Word of Mouth

This place had been suggested to me by a few people; they praised the breakfasts and the homely atmosphere. I didn’t experience the former and there was too much of the latter for my taste – but the only experience I was interested in when I visited, and the one I wanted to forget when I left, was their coffee.

Word of Mouth was the first venue in Leith I had ever been to: I stopped here for a panini literally minutes after moving into my new flat on Leith Walk, since thr fridge was empty and I was slightly desperate for food. I remember thinking that this cramped cafe had some kind of magical ambiance about it, and despite ripping you off your private space, when you were crossing elbows with your co-diners at practically every move, it felt like a lovely relaxation spot; a typical neighbourhood cafe really, where no one would be surprised to see a local sitting by the window-sill bar, reading a paper, sipping a coffee – still in their slippers.

Since that one time, I’d never visited – until today, that is. It was meant to be a short, quick mission; and in deed, a mission it was, but it was rather painful to the tongue, and slightly nerve-wrecking also.

Soy Decaf Mocha at Word of Mouth, having taken a sip

Now, I was warned to expect a hippy attitude, and that’s what I encountered: the two waitresses looked dreamy, politely smiling all the time, like they were sending their love to the world – and it worked, as even despite the fatal date those smiles made me think that maybe it wasn’t my unlucky day. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was the baby bump of one of the waitresses in her, I’d take a guess, 8th month of pregnancy; I gotta say, I admire the woman, especially seeing how graciously she moved about the place; yet I didn’t think that the caffeine infused, potentially claustrophobic venue was the best place she could be at the time (and let me stress that I am not judging, I’m just saying). Only on this occasion I also discovered that Word must be French, as this was the language of the few magazines I picked up, as well as that of the chatter coming from the two tables that were taken.

I firstly placed my self by the mentioned window-sill bar, next to a lady, who soon after was joined by a companion – it got a bit crammed there, so I moved to a table just by the bar, with my back to the back-of-house door. Whether it was my luck (!), or the general state of the furnishings (as it appeared), my chair was rather wonky, so I tried to sit as still as possible to avoid an embarrassing  situation; enough that everyone must have heard me take photos of the coffee, as I felt funny looks on my shoulders when pretending to have found something very interesting inside my cup.

And so, there was the coffee; through the sweet, fluffy foam on top came the bitterness of a too-hot-to-drink-comfortably soy decaf mocha. The two sensations: sweetness and bitterness, ran through the coffee, and the persistent layering puzzled me as to how I should approach the beverage: take it in small sips or scoop the foam off first with a spoon? I must have looked a bit ridiculous shovelling the coffee with a wee spoon at one point, like a greedy kid with a too hot hot chocolate – with the difference that I wasn’t that keen for the beverage itself, more to see it gone. We could possibly blame the decaf beans or the soya milk for the awkward taste and layering of the mocha – but some other places proved that this should not be an issue (would the fact that I saw a tin with a hand-written label “Cadburry’s Chocolate” on the counter explain anything?).

If I recall correct, the panini I tasted about two years ago was very enjoyable – and I am keen to trust those who say this is a perfect spot for a good, hearty breakfast; but if you ask me, I’d suggest you get a tea as your accompanying beverage. You can’t really go wrong with a tea, can you?

Decaf soy mocha: 2,90 (standard: 2,40)

Verdict justification: Not a place to go for a coffee, unless you’re easily pleased – or a devoted local


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