While the people of ‘Glesga’ may be known for their mocking patter and tough reputation, they’re still big softies when it comes to a nice creamy macchiato and the city has been wooed by the UK coffee revolution just as much as anywhere else.
A thriving and joyous architectural wonder of a city, Glasgow has it’s finger firmly on the pulse of arts and culture and an even tighter grip on current coffee trends, with new cafes popping up all over the place from month to month.
From high-class Italian espresso joints to upcycled hipster hang-outs, Glasgow is jam-packed with speciality roasters and funky coffee joints promising the best java in all of Scotland.
So to help you find the best coffee in Glasgow, we’ve put together this ultimate list of our favourite hot spots to help satisfy those caffeine cravings and excite the palate!
Best Coffee Shops Glasgow
118 Ingram St, Glasgow G1 1EJ
Before the unstoppable coffee shop onslaught of the 2010s, one of the first movers and shakers of the Glesga café trend was Tinderbox, which opened all the way back in 1998.
The fact that it still remains here today to do battle with every chain and up and comer on the street is a testament to how much of an institution it has become in the hearts and minds of weegie java nuts.
Found on Ingram Street, it has an incredibly enviable corner location and stays open till an astonishing 11 pm at night, making it one of the few all-night cafes in the city.
It’s therefore often busy, with a lively, thriving crowd always there to sample it’s revered coffee quality.
If you want the efficiency and feel of an upmarket 21st-century espresso bar, but with a better, more refined taste – Tinderbox is an old fame definitely worth revisiting.
Papercup Coffee Company
603 Great Western Rd, Glasgow G12 8HX
Another continental-feel café with plenty of style, Papercup manages to separate itself from the crowd thanks to its own high-power coffee roaster, giving unique flavour and a little local touch to your daily brew.
A stripped back and minimalist décor give it a slightly edgy look, and it often hosts a hustling and bustling environment thanks to its range of filter coffee options and ever-present espresso miracle worker the La Marzocco Linea Classic.
Although a tiny little fish in a big old pond made of java, Papercup’s baristas have fought hard to win it a high-ranking spot on the weegie coffee drinker’s map and their own roastery efforts have seen them become a big success.
For a shop as small as theirs to be recognised as one of the best cafes in all of Scotland in 2017 is quite frankly a staggering achievement and a testament to how tasty their brew is!
Papercup is a clear choice among the locals and students who populate the West End, meaning it is never quiet, but even if you have to wait for a seat, the end result is more than worth it.
15-17 Gibson St, Glasgow G12 8NU
If you’ve already spied out our Edinburgh list, you may recognise the name of this little hipster haven, as Artisan Roast is becoming something of a chain on the Scottish coffee scene with four cafes now to its name.
However, don’t think for one second this means it’s sold out and bowed down to the man, as Artisan’s weegie hub is still as trendy as you’d expect and more importantly still home to one of Scotland’s premium roasteries.
Artisan cares deeply about the coffee they provide customers and so only source their beans directly from farmers, picking their batches based on seasonal freshness and then roasting them in-house multiple times over a week to unlock a multitude of flavours.
This has made it a giant amongst men in the world of coffee taste and their unsnobbish, care-free persona has made them an independent escape for espresso enthusiasts who have become bitter and twisted after hundreds of ridiculous Starbucks recipes.
5 Hyndland St, Partick, Glasgow G11 5QE
Although sounding very much like the local greasy spoon around the corner, the spelling of Kaf is a heavy hint that this is actually an all Scandi affair and not the sad plate of sausage and chips you were imagining.
Tucked away at the end of Hyndland street, Kaf is a firm favourite of the local scene due to an understated, effortlessly cool atmosphere and low crowds thanks to its narrow slice of building space.
Don’t worry about getting claustrophobic though, as a botanical, light and bright feel inside fights off any feelings you’ve been boxed in and allows you to focus on present company and the dreamy java delights that await you.
Boasting two huge grinders on their counter (that would be a Mahlkonig EK43 and a Marzocco Linea Classic for all you nerds), Kaf has a constantly rotating line-up of the very best in British roasting, allowing you to get yourself a refined palate when it comes to UK favourites such as Colonna Coffee and Foundry.
They’ve also got some of the most meticulous baristas around, so expect to get your camera out, as you’ll definitely want to snap up some of the seriously detailed latte art that’s bound to adorn your cappuccino foam.
Quaint, quiet and understated, forget everything else – Kaf is just about the coffee.
93 W Nile St, Glasgow G1 2SH
For a sophisticated and stylish java experience, Laboratorio Espresso is as Italian as it sounds, bringing authentic Milanese espresso culture right to the heart of bonny Scotland.
Award-winning and highly regarded by those with a more refined coffee palate, Laboratorio is found around the corner from Queen Street station and is a small space, kitted out with sleek wood panelling and an impressive La Marzocco Linea Classic at the bar.
With a commitment to showcasing the very best roasts Europe has to offer, this is a spot for sampling the crème de la crème of the coffee scene rather than just the best Glasgow has to offer, and their frequent rotation means you’ll never tire of your go-to order.
So why bother with a trip to Milan when there’s a little slice of it right here in Glesga!?
It All Started Here
75 Deanston Dr, Shawlands, Glasgow G41 3AQ
Despite its name, this coffee shop is actually a relative newcomer to the city, only officially opening in 2017. However, that hasn’t stopped it from quickly establishing itself as a friendly face on the coffee scene and it’s now a favourite haunt of many locals.
Found on a quaint and peaceful residential street near Kilmarnock road, it stands out amongst the housing and provides a chill, minimalist hang-out to sip your espresso in peace.
The menu matches the aesthetic too, with It All Started Here hosting just two showcase coffees a week – one for espresso and one for batch. These are often UK based blends and so IASH is almost like a fantastic little clubhouse, offering you a different tipple from the UK scene with every visit.
It’s a little further afield if you’re a grey-slab city dweller, but the top-notch barista skills and lesser-known blends on show make it a worthy journey!
The Good Coffee Cartel
12 Cornwall St, Glasgow G41 1AQ
One of the city’s newest speciality coffee roasteries, The Good Coffee Cartel, who unlike that pesky cartel in Mexico, only want to do good for the world.
As well as roasting premium coffee onsite, The GCC rocks an impressive approach to sustainable retail and coffee packaging which has seen them get incredibly close to a zero-waste footprint, something other cafes should take note of.
This makes it a great choice for eco-conscious coffee enthusiasts, who get the added bonus of being able to enjoy a sustainably sourced, seasonally fresh coffee every visit.
Offering espresso and filtered coffee, they have an often diverse range of African and South American sourced beans both washed and unwashed ready for roasting and so there’s always a cavalcade of different coffee flavours to dive into.
An unusual décor of chipboard furniture and exposed brickwork give a laid back feel and a central workbench for the barista encourages chatting and all your coffee questions to come flooding out.
Head on down and you might just learn a thing or two about your own home efforts!
Black Pine Coffee
518 Great Western Rd, Glasgow G12 8EL
Black Pine Coffee feels more like a trendy quiet bar than a spritely coffee house and it’s dark, peaceful décor makes it a great hang-out for those who detest the noisy gangs of suits and school run mums almost everywhere else.
There’s also a sense of humour here, with the cafes most talked about decoration being a neon sign declaring ‘Death before decaf’ above the tables. But don’t worry if this sounds hipster or elitist, as BPC is actually very welcoming and friendly, with a simple and satisfying outlook to preparing coffee (which does include decaf!).
Relaxing and good quality, why not escape the hubbub of the big names and wile away the hours in peace with one of Black Pines beautiful bakes and their house blend, made by the good folks at The Good Coffee Cartel!
3-5 Duke St, Glasgow G4 0QW
Serving up a little drop of history for its customers, this weegie café was named after one of the University’s most esteemed alumni – Dr. James McCune Smith – an African American slave abolitionist and intellectual in the Victorian era.
Smith was the first African-American to attain a medical degree, which is a great source of pride for the city, as Smith had previously been refused entry to his home U.S universities purely due to the colour of his skin.
Found on Duke Street opposite the ‘Old College’ where Smith attended lectures, this café just feels different to the standard cuppa shop, with a library stuffed with Scottish history tomes, local artists on the walls, sandwiches named after Scottish female anarchists – this is a café that’s trying to be authentically Glaswegian and proud.
However, the coffee is strictly of Rwandan source, and with V60, Drip and Aero press filters also available it’s a great place to soak up some history as well as some java!
127 Candleriggs, Glasgow G1 1NP
Open-plan and welcoming, Spitfire is that most unusual of combinations – Coffee and World War Two.
Although not something you particularly want to think about while sipping on a latte, Spitfire Espresso is thankfully more celebratory of the plane it was named after rather than the war itself, with plenty of model aeroplanes on show and RAF shades of blue, white and red shimmering around the shop.
But while the spitfire is certainly thought of as one of Britain’s greatest engineering marvels, it’s an Italian machine that is the star of the show in this café – a stunning red La Marzocco FB70, which adorns the counter with grace and decorum.
Serving Thomson’s Coffee (one of the original coffee roasters of Glesga) Spitfire’s signature blend ‘Gunnerbean’ is a rapid-fire taste medley and a favourite among the locals which has seen this café become one of the city’s highest fliers.