9 Best Coffee Shops to Try in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
In conversation with two of my best friends recently, they (lovingly) called me a ‘coffee snob.’ I laughed them off, before quietly concluding that they might actually be onto something…
For me heading out of the house to grab a coffee is the perfect way to relax, connect with friends and family, treat myself or simply take time to sit and read my favourite magazine. After living in Aberdeen for 13 years, it’s safe to say I know my way round the city. I’ve tried most coffee shops in Aberdeen, so let me share my favourites as a local so you can appreciate them, too. I’ll also let you know which bakes the best cinnamons buns too, that’s only fair.
It goes without saying, but grab a fresh brew and let’s jump in.
I promise no swearing in is required; all it takes is one sip. Nestled right in the heart of Aberdeen on the corner Esslemont Avenue, you’ll find The Cult of Coffee. They focus on serving up the best speciality coffee from roasters including Machina Coffee, Artisan Roast, Dark Arts, Method Roastery, Papercup Coffee and more. Of course, a great coffee is best accompanied with delicious baking, and everytime I visit (which is often) I can guarantee the selection has never been the same twice. For fellow coffee aficionados, this is also a great spot to pick up some your specialist coffee merchandise, beans or books. Keep a look out for their schedule of coffee events, including cupping sessions, AeroPress competitions and more. Cult also takes the top spot for best dark hot chocolate in the city. For those going dairy free, they have a huge range of alternative milks including oat, soy, pea and more.
If you're looking for a cafe in Aberdeen, The Cult of Coffee is a safe bet. Last year, it was named the overall winner of Customers' Café of the Year at the Scottish Café Awards 2022.
Okay, so we’re only at my second recommendation and it’s not quite a coffee shop. But I’ll do you one better, coffee right on the promenade of Aberdeen Beach!
Located at the Fittie end of Aberdeen Beach in a little black horse-box, they’re perfectly positioned for a little mid-beach walk pause. In rain or shine (but perhaps not during strong north coast winds…) Cairn serve up Machina Coffee and Kokoa Collection cacao. You might even be fortunate enough to spot some dolphins as you wait to be handed your delicious caffeine boost. If you like your coffee strong and mighty, make your way to Cairn Coffee Hut.
Nestled away in the Cairngorms National Park, in the wee village of Crathie, you’ll find Tarmachan Café. With a focus on delicious artisan coffee (they serve William & Johnson coffee) and local produce, this is perfectly located for a pit-stop en route to, or from, Balmoral Castle – which is practically across the road. The building itself is incredibly beautiful. The timber and glass is sympathetic to the landscape and is stylish and minimal - unsurprising when you consider it's attached to the architecture studio next door. I love sitting outside here (when the weather allows) with a hot cappuccino and fresh artisan bake. You truly feel tucked away in the Cairngorms, with the convenience of being right off the A93.
Tarmachan love to throw an event, from year round Supper Clubs to Spring and Summer Rooftop Series with great music and food. You won’t be disappointed by a visit to Tarmachan on your next visit to Royal Deeside. Keep the royal theme going and fuel an adventure up Prince Albert’s Cairn? It’s just across the road, after all – and you never know who you might meet.
One of the newest on the Aberdeen speciality coffee scene, Mount is also conveniently a stone's throw away from our Aberdeen office...
Spacious, bright, open-planned and filled with the scent of incredible coffee, Mount is a relaxing place to be. They take such care over every cup they pour and whatever I’ve ordered has tasted incredible. My favourite? Their Dirty Chai. Owners Jack and Lauren have a long love of café culture, having independently explored the coffee scenes in Bali and Texas, before bringing that passion back to the centre of Aberdeen. Expect the counter to be filled with local artisan bakes (Sourcloud, Feingebäck, Wild Hearth bakery), and the shelves filled with carefully selected cards, coffees, candles and Mount merchandise.
Avid lovers of the outdoors as runners and Munro climbers, the owners bring their love of the outdoors, indoors. Find a slower pace with weekly Pilates and yoga, or the occasional wine night or restaurant pop-up. Too relaxing? Mount just hosted their first Mount Marathon in Aberdeen, fundraising for SAMH, and have already teased a 2024 event.
Expect outstanding speciality coffee and a clever visual brand identity from Figment Coffee. It’s not your imagination, the pig really does have wings. Figment’s aim is to create a piece of magic in every cup, inspired by the latte that changed the career of its local founder and engineer, Neil Glover. Figment search for the best specialty coffees of the world, and carefully roast their beans to develop their unique flavours profiles for the ultimate cup of coffee. By combining the science and art of coffee roasting in their Aberdeen roastery they create sustainable coffee that stands out from the rest. This level of care means a little longer of a wait, but I guarantee that it’s always worth it.
You won’t be disappointed either by the industrial, cool vibes of their café. A great place to catch up with friends or sit and relax with your favourite book. While you’re there, make sure you sit in for brunch, grab a fine piece (translation: north-east speak for a lovely homebake!) and buy a bag of beans to take home to keep you fuelled until your next visit.
Escape the busy-ness of life in the original Foodstory café, tucked away on Thistle Street in Aberdeen. Or, if you’re on the other side of town, you can also find Findstory Zero (their sustainable zero-packaging café) on Aberdeen Uni Campus, or at Foodstory Hut on Aberdeen Beach Promenade.
This vegetarian eatery also serves up speciality coffee (Fortitude), food and homebakes. I promised to tell you where to get the best cinnamon buns in Aberdeen, and it’s here. I ordered (almost) weekly deliveries of these during lockdown – along with their chai. The classics are my favourite, but expect other exciting flavours – coffee and walnut or chocolate salted caramel, to name a few.
Dreamy Goat Coffee Co. is a specialty coffee shop (cottage even!) on North Street in Inverurie, a market town in Aberdeenshire. They serve up coffee from the UK’s best roasteries (including local Figment Coffee) alongside a fully vegetarian all-day brunch menu in bright and colourful surroundings.
Dreamy Goat feature on the new speciality coffee shop ‘disloyalty card’ which encourages customers to support the small, but growing, speciality coffee shop scene across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. Fill up your disloyalty card, and redeem a free coffee at any one of the locations. You’ll feel right at home here with a coffee in hand, the perfect place to meet with friends. After all, they were named Best Coffee House 2022 at the Scottish Café awards.
What’s better than one? Two. In the more secluded areas of Aberdeenshire, you’ll find The Coffee Apothecary in both Udny and Ellon. In Udny, you’ll find them nestled in the Old Local Post Office. Owned by husband and wife team, Jonny and Ali, The Coffee Apothecary recently featured in The Times as one of the 7 best coffee shops in unexpected places.
Offering fresh bakes and hearty meals alongside their artisan coffee, it’s easy to see why this spot is a local favourite. They take the best small batch coffee from Scotland, and serve it to exacting standards. To take your coffee to the next level, ask for their exclusive reserve menu. I’m sure this will satisfy as they serve some of the world’s rarest and most outstanding roasts. In early September, they even fired up their own coffee roaster for the first time. They also offer Coffee Masterclasses, perfect for those looking to perfect their coffee craft. To take it a step further, there are different classes for different techniques – whether you’re looking to explore latte art, espresso or filter coffee. Classes book fast though, so you need to be quick!
Fearless Coffee is the newest kid on the block, located in Rosemount. Opened just in May 2023, by Ukrainian cousins Dmytro and Valentyn. Dmytro re-located to Aberdeen in 2022, and inspired by the coffee shop he previously ran in Kyiv has now opened Fearless. Cairngorm Coffee is their main coffee supplier, but the team hope to add new guest roasters to their offering in the near future.
Enjoy bakes from The Crusty Slice along with your coffee of choice, or venture away from classic Cinnamon Buns and try their Ukrainian Berry Pie!
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