Column: We're rounding off UK Coffee Week with a double espresso or two

Coffee is life’s greatest pleasure

Published 22nd Oct 2021
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

It’s UK Coffee Week (October 18-24) and time to celebrate being caffeinated.

I’m a two cups a day person - one in the morning, and another to fend off the 3pm slump. Any more than that, and I get the jitters, though I have the antidote.

I once interviewed a barista and he recommended eating a banana. It works.

Anyway, I have no doubt that caffeine is my crutch, but it’s essential. Without it, I am as doggedly cantakerous as Halloween’s Michael Myers.

While there are those who take their pets on holiday with them, we never forget our coffee machine.

Recently, we went camping without him, and it was a three day torture. We almost went home early, because we missed him so much.

However, although home percolation is fine, I do prefer a cafe flat white, made by proper baristas with beans that are roasted on-site.

There are so many excellent places to choose from in Scotland, from Dear Green in Glasgow to Unorthodox Roasters in Kinross.

Among my favourites in the capital are Artisan Roast, Machina, Modern Standard, and excellent newcomer, Santu, who source their beans directly from the farmers. At the bottom of the Canongate, they have an Italian-style coffee bar. You can down your espresso, power up to Castlehill, and still have enough energy to climb the ramparts, if they’d only let you.

As with most Edinburgh cafes, a flat white here is around three quid.

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However, Santu’s owner, Washington Vieira, who is currently renovating their roastery, says that the wholesale price of green coffee has recently doubled.

“Brazil had a historically bad harvest this year, and being the biggest coffee producing country this will impact the whole market”, says Vieira.

He also explains that the price of the coffee ingredient is a minuscule fraction of the cost of your drink.

Thus, if anything is going to drive prices up, it’ll be inflation rates, staff shortages and logistics, rather than the price of beans.

If those additional costs are passed onto consumers, we might go over the £3-a-cup point, and that might be too expensive for some.

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However, I think they have underestimated me. Name your price.

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.
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