The Glasgow coffee scene has grown so much over the past year. It is simply a fact that we have never had it so good before ever. We’re in a situation now where there are a handful of places that I would consider to be serving high-end modern coffee with very little separating each of them in terms of quality and consistency.
So, here is my current list ranked in the only way that matters – purely by how much I have enjoyed the coffee and nothing but the coffee alone.
1. Thomson’s Central
Does anyone else appreciate how surreal it is that this place exists? It’s a spacious two level specialty focussed shop in the centre of Glasgow serving a menu of coffees, fruit-forward espressos, a natural as their house coffee and, yes, good batch brew.
Not only that, it’s the evolution of a Glasgow company that is over a century and a half old and I’m guessing was doing pretty well for itself without needing to bother with whatever Wave it is we’re in at the moment.
To have this place at all is quite a get for the coffee nerds of Glasgow… but the fact that it’s actually serving the best coffee here at the moment is really an unexpected but welcome surprise.
2. It All Started Here
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Has it really been a year since IASH opened?
New SSP burrs for likely the sexiest Mahlkonig Guatemala in the world has meant a noticeable boost in the quality of the batch brew here. Of course, it goes without saying that the espresso is still excellent as well.
Recently, I’ve noticed that the flavour profiles of the coffees on offer here have become more diverse. Don’t get me wrong – I love a fruit bomb but it’s nice to occasionally sample something slightly more towards the dark fruits/caramels end of the spectrum too.
3. Short Long Black
You’re going to be hearing about Darryl Docherty’s new place a lot. They’ve got Thomson’s sourcing coffee and profiling their roasts specifically for use with their setup, and they’re not messing around either – an EK43 is the only grinder in the room. Because of this, their coffee will live or die by the quality/suitability of Thomson’s roasts. Good thing that they seem to be up to the task so far.
4. Papercup Roastery, Belmont Lane
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The Roastery is still one of my favourite places to visit to nerd out over coffee. The EK ‘spro is the delicious cherry on top. (Sometimes actually tasting like cherry too). They’ve been getting some really interesting coffees in recently and many of them have been really good indeed. The opening hours can sometimes be prohibitive but if you do get a chance to visit then you should take it. In terms of coffee alone – there is no competition between here and their original shop up the road.
5. Laboratorio Espresso
I’m sure anyone reading this won’t need me to tell them how solid this stalwart of the scene is. What a treat it is to have somewhere that serves well made coffee from the likes of Gardelli, Five Elephant and The Barn all the time.
6. The Good Coffee Cartel
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The Cartel continue to put out really impressive, super clean and bright coffees. Their product can be found in quite a few shops these days – but there simply is no better place to drink it than at roastery HQ. I hope they’ve got some African coffees on the cards with the incoming season because I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do when they get their hands on new crop Kenyans and Ethiopians.
Space has appeared out of nowhere to bring good specialty coffee to the far side of the West End. Owner Connie enthusiastically offers a couple of espressos alongside well-made hand-brewed filter using a choice of coffees from the likes of Koppi and Bailies with the promise of frequent roaster rotation. If she sticks to her plan then this is going to be a fun place to visit regularly.
8. Black Pine Coffee Co.
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Don’t sleep on Black Pine. Coffee here is good and puts nearby shops with much better equipment to shame. Shame on you, other shops. Shame on you.