Review: Artisan Roast – coffee paradise island in a sea of caffeine mediocrity

Artisan Roast, Broughton Street, Edinburgh 

One of the most challenging issues we face when leaving home for a trip is the wrench away from our beloved Izzo Alex Duetto II espresso machine. Discovering Artisan Roast has been delightful and is a great coffee comfort blanket for the wilderness days of enforced separation from our Izzo. Also with a cafe in Glasgow, we are secure in the knowledge that Artisan Roast will provide us with great coffee both east and west in central Scotland.

I need never endure the mass marketed non-taxpaying high street caffeine juggernauts with their multi-litre-buckets of insipid latte et al.  All this courtesy of the American model.  The words of Bill Hicks still resonate today; ‘Would you like 32 ounce or large?!’ I want to drink coffee, not drown in it.

The Artisan Roast cappuccino – archetypal coffee perfection

In both the Glasgow and Edinburgh Broughton Street shops, staff are eager to engage in discussions about coffee and genuinely care about the quality of each cup produced. Discussions have included helpful hints and tips from staff about pour to get the elusive foam emulsion that gives each cappuccino its distinctive mouthfeel. Artisan Roast master this in every cup and we have been fortunate to enhance our cappuccinos at home too, thanks to their advice.

There is usually a choice of single origin beans and a blend on offer, depending on what is currently in the grinder hoppers.  First I tried the blend, usually on offer for anyone coming in that asks for ‘a coffee’ – Janszoon espresso blend.  This contains Sumatran Mandeheling and Brazil Cooxupe. It offers a balanced, rich flavour, almost chocolatey.  The fruity element brought by the Brazilian beans only truly reveals itself in an espresso, as we found out when we took a pack of the beans home to try. This coffee is versatile and will stand up well whatever you cup of choice is, be it flat white or Americano.

I then had the Terrazu la Trinidad Costa Rican single origin bean in an espresso. This was described at breakfast in a cup, and it certainly lived up to the description, having a strong citrus tang and sweet edge.  This coffee, in my opinion, would not accommodate milk well but was a surprising, refreshing and distinctive espresso.

Chatting to the enthusiastic staff, we also discovered that Artisan Roast are developing their business and have employed baristas to push the quality of their roasts and blends to new levels.  A new website is being developed and this will include an online store.  An exciting prospect for me since I buy beans online.

Finally, we were offered an AeroPress coffee to try. One of the staff happened to be experimenting with the product. The AeroPress uses manual pressure to push finely ground coffee through a micro-filter, which is supposed to produce a smooth tasting coffee.  The coffee produced (on this occasion at least) had a delicate flavour and almost a tea-like quality.  This product may suit the home user who wants a quick and cheap solution to produce a quality cup of coffee.

AeroPress, picture courtesy of the AeroPress website

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