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Writer Melisa Korkut takes us through some of her favourite coffee shops around the city. 

For me, there’s no better way to get to know a place than by hitting up its most treasured coffee spots. I moved to Glasgow for uni a couple of months ago without having experienced the city much at all beforehand, but I’d been promised a strong selection of good coffee here by residents and caffeine aficionados alike. Here are some of Glasgow’s top coffee shops that I’ve discovered… so far!

1841

Area: West End (close to the Botanic Gardens)

Roaster(s): Thomson’s Coffee Roasters (The cafe itself is a retail cafe for Thomson’s – one of Glasgow’s most well known roasteries – which was established in 1841! Hence the more-than-appropriate name)

Ideal for: A catch-up with a pal 

My first visit to 1841 a few weeks ago was actually on their first birthday. I’d been meaning to go for a long time, and a party seemed like the opportune moment. The space there is so bright, fresh and welcoming; it really does feel like a homely living room, which is complemented by the lovely staff. The batch-brewed coffee I had there was so delicious, and as a bonus was served in a beautiful ceramic cup. They also opened during the pandemic, which deserves mad respect. 

Perch and Rest

Area: West End (just off of Great Western Road)

Roaster(s): Various

Ideal for: Reading a book in their cute little garden 

This was the first place I stumbled across during my first week in Glasgow, so I hold it pretty close to my heart. I’ve whiled away many hours in their garden, which they set up to accommodate the lockdown rules (although they are currently in the process of building more indoor seating). If you’re into brewing coffee at home and fancy treating yourself to some spenny equipment, Perch and Rest has a whole emporium of goodies, from colourful ceramic V60 drippers to hi-tech kettles. 

The Good Coffee Cartel

Area: Southwest, Govan (right beside Kinning Park subway station)

Roaster(s): Own beans

Ideal for: Doing a “good” thing for the environment 

After feeling slightly like an intruder as I walked through a quaint neighbourhood, I came across the gem that is The Good Coffee Cartel. Having branded themselves as the original “Tinfluencers”, their retail beans come in reusable and recyclable tins (that would look great on your kitchen counter) – when you need more beans just pop in and they’ll refill it for you. What’s more, they take pride in sustainably sourcing their beans. I’m a sucker for a coffee shop that not only actually cares, but does so in a simple and unpretentious way. They’ve recently re-opened for sit-in, so the other day I spent a couple of hours in there reading a novel and drinking coffee, and it was bliss.

Short Long Black

Area: Southside, Govanhill (about a half an hour’s walk from the city centre)

Roaster(s): Thomson’s 

Ideal for: Taking your coffee to the nearby Queen’s Park and sitting on a bench for a spot of dog watching

Having opened in April 2018, this coffee shop and bakery has since become a firmly established favourite with locals. I was a big fan of their simple menu, which offers a choice between black or white coffee. Their selection of baked goods is, to put it lightly, extreme (the cinnamon bun I had was one of the best I’ve ever tasted, and I feel more than qualified to make that statement), so I believe the rumours of their very long queues during lockdown. It’s worth it to note that they are still takeaway only, which makes me extremely jealous of those locals!

Us V Them

Area: East End (right next to the Barrowlands Ballroom)

Roaster(s): Various

Ideal for: Studying/laptop time 

Us V Them has that industrial not-quite-finished-renovating feel without being too basic (there are barely any wooden furnishings, and I only spotted three green plants). They also operate as a consulting service for businesses using coffee machines, so not only are they appreciated by Scottish cafes far and wide, it also makes you trust that they know what they’re brewing. They rotate their beans quarterly; during my visit I had a delightful Costa Rican batch from Square Mile roasters (London based). If, like me, you enjoy studying with a chance to people watch in between readings, then sit at the bar, which looks out onto a happily bustling street. Plus, due to the size of the place and the fact that they have Wi-Fi, I didn’t feel pressured to leave so soon after arriving (just make sure to buy a couple of coffees or a slice of tasty banana bread to make it worth your time!).

I had to drink a lot of coffee in my quest to bring you this lowdown, so I can only hope you manage to find a new favourite among this list!


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