Just an update on this review – sadly the Caffeine Drip has now closed.
When I saw a feature on the 10 best new coffee places in Edinburgh included a South African Cafe, I immediately added it to my ‘to try’ list for my day in the city.
Visiting midweek and late afternoon in January (they close at 4pm) meant I entered the basement cafe and for a moment thought I was the only customer, until I heard the chatter of two women sitting at a little table in a hidden annexe.
I already knew, from checking on the website, that I’d be indulging in a boerewors roll (think hot dog, but much more substantial, spicier and generally delicious) and a black Americano. But even then I had a choice and opted for the Old School Boerie Roll with tomato relish and that SA favourite, Mrs Ball’s chutney.
So, I placed my order at the counter and was asked, what table number are you going to be sitting at, so we know where to bring your food?
Every table I could see was empty – what a choice! It being a chilly day, I opted for the one beside the heater and gave the number, to be told sorry, that’s the table for groups to sit at!
So I stifled a giggle and sat in the corner, passing the ‘big table’ which was actually just two standard tables pushed together.
The Caffeine Drip describes itself as rustic, and it is. Coloured wooden boards make up an eye-catching wall and some of the ceiling is covered with coffee bags. There are photos of Cape Town and SA music played, which was good, as it can be an endurance of being the only diner in an empty, silent restaurant.
The good news is that the server did manage to find me, and I was soon tucking into very tasty boerewors and a smooth coffee. My only criticism is that the side salad was flooded in dressing which actually soaked into the roll, so I’d have preferred it to be served separately.
The cafe opens at 7.30 and there’s a really varied breakfast menu – porridge, muesli, omelettes, French toasts and a good selection of vegan dishes – so I imagine it must be very popular earlier in the day. Breakfast rolls sound very hearty with haggis, white or black pudding and boerewors as ingredients. You can even have vegan haggis!
The lunch menu is extensive, with rolls, soup, burgers and a whole range of sandwiches, panini and wraps. Many of the dishes offer CYO – create your own options, so everyone should be able to find a favourite.
The coffee served is Fairtrade and organic and again, the choice when it comes to drinks, is really wide, with smoothies and shakes of every kind (visit the website and take a look!)
There was a tempting selection of sweet treats by the till, but I didn’t indulge – no room.
Also available is free wifi and a loyalty card to collect stamps and get a free drink.
The stairs down to the main cafe in the basement are steep, but there is a small seating area at ground level which a couple and a small child in a pushchair were using when I left.
The Caffeine Drip is just a couple of minutes walk from Princes Street, so easy to get to by foot.
It was still January and chilly when I left the Caffeine Drip, but I’d enjoyed my little warming taste of South Africa on a Scottish winter’s day.