Herds of road trippers flocking to Scotland for the majestic Highlands and cultured cities is nothing new, but there’s a new breed of tourist in town as speciality coffee fans hit the road. Try a taste of our fave tours …
The hipster tour
The route Edinburgh or Glasgow – take your pick. Both cities are brimming with brew bars, eclectic coffee shops and indie pop-ups to explore. Just don’t forget your checked shirt and beanie. Kick things off with an early morning flattie among the throng of commuters. Then cafe hop all day through to evening espresso martinis at the latest late night opening.
Packing essentials A notebook in which to jot down new hopper must-haves, plus the phone charger to keep your Instagram followers posted with pourover perfection and a good dose of FOMO.
Fuel the journey Brunch is going to be the staple of your diet, whatever the time of day. Expect avo on everything (don’t pretend to complain) and more doorstep cheese toasties than you can shake a bottle of sriracha at.
Ease 10/10 No planning required, just grab your Indy Coffee Guide and go.
The northern tour
The route Ease into the trip with a caffeinated blast through Aberdeen before skirting around the Cairngorms via Aberfeldy (Habitat Cafe) or Udny (The Coffee Apothecary). Then make a beeline for the Isle of Skye, journeying across the Highlands for ultimate photo ops, with a detour via Ullapool for a coffee stopover (The Ceilidh Place).
Packing essentials If it’s a winter trip, take everything warm you’ve ever owned. Plus an AeroPress, portable grinder and a thermos of hot water – they’ll be a lifesaver in the car between venues. If you’re planning a summer jolly, pack a Polaroid camera to catch all the sights and a couple of bottles of cold brew in a cool box.
Fuel the journey Steaming bowls of seasonal soup and scones as big as your face are the best way to keep the jitters at bay.
Ease 5/10 You’ll need to sort out transport, beds for three or four nights and an itinerary, but hey, satnav is foolproof, Airbnb is cheap and the scenery is definitely worth it.
The roastery tour
The route Pay your favourite roasters across the country a visit and have a nosey at what happens to the beans before they reach your cup. An increasing number of roasters are engaging with the public through the introduction of on-site cafes, shops and training facilities. Some, such as Mr Eion in Edinburgh are open to the public the whole time.
Packing essentials Pack light, you’re going to need space for all the brewing gear and beans picked up along the way. A pen will also come in handy when you want the rock star roasters to sign your copy of the Indy Coffee Guide.
Fuel the journey Get one of the roasters to recommend a pukka local pub and replenish the stores with something hearty – man, we loved the roast chicken, haggis bonbons and whisky sauce we had in Stonehaven during our trip.
Ease 7/10 Check out the roasters at the back of the guide to find those you can visit. Some aren’t open to the public, but if you ping them a quick tweet, who knows? They’re a friendly bunch.