Braw Brews: Where to Find the Best Coffee in Glasgow
Coffee: that dreamy liquid for which many of us get out of bed in the morning. Possessing a wealth of magical properties, bestowing on humans the ability to focus, concentrate and feel invincible, every drop should be savoured accordingly. Essentially, it’s the ideal beverage to keep you busy until it’s time to drink wine. What’s more, as information surfaces on new findings that suggest two cups of the good stuff can cut the risk of dying from a stroke and heart disease, it begs the question why we can’t just hook ourselves up to a caffeine drip and live happily ever after?
Thankfully for the caffeine freaks in Glasgow, we don’t have to leave the country and drink coffee at source to enjoy a great cup. Glasgow boasts gallons of glorious-tasting java, readily available for your shaking, coffee-deprived hands to grab. So sip your way through this selection (maybe NOT all in the one day) of the city’s tastiest brews, and enjoy the coffee buzz of life.
Riverhill Coffee Bar, 24 Gordon Street, City Centre
If your commute involves hopping on and off at Glasgow’s Central Station, you might want to start working into your monthly budget the need for five or so coffees a week from city centre favourite, Riverhill. As philosophies go, Riverhill’s should be enough to push you through the door, as they state: “We strive to produce delicious food and serve delectable coffee in stylish surroundings.” And there’s not one word of a lie. Championing the cause for nutritious and moreish grub in a cosy hub, it’s a mantra that’s not difficult to get behind. And when it comes to the coffee, suppliers Dear Green Coffee deliver the goods. The speciality roasters based in Glasgow use seasonal, traceable, single-origin Arabica La Marzocco, and in Riverhill, the beans are ground to order, for each and every cup, producing an intoxicating aroma and supreme flavour. Our recommendation? Grab a giant chicken shawarma on your next lunch break, along with a side of epic sweetness in the form of a monster Empire biscuit or the gooey billionaire’s shortbread (yes, also giant), along with some admirable latte art.
Luckie Beans, Glasgow Queen Street Station
Another one for all you ‘Luckie’ commuters (maybe a not-so-lucky bank account) comes in the form of this coffee cart, packed with highly traceable, speciality grade coffee in every bag. With its on-demand grinders, espresso is consistently extracted, along with latte art lovingly poured by the baristas, so the hardest decision you’ll be faced with in the morning is which option to chose from: the award-winning Love Lane House Blend, Queen Street Blend or one of the single origins which change weekly. If your morning cup just isn’t enough to quench that coffee drought though, stock up on beans and pick up a few different bags to sample the full range. Our shout is the Sumatra Manheling Grade 1, with notes of dark chocolate, brown sugar and red wine. Oh – and don’t forget to pick up a Tunnock’s Tea Cake from the jar!
Spitfire Espresso, 127 Candleriggs Merchant City
Friendly, laid-back, and guaranteed banter on a daily basis (so you’ll need to sharpen up your wit in the mornings) – Spitfire Espresso boasts some of the smoothest brews in the city. Using exclusive Gunnerbean coffee – a delicious blend of Colombian and Brazillian beans – it’s roasted to bring out the chocolate and nutty notes. Sounds banging, right? It’s perfect as a simple, *ahem double*, espresso or in a flat white. The venue’s interiors also make it a welcoming place to take your laptop and try and get a couple of hours work done (or just catch up on your Facebook stalking), whether you’re milking that one coffee for all it’s worth, or grabbing some brilliant grub from the generous menu. On top of the daily mountain of cakes and bakes, you can get stuck into savoury eats too; we recommend the hearty salmon and cream cheese bagel. Oh, and did we mention you’ll be sipping along to a bopping rockabilly soundtrack?
Laboratorio Espresso, 93 West Nile Street, City Centre
It’s teeny, you’ll have to fight to get a table, and there’s a bike attached to the wall. One whiff of the coffee and you’ll have that lightbulb moment as to just why it’s so ever-popular. Opened back in October 2013, Laboratorio Espresso brings the truly authentic, artisan Milanese espresso bar vibe to Glasgow. Because how different are the two cities, really? The traditional Italian blend coffee, mixed with northern Italian slow food, is served fast-paced. That’s right, you’ll get that quick coffee shot without too much lingering, so if you don’t LOVE waiting two hours for an ultra hipster barista buff to pour your masterpiece of latte art drop by drop, you’ll appreciate Laboratorio’s swiftness and candour. Don’t worry though, you can still be the coffee connoisseur you’ve always wanted to be, as it’s the only cafe in the city to stock ‘Caffeine Magazine’, so you can take your caffeine junkie levels up a notch and taste, feel, see and read about coffee all at once. But don’t let your coffee go lonely – the chocolate cannoli are possibly more enjoyable than any real life human you’ve ever met. And don’t let your cannolo go lonely either – this isn’t a one man job, you better add a good two or three (or nine) to the side of your coffee saucer.
Wilson Street Pantry, 6 Wilson Street, Merchant City
Freezing Scottish summer? Warm up inside with a piping hot cuppa joe in Wilson Street Pantry’s chilled out hidey-hole. One day of ‘taps aff’ weather? Get outside with an iced latte and people-watch with your sunnies on. Every sip is made all the sweeter as Wilson Street’s uses beans straight from roasters, Papercup Coffee Company, using a specially designed blend. Brunch believers should most definitely assemble too, as you’ll have your choice of all the classic brunch grub, from eggs Bennys to hipster sourdough toast stacked with avocado*.
*Thought of the day: what did we all talk about before the avocado revolution…?
Gordon Street Coffee, 79 Gordon Street, City Centre
Joined onto Central Station, Gordon Street is the only coffee shop in the city that brews its very own coffee, with its very own staff delivering on the whole coffee journey, from green bean to cup. Helpfully declared as its ‘Glasgow Roast’ we urge you to choose it over the house blend (though undeniably also highly delicious), as this roast retains the fruitiness of its Guatemalan and Kenyan beans while contributing pleasing chocolate undertones and aftertaste. It’s punchier, stronger and altogether more ‘Glasgow’. Once you’re converted, you can even declare your Gordon Street Coffee love to your fellow commuters – and the entire world – by picking up one of the branded coffee travel cups. Sitting in? Sneak on upstairs and try and bag yourself a spot on the mezzanine, grab a book from the shelf and nestle in, drowning out the station noise next door and settling into your preferred corner. End up missing your train? Well, what’s there to be stressed about when you could just order another cup?
Psst – don’t forget to pick up a loyalty card and start picking up those stamps – every 7th coffee is fan-dabby-dozily free!
Meadow Road, 579 Dumbarton Road, West End
West End Wanderers – waltz right into this dog-friendly gem for a steaming mug and, if you’re lucky, the chance to make some new friends. Slightly off the beaten track right along at the end of Dumbarton road, it’s worth those extra steps on the pedometer to score that reward. Coffee bosses at Dear Green make another appearance, supplying all coffee. The skilled baristas at Meadow Road then do the rest, taking their time (but not too much time) to pour you the perfect cup. Sit in to make the most of the quirky decor, hipster vibe, and cosy, communal feel. The food lineup offers a commendable selection of gluten-free bakes and beyond, offering and brunch and lunch at prices that will make you smile wider than the face you spotted in your latte art.
Artisan Roast, 15-17 Gibson Street, West End
With coffee roasted at the roastery in Edinburgh & sent through daily, we’re not having a lol when we say this is fresh. Sample as many blends as you can by picking up your own bags so you can get grinding and be pouring at home. We particularly love the Chisi Malawi in an oat milk latte due to its medium-bodied character and tangy orange marmalade notes that lead through to a fragrant plum finish. The choices continue in store when it comes to your preferred brew method; just head to the brew bar and select the option you desire, whether you’re an Aeropress head, cafetiere connoisseur or V60 partisan. When it comes to the munchies, Artisan Roast focuses on organic, vegan and gluten-free delights – and yup, the baking is all carried out in-house too. Bravo chaps and chapettes.
Your favourite coffee spot not on the list? Get us telt in the comments!