Welcome to the latest in a growing series of Sprudge Maps Spotlights, an in-depth look at cafes around the world featured as part of our Sprudge Maps service. Today we're featuring Modern Standard Coffee in the beautiful city of Edinburgh, Scotland. This part of the world is more or less always on our mind, from guides to Glasgow and Edinburgh to innovative Scottish environmental efforts, picturesque remote cafes, and the occasional wee cocktail. But Modern Standard has its own story to tell, an established roaster in the south part of Edinburgh who made the decision to open a brick and mortar cafe in the middle of a pandemic.
We spoke digitally with owner Lynsey Harley to find out more, and you can learn more by following Modern Standard on Instagram.
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Introduce yourself to our readers — tell us about your cafe!
Modern Standard Coffee is a five-year-old roasting business, we predominantly supply other cafes, restaurants, offices, retail, etc. Having our own cafe has always been in the plan, but it was January 2020 when we started to move that into action, then Coronavirus hit and delayed those plans by about 10 months.
The idea behind having our cafe is really just about presenting ourselves in our best light, showcasing our best coffees and serving just down right great coffee to our local community. We have our roastery 20 miles north of the cafe, where we have a 70kg, 25kg, 12kg, and 2.5kg Diedrich roasters. We want to open a coffee bar inside the roastery this summer too, at the moment we have a shop where locals can stop by and pick up beans and equipment.
What equipment do you use in your shop?
What is the neighborhood like where you're located? What's some other cool stuff nearby?
We are in Bruntsfield, which is a lovely neighborhood in south Edinburgh. It has a nice mix of young families, students, professionals, and when the times allow, tourists.
Did you close during a mandated Coronavirus shutdown, and if so, for how long?
We opened in December 2020, so I opted to open in the middle of a pandemic, which many thought was crazy, but the business I felt needed something new and this was where I wanted to focus my energies. We opened a few weeks before Christmas, and for those three weeks, customers could come in and sit down, albeit wearing face coverings when moving around the cafe. After Christmas, the government changed the rules and it was takeaway only, which worked well for us as we have two doors and a natural in and out flow, so we were able to serve customers efficiently and safely, and we continued our momentum. But after two weeks, the government went even stricter, and it was takeaway but from the front door only, no customers were allowed inside. And the most interesting thing happened, we became busier, but I suppose going out for a walk and getting a nice coffee is the only thing that's close to normal at the moment.
How has Coronavirus impacted daily work at your cafe?
It has with the staffing the shop safely, and customers, but everyone is very resilient and committed, so as a team we're doing well and keeping positive, and customers are responding well to that. I think at the moment, being extra nice and kind is important.
What's something cool or unique about your cafe you want folks to know?
We have a strong connection with rugby, as our founder Lynsey played for Scotland back in the day, and many of her friends are still involved. We get a lot of professional rugby players come in for coffee and beans, as it's such a big thing now, speciality coffee and elite sport. Every year, the 6 Nations happen, and that's when England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Wales, and France play in a tournament. We've combined our love of rugby and coffee, and created the Coffee 6 Nations, where we are featuring a roaster on guest from the country that Scotland will play that week. We've partnered with Francesco Sanapo from Ditta Artigianale for Italy, Hundred House Coffee for England, Hardlines Coffee for Wales, Cafe Mokxa for France and Calendar Coffee for Ireland. We will run it every year, and we hope that more places to it as customers like trying coffees from other places, and by combining rugby in the mix, it brings it to a slightly bigger audience.
Is there a community organization or charity you'd like to shout-out as part of this feature?
We're 1% For The Planet members, big shout out to any other coffee peeps who support this movement.