Wake up to the great blends across Scotland, from these independent coffee roasters

It’s a fair argument that the UK as a whole has never before been this switched on to good quality coffee. Gone are the days of 70-style cafes dishing out a tablespoon of brown chalk into piping hot water.

We care about the treatment of a coffee and watching a barista at work is a pleasure for the uninitiated – the click-clack of the machine, the clang of silver jug on the side of the counter and the expert pour to create that milky ‘fleur de lis’ on the top of the mixture.

But before it’s even in the hands of your independent coffee house, there’s a whole other loving process that takes place. Cofee roasting is the process in which the beans themselves develop their own distinctive flavour where they are sorted, roasted, cooled and then packaged. These techniques to extract the flavour used to be done on a large industrial scale, but in recent years the trend of independent roasters has vastly risen. Perhaps sieved through from the world of craft brewery and filtered into the cup of the coffee world.

Scotland’s coffee roasters are as diverse as the beans themselves, ranging from well-renowned companies to small micro teams putting together individual blends. Here’s an overview of the country’s roasters and where you can sample their blend, if you’re looking for something a little more home-grown in your cup.

1. Artisan Roast, Edinburgh

Describing themselves as ‘craft roasters’, Edinburgh-based Artisan Roast are one of the most well-known coffee outlets in the capital and the rest of the country, with four of their own artisan cafes and plenty of others proudly boasting their brand on signs outside. The company use a handful of small drum machines, which are used to rotate the beans whilst applying the roasting heat. Their commitment to small batch processing and employing a team of roasters who are committed to honing their craft means that Artisan roast make one of the most sought-after cups of coffee in Scotland.

Where can I sample their blend?

Artisan Roast, 57 Broughton Street, Edinburgh EH1 3RJ

2. Dear Green, Glasgow

Based in the heart of Glasgow at their Clyde Street site, Dear Green is proud of their Glasgwegian heritage but also their international relations. The company are committed to building strong relationships with small farms in coffee-growing countries such as Ethopia, Mexico and Nicaragua through ethical trade and helping to create sustainable agricultural practices. Dear Green also looks to make sure that their passion for interesting blends isn’t lost in that final pour, offering free barista training to anyone who buys their roast wholesale.

Where can I sample their blend?

Laboratorio Espresso, 93 West Nile Street, Glasgow, G1 2SD

3. Glen Lyon, Perthshire

From humble beginnings in a Highland bothy, to a full scale roastery set-up in the Alberfeldy countryside – Glen Lyon has kept their ethical responsibility to coffee as well as their dedication to roasting in small batches using a single probat. You know that this is a personal project when the company can trace their initial green beans back to the individual farmer, who picked them from one over 15 countries across 4 continents. If the ‘Big County’ producers can become half as renowned as their whisky-blending co-habitants – then they’re bound for success.

Where can I sample their blend?

Stag Espresso, Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LT

4. Steampunk, East Lothian

Steampunk take a lot of inspiration from their subculture namesakes, the idea of transforming a mass-processed product and making it a unique one-off instead. The North Berwick company describe themselves craftspeople, but their flair for creativity comes across in their branding, packaging and the coffee itself. Whilst running a cafe of their own at their Kirks Port site, their ground floor is home to their old-fashioned probat – where they take time and care on creating their finest blends.

Where can I sample their blend?

Steampunk @ The Warehouse, 49a Kirk Ports, North Berwick, EH39 4HL

5. Roast Central, Falkirk

After many years in the coffee industry in various different roles, baristas Davide and Iain Birse decided to go into the roasting business for themselves – dedicated to honing their craft and learning how the roasting process alters the final version in your cup. What makes the Falkirk duo stand out from the rest is their vintage equipment, using an antique Uno roaster which makes them one of the only roasters still using a open flame to extract the goodness from the beans. Roast Central’s philosophy seems to be ‘there’s no school like the old school’.

Where can I sample their blend?

Cobolt Cofee, Marchmont Crescent, Edinburgh, EH9 1HD

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