Coffee. One of the worlds most popular and sought after beverages. A drink that often helps to kick start our day. A drink that helps to bring people together, all over the world.
The rise of the handcrafted coffee culture, particularly in the UK, is gaining momentum. From Obadiah Coffee, Cairngorm Coffee Company and Brew Lab, Edinburgh has a fine share of places to taste diverse flavours served in various handcrafted ways of that special roasted bean.
If coffee was a language, I am pretty sure, this drink would be the world’s most common dialect. As mentioned, people drink it all over the world for lots of different reasons and love to capture those instagram-coffee-related-snap-happy moments. But more importantly, it meaningfully brings people together: be it for those professional over-the-counter relationships between the barista and customer or for when friends, family and colleagues come together to sip and chat.
Starbucks – love it or hate it – was a former employer of mine in Edinburgh. It is where I learnt to build my coffee pallet as I participated in three coffee tastings a day – from those floral, citrusy notes of Ethiopian Coffee to nutty, caramel tones from the Colombia bean, Starbucks helped me to grow my love for coffee. I also have many a story of when I once served a whole host of local and international customers as well as people such as author, JK Rowling, professional golfer, Colin Montgomery and actor, Jason Isaacs – but those can be stories for another time.
Coffee, stories, Starbucks, people and travel come together in an ever-growing collection of mine. Through the help of friends, this collection has unashamedly and rather funnily gotten out of control… This collection is my Starbucks country/city mugs. Go figure.
I don’t know about you, but when we travel the world, it is always great to take home something that comes from the places we visit for our own use or as a gift. Scotland alone has a huge daily turn over of tartan gifts that are bought by tourists to take back home to their country of origin.
When travelling, I am always keen to experience a great local coffee store. When I don’t get that chance due to time constraints or lack of recommendations, I always know I can rely on Starbucks getting a consistently good coffee wherever I go, providing there was a store close by.
It was while I was in Egypt, that I walked into a Starbucks store, keen for a ‘triple-long-shot-espresso-macchiato’ when I noticed an Egyptian Coffee Starbucks mug for sale. I decided to buy one. A few years later, I have over sixty mugs from all over the world – Sydney, Thailand, Mexico, New York, Barcelona, Copenhagen and Shanghai to name but a few. I am glad to say that at least three-quarters of these mugs have been collected by friends who enjoyed the novelty of going on a treasure hunt-like venture with the aim of buying a mug to add to my ever-growing collection. And it also must be said, thanks to Edinburgh Airport, most of these mugs have arrived in Scotland, through landing in the city.
Now I know what you are thinking, this is a really silly collection, and yes there are days I stare at all my mugs on display, with my hands on my head thinking, what on earth have I started?! But in all honesty, as I stare at each mug, many of which have a tag attached with the name of the person who retrieved it for me, I have found great joy. Why? It brings people together by sharing stories about the places or people associated with each mug, whilst sipping warm drinks out of them. It connects our stories. Here’s to plenty more world trippin’, sippin’ handcrafted coffee and sharing stories along the way. Coffee anyone?
PS… On a side note do check out the recently published, Scottish Independent Coffee Guide – the No. 1 Insiders Guide to the Best Indy Coffee Venues and Roasters. Great little book for anyone who loves coffee, travel and Scotland. http://www.indycoffee.guide/scottish-independent-c...
Humanitarian Advocate. JustHair. Artist Promoter & Host. Photographer.
Edinburgh Airport has a great range different coffee on offer in our cafe's, bars and restaurants
And check out the Fairtrade options at the The Gathering
Feel free to journey with me on instagram and twitter:
i. instagram.com/ruthskye @ruthskye
t. twitter.com/ruthdonaldson @ruthdonaldson
Originally from the Isle of Skye and now based in Edinburgh, Ruth Donaldson is a humanitarian advocate, artist promoter & host, hairdresser, photographer, wakeboarder and lover of gin.