Monday, 28 February 2011

Fairtrade beans do not mean a cup of coffee is entirely ethical

A slightly futile investigation into where to get the most 'ethical' cup o joe.

To be blunt, chains are bad so you really shouldn't have to choose between Fairtrade Starbucks and Rainforest Alliance Costa. But it's understandable if you're in a town not your own you'll head for a familiar name.

Green Dad travels a fair bit so here are my suggestions if you need a caffeine kick but want to dodge the big boys. I think most of these little chaps stock Fairtrade. And they're independent so your cash will support local business. And most importantly you'll remember where you are. (Seriously, the number of times I've 'come to' in a coffee chain, looked around at the identikit surroundings and wondered where the hell I was...)

Inverness: Rendezvous (the former record shop) or Mr Leakey's (the former church, now a secondhand bookshop), both on on Church Street. Rendezvous has booths, cheesy film posters and does an amazing fry up. Leakey's will do you a cafetiere of very strong java. And in the winter there's a log fire.

Aberdeen: The Coffee House. Off Union Street, down Belmont Street and on the right. Bright, airy and coffee with that proper roasted smell.

Edinburgh: The Elephant House. On George IV Bridge, just along from Greyfriars Bobby. Amazing hot chocolate.

Glasgow: Tinderbox on Byers Road. I used to work in the west end and enjoyed many a post-shift brew while staring out at the nightlife.

Aviemore: The Mountain Cafe! Rothiemurchus Estate Shop! Inshriach Nursery and Cake Den! The possibilities are endless. Well, OK, there's three.

Logie: A bit of a trek to find but Logie Steading (off the Forres-Grantown road) does proper coffee, extraordinary cake, decent salad (rather than the usual Scottish cafe offering of a lettuce leaf and half a watery tomato) and there's the super secondhand bookshop.

Nairn: Hmm. I've yet to discover a very good cup of coffee in the Brighton of the North, although the Harbour Cafe was nice for a while. Until the unpleasantness involving the ingress and egress of a pram. We are expecting good things from 'The Whyte House' in the High Street. Due to open any day now... 

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