Coffee is like a food lover’s football. It’s a universal language across the globe, and we’ve yet to find a location that doesn’t have its share of coffee connoisseurs. For travelers, coffee is an excellent way to break the ice and meet new people. For culinary enthusiasts, coffee will give you a unique taste on a staple drink. No matter who you are, you can be sure that tasting coffee from an unfamiliar country will provide you with insight into a new culture and delicious taste.

To help you find the best coffee on your travels, we take a look at the best coffee-buying tips across three of the world’s most popular sub-regions and continents.

Tips For a Great Cup of Coffee in South-East Asia

Vietnamese Ice Coffee
Photo by Frank McKenna on Unsplash

Much of South-East Asia including Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore are all notorious for sweet, strong coffees that are often best tasted cold.

Creamy, sugary condensed milk is often used in place of fresh milk, creating rich yet refreshing cups of coffee, especially when made with ice. Ice is either blended into the drink or placed in your cup as cubes. Alternatively, hot black coffee also proves to be a popular choice in this region.

In some cases, you’ll find that coffee beans are roasted with margarine, creating a unique taste that is not common with familiar European roasts such as French and Italian.

For a great coffee in South-East Asia, look out for “Kopi” shops if you’re in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia or the Phillippines. These are local haunts that are famed for their excellent coffee that will keep locals quenched for hours while they catch up and relax.

What to Look for When Drinking Coffee in Europe

Double Espresso
Photo by Kevin Butz on Unsplash

The Italian and French coffee roasts are arguably the most used roasts across the globe. Because of this, many people hail Europe as the best place in the world for coffee, with an extensive selection to explore.

Coffee in Europe can range from fast and easy informal coffee bars that are perfect for when you’re on the go, to extravagant experiences that have been crafted by experts in the search for coffee perfection.

You’ll also find that there are many places where coffee coexists with budding art scenes. Many independent coffee shops in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia act as a creative hub for business meetings, socializing and small gatherings for the community. When looking for coffee in Europe, these coffee shops can be a fantastic way to get to know a thriving community and art scene as well as taste a delicious drink.

Europe generally tends to be quite experimental with its coffee, with many coffee shops offering standards cups such as flat whites, lattes and cappuccinos alongside cold-pressed coffee and drip coffee.

If you plan on traveling to Italy or France, we recommend trying a pure espresso in an independent and highly-rated-by-locals coffee shop. By doing this, you’ll be able to taste a French or Italian roast where it originated from, and at its best. But as the Secret Traveller says, there are rules to follow when ordering coffee in Rome – no cappuccinos after 11 am and no funky orders like hazelnut flavor shots. Keep it simple and keep it local.

Best Coffee Tips for Africa

Bag of Coffee
Photo by Tina Guina on Unsplash

Coffee is originally from Africa, and its beginnings can be traced to Ethiopia, which is widely regarded as the home of the native coffee bean.

Because of this, Africa is an exceptional place for coffee, with their roasts often being complex with fruity, floral aromas and sometimes spicy notes. Many industry-leading coffees come from Africa, and some of the most incredible tasting roasts are farmed against backdrops of civil war, political turmoil and extreme poverty.

Elaborate coffee ceremonies are celebrated in different regions, showcasing Africa’s unique relationship with coffee. In Ethiopia, the ceremony will include a woman wearing a traditional white dress, roasting and grinding the coffee in front of guests before proceedings to pour it into small cups known as ‘cini‘ from a height of one foot.

When looking for good coffee in this region, alongside finding local coffee shops, we recommend going directly to coffee factories and farms for guided tours and to buy coffee where it originates from.

No matter where you are in the world, we recommend that you order a coffee as the locals do. Tasting regional specialty coffees will give you an excellent opportunity to explore more adventurous tastes and ingredients, as well as get the best insight into a community coffee scene. You never know, perhaps you’ll be taking a new coffee recipe back home!

You might be struggling to find a good place to eat in Edinburgh if you’re traveling on a budget. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. While most places will charge £10-£15 for a meal, and some places on the Royal Mile are far more expensive than that, I’ve found several places where you can get a meal for £5 or less. Not just any food either. These places, in my opinion, are the best places to eat in Edinburgh. As a bonus, most of them offer vegan and gluten-free options, not that I have any limitations on what I eat.

Use the Google Map below to find the locations. Blue markers show the restaurants listed in this article, while green markers are for free attractions and red are recommended paid attractions. Please note, the hours and prices listed here are subject to change. You can also click any of the addresses below for the location on the map.

Union of Genius

If I had to choose the best restaurant in Edinburgh, this is it. Not just serving the best soup in town, they also have the best hot chocolate too. All of their ingredients are organic and locally-sourced. The soups and bread are made fresh in-house. Each day there are six soups and three salads to choose from, which is a blessing compared to being faced with a menu with a hundred items. There’s nothing on the menu that isn’t good. The staff are friendly and the small room is cozy. There aren’t many places to sit, so get there early or off-peak times. If they are full, grab their picnic deal and enjoy it on the Meadows down the road.

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Price: £4 regular soup, £3 hot chocolate

Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30-16:00; Sat 12:00-16:00; closed Sun

Location: 8 Forrest Rd, Edinburgh EH1 2QN

Crowd at Union of Genius

Tupiniquim Brazilian Crepes

As to overall ranking, Tupiniquim is probably number two in town behind Union of Genius, and just barely. Their gluten-free, Brazilian-style crepes are delicious and huge. One of them is a full meal. Located at the top of Middle Meadows Walk, their crepes are a great choice for a cold day (or any day). My favorite crepe is Release the Chicken (chicken breast, cheese, avocado, sweet corn and spinach). Fernando and Gardenia are super friendly, and they attract quite the crowd. A 20-minute wait is not unusual, but more than worth it.

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Price: £5 most crepes

Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00-18:00; closed Sun

Location: Green Police Box, Lauriston Place, Edinburgh EH3 9AU

Tupiniquim Brazilian Crepes

Mosque Kitchen

If I ever need a place to get all my food for the day at a great price, Mosque Kitchen is it. For £7 I can get enough food for all three meals. The cuisine here is Pakistani, which means it’s all gluten-free. Half the menu is vegetarian, but all of it is delicious. I’m particularly fond of the lamb curry, with a side of mushrooms and naan.

Price: £5 average for a meal

Hours: Mon-Sun 11:30-22:00

Location: 31 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh EH8 9BX

Palmyra Pizza

I was told the pizza here wasn’t that good, but that they had the best falafel in town. I can’t say one way or the other on the pizza, as I took the advice and got their falafel…several times. It really is the best in town, and five quid gets you a large which is more than a full meal. Great for a late-night bite or sharing with a friend.

Price: £5 large humus and falafel wrap

Hours: Sun-Thurs 16:30-1:30; Fri-Sat 16:30-2:00

Location: 22 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9DH

Palmyra Pizza


Edinburgh has a LOT of amazing burger restaurants. I can’t say BRGR is the best, but for a budget traveler trying to eat in Edinburgh, I don’t know a better one! The choices are really good. My favorites are the blue cheese & bacon burger, the Highland Coo haggis burger and the cheese and bacon chicken burger. Add on the chips (fries) and a Fanta and your bill is only £7 (£8 Sat-Sun). Their hard milkshakes are also highly recommended.

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Price: £4 any burger Sun-Thurs, £5 Fri-Sat; £2 chips; £2 shake

Hours: Mon-Sun 12:00-22:00

Location: 4-6 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9DH

Bonnie Burrito

I found this place after purchasing their Groupon. It only took one burrito to fall in love with them. Similar to Chipotle in the USA, they make your burrito right in front of you with quality ingredients. Choose between chicken, pulled pork, Irn-Bru pork and haggis, with all the usual toppings. I always get extra guacamole and the habanero and mango salsa. The supersize burrito for £7 is more than enough for two people.

Selfie at Bonnie Burrito

Price: £4.50 regular burrito

Hours: Mon-Sun 11:00-23:00

Location: 82 S Clerk St, Edinburgh EH8 9PT

Black Medicine Coffee

If you’re just looking for a coffee break, this place has become my home-away-from-home. Their coffee is good, but I usually get one of the smoothies. They also serve pastries, sandwiches and bagels. A little-known fact is that the owner is the brother-in-law to JK Rowling. He used to own the cafe upstairs (now called Spoon), where Rowling wrote Harry Potter from time to time. While she never wrote in Black Medicine itself, the location is much better than Spoon on the 1st floor. The cozy basement is perfect for working on the blog.

Harry Potter Wasn't Written Here

Price: ≈£3 drinks

Hours: Mon-Sat 8:00-20:00; Sun 9:00-19:00

Location: 2 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9DH

Brew Lab Coffee

There’s no question in my mind that this place serves the best coffee in Edinburgh. Actually, some of the best coffee anywhere outside of Italy. Unfortunately due to a personal matter there, I’ve stopped going. I’d still recommend anyone else visiting Edinburgh to try their artisan roasts. Get their avocado sandwich for brunch while you’re at it. Just too bad I’m not there to make it for you.

Brew Lab Artisan Roast Coffee

Price: £2.40-£3 coffee or tea

Hours: Mon-Fri 8:00-18:00; Sat-Sun 9:00-18:00

Location: 6-8 S College St, Edinburgh EH8 9AA

Avocado and Feta Sandwich at Brew Lab

Koyama Sushi

This place might not be entirely budget-traveler friendly, but sushi is my favorite food and this is my favorite sushi restaurant in Edinburgh. It’s cheaper than other sushi restaurants in town, and has a special where you can get 18 rolls for under £12. Miso soup comes with the meal, and the service is very friendly. If I have any reason to celebrate with a special meal, this is my go-to location.

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Price: £11.70 18-piece maki rolls special

Hours: Website says Mon-Sat 12:00-22:00, but usually closed in the afternoon

Location: 20 Forrest Rd, Edinburgh EH1 2QN

La Favorita Pizza

Again, not altogether budget-friendly, but no post on places to eat in Edinburgh would be complete without mentioning the best pizza parlor in town. Oh, and pizza is also my second favorite food. No other parlor in town really comes close to these Italian-style pizzas. Unfortunately, my favorite flavors are also the most expensive there, which is why I’ve only been once. If you have a little extra to spend, I can’t recommend them enough.

Pizza at La Favorita

Price: £7-£12 10-inch pizza; £9-£16 14-inch pizza

Hours: Mon-Sun 12:00-23:00

Location: 331-325 Leith Walk, Edinburgh EH6 8SA

MUMS Great Comfort Food

Haggis! I didn’t think there were any good places to get it in Edinburgh until I went here. What is haggis? Don’t ask. Just eat it. Well, I’ll say it’s basically spiced lamb, and it’s delicious! Commonly served with neeps and tatties (potatoes and turnips), MUMS cooks it to perfection. Get a whole plate, or as a starter followed by bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes). You’ll have a hard time choosing between the different flavors they offer. 4 flavors of sausage, a dozen of mash and 3 styles of gravy. My favorite was the lamb and mint sausage, obviously.

Bangers and Mash at MUMS Comfort Food

Price: £4.25 haggis starter, £9.95 bangers and mash

Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-22:00; Sun 10:00-22:00

Location: 4A Forrest Rd, Edinburgh EH1 2QN

Anna with Haggis

Over Langshaw Ice Cream

Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with ice cream. To round out the list, here’s the best ice cream in Edinburgh. All their ingredients are locally sourced, and most are produced directly on their farm a little ways north of Edinburgh. Hard to say what the best flavor is, but butterscotch, single malt whiskey ripple, and Kaluha & curlywurly are my favorites.

Over Langshaw Farmhouse Ice Cream Parlor

Price: £2.50 single, £3.00 double

Hours: Mon-Sun 13:00-17:00

Location: Blue Police Box, The Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2AW

Selfie with Over Langshaw Ice Cream


If you have a place to cook, or are staying in Edinburgh a bit longer, Lidl is the best place to buy your groceries. I’ve purchased a week’s worth of food for under £20. Lidl stores are all over town, but key locations are on Leith Walk down by the harbor, and on Nicolson Street across from Mosque Kitchen (see above). All the uni students know this is the cheapest place to shop as well, so it can get quite busy. Everything in the picture here cost under £10.

Groceries from Lidl


Part of knowing how to save money when you eat in Edinburgh includes knowing what part of town to eat in. You’ll notice almost all the places I recommend are a short distance from Edinburgh University. These places cater to students and their budget. The Royal Mile, the Grassmarket and similar locations will charge top dollar to their tourist clientele.

If you plan to eat out for all your meals, you can get by with £20 a day including drinks. If you buy your own groceries, it’s possible to get that down to £3 a day.

Of course, you could always consider cutting back on alcohol. It’s not cheap in Edinburgh. But, then again, it’s hard to be in Scotland without drinking. This is the whiskey capital of the world after all, and it seems a fundamental part of the culture is to get drunk with several pints in a night on a routine basis. Consider yourself warned.


  • Transportation

Find the best flights to Edinburgh on Skyscanner. Read my tips on how to find the cheapest flights.

Easirent is the cheapest car company to rent from within the UK (but perhaps not the best).

  • Lodging

Find great deals on hotels and hostels with Agoda. Read my guide on whether you should book ahead at a hostel.

If you’re traveling with more than one person, I’d recommend using Airbnb. Some locations can be fantastic. I’ve even had free, delicious Scottish breakfasts provided!

Couchsurfing is my favorite way to stay in a city. Edinburgh can be very difficult to find hosts, depending on the season, but not impossible. I’ve had some amazing hosts there.

You could also find a hostel or other volunteer job to work at via Workaway.

Please note: Skyscanner, Agoda and Airbnb are affiliate links, and using them here will help to support me financially in my travels.

I’m not a big coffee drinker. By that, I mean I don’t have to drink a cup every day when I wake up. However, I do like coffee, and I’m always on the lookout for that perfect cup.

As a travel blogger, I tend to spend quite a bit of time in cafes. If I had the choice, I’d probably pick a hot chocolate or a chai latte. But coffee does serve other purposes than just tasting good. More than one chiropractor suggested a cup of coffee for headaches, as I used to get migraines often. It works! If I start to feel the ache coming on, I’ll get a small cup, and the result is nearly instantaneous.


Selfie at Cat Cafe
Specialty hot chocolate at the cat cafe in Edinburgh


Coffee is also good when I haven’t had enough sleep, and need to get that blog post done before I take a nap. Or on a cold, rainy day. Or…

Then there are the drinks that you just have to try at least once. Like Bosnian coffee when you visit Mostar, Bosnia. Similar to Turkish “kahva,” it’s easily the thickest coffee I’ve ever drunk. Or “cham” in Kuala Lumpur, a mixture of tea and coffee.

Turkish Coffee
Strong Bosnian kahva in Mostar, Bosnia

Since I’ve been in Edinburgh, I’ve truly come to understand and appreciate artisan coffee. There are hundreds of these cafes in the city, each a little more quaint than the last. I spend most of my time in Brew Lab, where the coffee is feckin’ delicious and the internet is fast. Problem is they’re usually bursting at the seams, so getting a table can be tough.

I’ll never be able to forget the cups of espresso I had in Italy. Nor the tantalizing roasts in Ghent, or even the frappe with honey in Chiang Mai.

Coffee and Honey frappe at Into the Woods Cafe, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Into the Woods Frappe, Chiang Mai, Thailand

The only problem with all those cups was that I had them alone.

What truly makes the perfect cup of coffee is who you get to drink it with.

Sweden is certainly not known for the quality of their instant coffee. But enjoying a Swedish fika (coffee time) in a lighthouse on a tiny island with wonderful friends was more memorable than the best espresso in Italy.

Fika in a Lighthouse
Surprise fika in the lighthouse on Utlippan Island

Hannah was one of the very first people I met in my travels, and although she probably has no recollection of me, I’ll never forget her introducing me to a chai coffee at Cafe Ronak. I only had a couple hours to chat with her, which wasn’t nearly enough. Sure, the coffee was fantastic, and was actually one of my first cups of artisan coffee. While that was only a couple weeks into my travel in Bristol, it was one of those moments when I really understood why I traveled. Finding that perfect cup of coffee or the best meal was a large factor. Finding that new friend to drink it with was all the more so.


Chai Coffee with Hannah
Chai with Hannah at Cafe Ronak


Some people think that traveling is scary or dangerous. Others consider themselves introverts and don’t like to strike up a conversation with a random person at a cafe, even in their hometown. I think that the most important part of travel is meeting new people around the world. Traveling is about getting outside your comfort zone and experiencing something new.

Coffee Buddies in a Thai Village
Travel Buddies in a Thai Village

After all, we’re all from Earth, and part of the human race.