Brew Lab West end is now open! It's been over a year in the making but we're really happy with how it turned out, and wanted to tell you a bit more about it.
We had been on the lookout for a site for a Brew Lab 2 for quite some time and we found the garage on Queensferry Street Lane in November 2014. We’ve always thought the West End was crying out for some specialty coffee and when we found the garage, we thought it would make the perfect small, high volume, takeaway focused café for the busy office crowd of the West End.
The unit used to be a lockup garage which gave us a blank canvas to work with. In terms of design, we wanted to make it contrast the South College Street café which reflects its period features, and university setting with reclaimed school furniture, bare brick and plaster. We’ve ended up with a super contemporary look with clean, eccentric lines, strip lights and neon that gives a nod to the 90s.
In terms of coffee - Brew Lab West End is an exercise in coffee making automation, using some exciting new coffee kit that wasn't available when we opened the original Brew Lab. After the barista has set the coffee recipe for the day using their sensory skills, repeatability and consistency are key. Espresso machines already help to ensure this repeatability to a certain extent; our VA388 Black Eagle at South College Street is extremely temperature and pressure stable, but to make sure you're producing the best espresso every time the barista has to be paying a lot of attention to buttons, a timer and a scale. Filter coffee is much harder produce consistent results with from one coffee to the next. With a pour over, no matter how much training a barista has, there will always be differences in how one barista pours water over the coffee bed to the other. At Brew Lab West End we have two machines that help to vastly improve our consistency.
For espresso we have the next generation of the Black Eagle: the VA388 Black Eagle Gravimetric. This machine has weight units built into the drip tray, and will automatically cut the espresso shot when the desired beverage weight is met. So far we've found the machine has been producing espresso to an accuracy we hadn't been able to achieve before.
For filter coffee, we're using Marco SP9 brewers. These brewers ensure the brewing water stays at a constant temperature throughout the brewing process, and they disperse the required amount of water consistently each time. This means every brew throughout the day should taste just like the QC brews we make.
Once the coffee is dialled in each day, these machines will mean we can serve the best coffee possible and enable the barista to pay more attention to customers and service, as well as how the coffee tastes, instead of constantly watching a scale and a timer.
As in South College Street, we’ll have two rotating single origin filter coffees from roasters such as Notes, The Barn, Square Mile, Workshop Coffee, and two seasonal single origin espressos from our friends at Has Bean. We’ve also put in a Cold Brew Coffee tap, so we’ll be serving our Nitro Cold Brew on draught, as well as our bottled cold brew to takeaway.
We’re also really excited to be working even closer with Lovecrumbs and Twelve Triangles. The lady bakers are going to be baking not just our cakes, but all of our pastries and bread too – plus they’re going to be supplying us with incredible filled baguettes. We’ll still have the outstanding soups and salads from Union of Genius too, as well as the best hot chocolate & teas in Edinburgh from Edward & Irwyn and Pekoe Tea respectively.