Coffee blogger Fionn Pooler casts his keen eye over what he believes are the best Scottish coffee shops outside of Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The third wave of coffee has well and truly broken over Scotland.

It took some time to travel north, working its way up from London through Manchester until it reached Edinburgh and Glasgow.

In 2007 Artisan Roast became the first truly specialty coffee roaster in the country, based on Broughton Street in Edinburgh.

Dear Green followed in 2011 in Glasgow, and since then cafes and roasters have been popping up all over the two big cities.

If you live outside of Edinburgh and Glasgow, however, it can be tricky to source a genuinely good cup of coffee. It’s possible, but it takes a touch more perseverance.

Here, in no particular order, are five of the very best coffee shops to try if you happen to live, or are travelling, further afield.

Steampunk Coffee Roasters, North Berwick

(The Warehouse 49a Kirk Ports North Berwick EH39 4HL)

Picture: FP

Picture: FP

Located in a refurbished joiner’s workshop just off the high street in North Berwick, Steampunk Coffee’s The Warehouse is one of the most striking coffee shops you’ll visit in Scotland.

Laid out over two floors, it is delightfully sprawling and atmospheric, with high stools along the bar and two wood burning stoves surrounded by comfortable armchairs.

On offer is a diverse and exciting lineup of coffees, all roasted on site (you can even enjoy a coffee while you watch the roasting team hard at work).

Upstairs there is more seating as well as a kitchen area, where the various soups, sandwiches and baked goods are prepared. With roasting and baking both on site, Steampunk is a self-contained little world and is hugely popular among locals and visitors alike.

They’re also extremely dog-friendly, and their location so close to the beach means it’s the perfect place to end a long walk with a hot cup of coffee (the sticky toffee cake with salted caramel icing is also sublime).

The Coffee Apothecary, Udny, Aberdeenshire

(Udny, Ellon, Aberdeenshire, AB41 7PQ)

Picture: FP

Picture: FP

The North East of Scotland is known more for its whisky than for its coffee, but, 45 minutes up the coast from Aberdeen, The Coffee Apothecary is slowly changing that dynamic.

A combination coffee shop/restaurant/post office, The Coffee Apothecary is the definition of a hidden gem.

Using reclaimed materials for furniture and furnishings, the love for the area shines through, complemented by art from local artists on the wall.

It is coffee, however, where their true passion becomes clear. Serving Edinburgh’s Artisan Roast, the attention to detail and dedication to the craft of coffee is apparent in each member of staff and each drink they deftly produce.

While the Coffee Apothecary is a bit off the beaten track, it is definitely worth the journey.

There’s something satisfying about taking the time to travel somewhere solely to savour a proper cup of coffee, rather than popping into a local anywhere for convenience.

And for residents of the surrounding area, having a place such as this to visit on a regular basis must be a joy.

Foodstory, Aberdeen

(13-15 Thistle St, Aberdeen AB10 1XZ)

Picture: FP

Picture: FP

Nestled in the heart of Aberdeen’s West End, Foodstory Cafe has a reputation as the go-to place for vegan food in the area.

However, it also holds a secret: a fully stocked specialty coffee service with a rotating lineup of guest roasters, turning out latte after latte to an ever-growing and enthusiastic customer base.

A big, eclectic space, they also host concerts (and yoga) on special occasions.

Recycled wood tables and cladding match nicely with exposed brick and concrete pillars, and the warm lighting serves to enhance the comfortable, laid back atmosphere.

The coffee is prepared with care and attention, and their practise of using coffees from some of Europe’s top roasters – from London’s Workshop Coffee to Berlin’s Five Elephant – means that you’re always guaranteed to try something new and delicious.

Pacamara, Dundee

(302 Perth Rd, Dundee DD2 1AU)

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Tucked away in Dundee’s West End, Pacamara cuts a relatively benign figure from the street. From the outside, it looks very similar to any other cafe; the only clue is the little sign way up above that reads: Life Is Too Short For Bad Coffee.

Inside the sign is proved correct. A bustling, dark-wood-paneled space is anchored by a coffee bar at the rear.

Light comes from big windows facing the street, while chandeliers and antique frames on the wall add an vintage, whimsical touch

Coffee is provided by Has Bean from Stafford in England, with all the regular milk drinks available as well as Aeropress for manual brewing. The staff are knowledgeable, passionate and always happy to answer questions (or just chat about coffee).

They also have a full-service kitchen offering a range of food items and baked goods.

Popular amongst students due to its proximity to Dundee University, Pacamara is the standout coffee provider in this part of the world, serving high-quality drinks with a positive attitude and no little skill.

Habitat Cafe, Aberfeldy

(2 The Square, Aberfeldy PH15 2DD)

Picture: FP

Picture: FP

Another cafe with a community focus and a loyal local customer base, Habitat is a coffee sanctuary in the wilds of Highland Perthshire.

Set on the main square in the centre of Aberfeldy, Habitat immediately stands out as a focal point for the town.

The atmosphere inside is distinctly laid back and welcoming, with cosy nooks and crannies, rough-hewn wooden furniture and an approachable, unpretentious air.

The coffee, again provided by Has Bean, can be made any number of ways. Whether you prefer Chemex, Aeropress or something more outlandish (Hario Woodneck Drip Pot, anyone?) Habitat has you covered.

There’s also the ubiquitous lineup of espresso-based drinks; really, they have something for everyone.

Quite aside from the delicious coffee, it’s the hospitality of Habitat’s staff and the relaxed nature of the cafe itself that makes this a worthy detour, or better yet the focal point of your journey.

• You can find more reviews of specialty coffee, the cafes that serve it and other coffee-related nonsense at www.thepourover.co.uk. Twitter & Instagram: @thepouroverblog

About The Author

Fionn Pooler

Fionn was first immersed in the third wave of coffee while working as a barista and then roaster in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the USA. After returning to Scotland he set up a blog, The Pourover, as a way to document and promote the emerging specialty coffee scene in his homeland.

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