The Cult of Coffee



Rosemount is a highly desirable area of Aberdeen. It has its own community feel, and if it was separated from the City it would be a lovely self-sufficient “village” with all the nice places: from hairdressers to retro sweet shops, and from Italian delis to cosy cafes.

Despite that, this is not an area I frequent these days, even if I drive through it fairy regularly. Due to tricky on-street parking, it’s easier – and also much nicer – to do a stroll up by foot for a wee browse.

It was actually on my way for a hair appointment that I noticed The Cult of Coffee for the first time. I passed it walking from town, and was instantly attracted by the symbol of the Allseeing Eye in the window (holler all Dan Brown fans!) and the modern blue-and-gold decor, which suggested it wasn’t one of those after-thought / last-resort cafes that have been popping up around Union Street recently. I knew it wouldn’t be long before I’d paid it a visit.

Mocha at The Cult of Coffee

That opportunity arose a few weeks later as I was attending to a message in the area on a busy Saturday, when I actually managed to park the car directly up the road from The Cult. I walked past it again, and thought I wasn’t neither hungry nor particularly thirsty… and then realised I still had 20min left on my parking session, which would have been a shame to let go to waste.

I turned round and strolled into the cafe. The inside was fresh, bright and welcoming, albeit there weren’t many customers making use it. I made my way to the end of the room to the counter, with a selection of sweets and bakes displayed. It was just a coffee visit this time, but my order of a mocha was greeted by an option of either milk or dark chocolate. On the server’s recommendation I went for the milk option, paid and asked to sit outside, as it was a lovely sunny day – a break in the recent rainy weather which followed an incredibly hot summer (in Scottish terms, of course).

I was invited to help myself to some infused water at the condiment section by the door, which was stocked up to cater for all the morning office goers needing to take their coffees away.

There were only two tables outside, and the second one had just freed up as I arrived, so as I awaited my coffee I entertained myself watching the not-so-busy Rosemount life go by, as well as doing a quick browse through The Cult’s Facebook page. It looks like the place is living the ethos of its neighbourhood, not only by celebrating coffee from the bean stage, but also organising music events and workshops to pull the community together.

When the mocha arrived shortly afterwards, it looked big but luxurious: it had chocolate shavings on top which were just beginning to melt. I took a sip, and was pleased I decided to make that pit-stop. The concoction was velvety smooth, wholesome and moreish; I could see how milk chocolate made it more indulgent, but at the same time the drink wasn’t overpowering or too rich, and was of the perfect temperature to just lock your lips on.

The only minus was the sheer size of it – and by the time I got through most of it, it had cooled down quite a bit which made it taste heavier. I still polished my cup, and within 15min I was on my way again – thinking this was a pleasant discovery, and a good enough reason for me to visit this charming part of town more often.

Mocha: £3.35

Verdict justification: Great coffee, nice staff and pleasant venue, promising to deliver more than just quality beverages.

The Cult of Coffee’s Facebook page.

Categories: Aberdeen, Cafes, Local, UK | Leave a comment

Empire State Coffee

The fun side of being a freelancer is that you get to travel from time to time. The not-so-glamourous side is that it’s not always exotic places – albeit some might consider Dundee as such.

This visit happened a while ago, in the winter months. I had finished my meeting early and had a couple of hours to spare before my train back (just a proof it’s not always glamorous travel!), so – naturally – I was looking for somewhere comfy and warm to wait it out.

Despite my original assumption (sorry Dundee!) it seems like there are actually a few coffee shops to choose from in town, according to Google maps. One that caught my eye, since it was a relatively short walk from the train station, was Empire State Coffee. Trip Advisor reviews seemed to rate this place highly, so I headed to the destination… only to find it plastered in brown paper with a “moved-out” note on the front door!

As it turned out, they didn’t move far, just a few corners away. I was pleased to discover that, although the place seemed buzzing with the people that were there, there were still plenty of free seats on ground level, and an arrow pointed at more seating in the basement.

I took a seat, dumped my laptop bag and handbag, and eagerly ordered my coffee at the counter. I decided to go for the larger size of mocha for a change – probably because I knew I wanted to settle in for a while.

Mocha at Empire State Coffee

Mocha at Empire State Coffee

I got a bit of a scare – and a tiny bit of disappointment – when I saw a large, Costa-like latte glass arriving, filled to the bream. At that point I had the laptop open and was cracking on with work, so I took the first few sips wondering how much of the brew I’d end up leaving behind.

But alas, 10min later the glass was empty.

The Empire mocha was a nice, smooth concoction; sweetness was more notable than the caffeine, but not overwhelmingly so, and at times it had a bit of a powdery aftertaste to it. Regardless, it made for a great winter drink accompanying my work.

I spent just over an hour there, and people were coming and going, but the place never felt chaotic or noisy – in fact, it made for quite a relaxing space to work, complemented by staff who were friendly but not intrusive.

Yes, I know there are more coffee shops to visit in Dundee – but I would not hold back from returning to Empire State.

Mocha (medium): £2.90

Verdict justification: Very pleasant venue with tasty coffee – definitely worth a visit!

Visit Empire State Coffee website here.

Categories: Cafes, Local, UK | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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