including Square Mile and Has Beans, supply the roasted beans. The lads are now providing single estate coffees as well as blends; both of which change every week or so.


Brew Lab pride themselves on the fact that the coffee they use lend themselves to the various methods of brewing and the signs on the wall let customers know what is on and the characteristics of each bean. You might find Guatemala Platanillo Malagogype washed that has notes of toffee, tropical fruit, green apple with a good dose of acidity; or an El Salvador Kilimanjaro pulped natural with hints of toffee, maple syrup and grape. May sound a bit pretensious, but you can taste the purity.


Sitting in the post-apocalyptic space with stripped back walls, wooden floor from a school gym and a bin from the Royal Mile, I admire what has been achieved. One thing is obviously apparent; everyone involved with Brew Lab has passion oozing from their pores (along with caffeine). The feeling I get is they eat, sleep and breathe coffee. The place is often packed, especially at lunchtime when you can get sandwiches, salads with soup supplied by Union of Genius. Fab cakes made by the girls from Love Crumbs and the gluten-free Bakewell is by Love Pure Cakes.


Plenty of sockets (over 40 at the last count) makes this a great place to work; free wifi included in every cup. The winged Chesterfield chair in the window has my name on it. With talk of coffee tasting classes, there's more to your morning coffee than boiling a kettle and throwing brown powder into a cup! Now power up the Slayer, I'm on my way!







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