Edinburgh’s Modern Standard Coffee owner Lynsey Harley tells us about her daily grind at this cafe and roastery

Lynsey Harley owns the blue-fronted cafe on Barclay Place

Published 7th Oct 2021
Updated 18 th Sep 2023


I’m naturally an early riser but our 7-month-old baby is testing that. Coffee is a seasonal product and I’m enjoying a Kenyan coffee from Karani washing station, an extremely fruity coffee which I brew on a Clever Dripper. I head to the roastery before everyone else, working through emails and tasks before everyone else arrives.


We have our daily roastery chat, discussing production plans, customer orders and quality check tasting the coffee before we pack and dispatch. This is called a cupping which always sounds odd outside of coffee circles. We put about 8g coarse grind in a 150ml glass and add water, skimming the coffee crust on top after four mins and, after a few minutes more, its ready. We score the coffee on its body, acidity, sweetness and balance. It’s a good way to start the day, as it helps with discussion and waking us up.


Our team is pretty big and we focus on our customer support, so I’ll have a video call with my field-based staff, chatting about new customers, product ideas, and general happenings before heading to Edinburgh to visit our café.


We opened in December on Barclay Place next to Bruntsfield Links and it’s such a treat heading over there. Jo, my manager, is leading a very skilled team of baristas delivering, in my opinion, the best coffee in Edinburgh! We’ve a great bunch of regulars and their pooches who come in after a stroll on the Links as we’re dog friendly too.


I’m a late lunch type of person, but if I have time, I like to visit some of our customers for lunch. La Barantine or Rocksalt in Leith when I’m near the cafe, or No 98 in Kinross near the roastery. All of them have incredibly delicious food, so it’s a pleasure to work with them on serving great coffee.

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The afternoon is normally dedicated to chats with my marketing team to plan new product launches and events that are coming up. Right now we’re planning the arrival of four bee hives, which will sit at the back of our roastery. We are the first UK coffee roastery to join 1 per cent For The Planet, where we pledge 1 per cent of our annual sales to charity. Being ethical and sustainable are two of our key focuses at Modern Standard, and each year we look to reduce our carbon footprint by 10 per cent.


Each night I’m home by 5pm. Bath and bed time with my two children is always a good way to switch off from work. Teddy is two and Rosalind is seven months. My partner Hannah does an amazing job raising them both and she’s the real strength in our family. I couldn’t do half of what I do without her support.


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Hopefully they’re both in bed and sound asleep, and I can either jump on my indoor bike for a Zwift session before dinner, which normally consists of salmon and rice. Hannah grew up in Tokyo so our dinner has a heavy Japanese influence.




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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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