Coffee in Edinburgh: The Milkman

Even before I started drinking coffee, the Milkman was on my radar as a place to visit. You’ll struggle to find a more picturesque coffee shop in Edinburgh as it sits perfectly on the cobbles of Cockburn (pronounced Coe-burn) Street. With great coffee, friendly staff and the most photogenic window seats in the whole city, the Milkman is a staple on the coffee scene and is immensely popular with residents and visitors alike.

a stone building on a cobbled street in Edinburgh. There is a coffee shop in the bottom unit that looks slightly aged with time and has old signage that has faded. A couple sit at the window and another woman sits outside on a bench.

First opened in 2015 at 7 Cockburn Street, the Milkman is the perfect location for grabbing a coffee before catching a train at Waverley if you don’t have the time to sit in. Five years later in 2020, a second shop store opened just up the hill at 52 Cockburn Street much to the delight of fans (a.k.a. me). Having them so close in proximity is pretty helpful because you’ll usually be able to find a seat in one, if not the other; foolproof for people like me who like to alternate between watching the world go by and reading a chapter of my book.

Known for excellent coffee that features a range of local and global roasteries on filter and espresso, the baristas at the Milkman are extremely talented and welcoming. I usually settle in with a flat white and grab a hot chocolate later on when I’m a few chapters in. The cake display is always tempting to me but on my last visit I particularly enjoyed a slice of banana chocolate chip loaf. A favourite memory of mine was getting a hot chocolate to take away and climbing Calton Hill in the snow for sunset, something I highly recommend doing.

a bench sat in front of a large window. There's muted grey cushions and a blanket giving the window seat a cosy atmosphere and a half drank coffee is perched on top. Through the window are old buildings that are ornately decorated and a blue sky.

The original milkman has dark wood interiors with exposed brick making the small coffee nook feel cosy as you people-watch onto one of Edinburgh’s busiest streets. With similar materials, the second milkman feels more spacious with credit to white panelling and huge curved windows letting light circulate around the space. For this reason, it is my preferred spot as I absolutely adore the window seat with grey cushions.

The interior of a coffee shop in Edinburgh with exposed brick walls. There is an industrial aesthetic with wooden planks being used as bar tables with modern leather stools tucked underneath. Similar planks have also been used as shelving for reusable coffee cups and plants.

If you’re visiting Edinburgh, you would be correct in adding the Milkman to your list of places to go especially if you’re a coffee fan. The perfect caffeine spot for breakfast with cinnamon buns or in the afternoon with cake or a brownie. Its renowned reputation goes far beyond Edinburgh and you don’t want to miss out on a spot that everyone raves about.

A redheaded girl wearing a green long-sleeve and a houndstooth skirt sits on a bench in a window. There are grey linen cushions making the seat comfy.
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