By collaborating with friend and photographer Jess Shurte, Ms Whitwell, who owns an independent coffee blog, is putting on a gallery exhibition of local independent coffee shop owners, at the Edinburgh Coffee Festival, 3 October.
Ms Whitwell said the aim of her series is to bring down any wall people may feel, helping more customers feel less intimidated about buying independent.
“Edinburgh’s independent coffee scene is at an exciting point because we’ve got more and more high quality coffee shops opening up, offering more and more choice to customers. But while appreciation of specialist coffee is growing, a lot of people are still learning about it. Some people are unsure about what to ask for, and others think there’s a bit of ‘coffee snobbery’ going on.”
With events like the Edinburgh Coffee Festival, and an app to help locate local coffee shops, Edinburgh’s coffee scene is definitely on the rise and Ms Whitwell thinks it’s time to show what the capital has to offer.
“Our Hot Shots have been behind the scenes, or their coffee machines, quietly and collectively making thousands of high quality coffees every day for a number of years. Now that locals and visitors are starting to recognise our great coffee, I thought it was time to properly introduce some of our baristas, trainers and owners to new and existing customers.
“Our portraits aim to introduce our friendly coffee experts so customers feel comfortable about talking to them, learning more and trying speciality coffees. Apart from highlighting where to go for truly excellent coffee, our portraits also underline the diversity that locally owned independent coffee shops bring to our community compared to the face-less multinational coffee shop chains.”
Portraits include: Eion and Dana Henderson of Mr Eion Coffee Roaster.
Mr Henderson said: “The community has been so responsive and the feedback from my customers has been overwhelming. I create unique blends for my wholesale customers and it is always thrilling to work on something new.”
Ms Henderson said: “Eion really knows his stuff and I learn something new from him on a daily basis. I get the fun part of speaking to all the customers that drop by.”
Jon Sharp of Kilimanjaro Coffee, who said: “I love the endless complexity of espresso and having spent the last 11 years researching and experimenting, I still find myself learning new things. One day I might get around to trying a filter coffee. There are now lots of places to get great coffee in Edinburgh - search them out and you will make your life a little more pleasurable.”
Tom Hyde and Dave Law of Brew Lab. Mr Law said: “I first had a eureka moment with coffee at our roaster Has Bean when I tasted a naturally processed coffee from Nicaragua. It blew me away. It was like drinking a cup of hot sherbet. Since then I’ve been passionate about showing people that coffee is more than just a caffeinated drink.”