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The joys and pains of specialist cafés

7 Jan
Sometimes, all you want is a good cup of coffee (or tea) and a bit of quiet.

Sometimes, all you want is a good cup of coffee (or tea) and a bit of quiet.

There are so many cafés in Edinburgh now that to compete, cafés have to become centres of excellence, specialists in one thing or another. Some are specialists in coffee. Others are specialists in something else: books, chocolate or bread, for example. Or tea. The tea house is a relatively recent addition to the Edinburgh scene and since they all serve coffee, offer hot beverages and cake I count them in the café family.

Some specialist cafés make their specialism work for them and some fail to wow you. Why is that?

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Macaroon heaven – Patisserie Madeleine, Edinburgh

10 Aug
Delicious macaroons from Patisserie Madeleine

Delicious macaroons from Patisserie Madeleine

We were on the way to Hector’s for coffee and whatever sweet things they may serve when we walked past Patisserie Madeleine and I stopped. They sell macaroons. French macaroons, those nutty, gentle, chewy and crispy little dainties, sandwiched together with ganache or flavoured cream. My favorite thing in the world. This is where we had to go for cake.

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The Swedish Trilogy, 1: Coffee

13 Jul
Coffee should be dark and bitter.
Coffee should be dark and bitter.

It’s early on a summer’s morning and I have just ordered an Americano in a rather nice cafe in a suburb of Stockholm. The barista makes a double espresso, pours it into a cup and tops it up with filter coffee. The result is extremely strong and packed with caffeine. There’s a good reason for why I don’t send it back.

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