Artisan Roast

Visited in Edinburgh, Bruntsfield Place

I can imagine this rating raising a wave of disapproval; undoubtedly this place has a range of devoted visitors, coming in for more than just a coffee.

And I myself came in for more than just a coffee – I came in for breakfast. I walked past Cafe Grande and Project Coffee, wanting to give this little place a chance, hoping that it would offer something more than its commercial-looking neighbours. Only afterwards did I learn that out of the lot, Artisan was the chain-one-out.

The inside felt pretty hippy and homely at the same time – you know, teaspoons in chipped odd mugs on the tables, a quiet area, where you’re asked to take your shoes off, a chilled-out barista welcoming you like a regular to make yourself comfortable on the old, used couch (one step from the counter, pretty much in the middle of the small shop). I sat down as instructed, and felt rather exposed, not to mention a bit uncomfortable sinking between the cushions when fighting with my almond croissant.  The pastry was lovely, by the way; but I looked like a right mess when I finished, all covered in icing sugar, with no napkins in sight.

Whilst the croissant quieted down my rumbling stomach, the coffee made me scream on the inside. One thing: I found it overpriced; the mocha was served in a small cup which could not have been more than 180ml (I am guessing more like 150ml). For the set I paid just under a fiver (and the croissant cost about £1.30). But the name ‘Artisan Roast’ carries connotation of high quality, I thought, so I figured that the price is dictated by the sourcing of good espresso.

Now, I don’t know whether their machines were broken or whether the barista was a bit distracted, but the (tiny, for my first brew of the day) coffee was more than disappointing. It was strong and bitter, and although I wanted to think it was the Fairtrade dark chocolate I was tasting, I couldn’t really fool myself. The coffee left an unpleasant aftertaste, which reminded me of espresso shots left to settle for too long before incorporating them in a drink.

It is upsetting, I have to say, that I left with this lingering aftertaste and feeling sorry that I didn’t choose one of the neighbouring cafes for my breakfast. I made a vow not to return again; yet, a few months later, I would very much like to visit another store from this branch, especially that their website really looks like set up and run by coffee experts.

I sure hope that another visit to an Artisan Roast will prove that it’s not just the website that’s professional about coffee.

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