Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Milkman

If you have lived in Edinburgh for any length of time you will quickly realise that we have no shortage of hot coffee haunts in this town. However, I am always willing to make exception for the new kid, and the kid in question is "The Milkman".

Rumour has it that most people tend to have a love affair with the milkman at some point in time, so let me tell you a little bit more about mine...

The Dude

Cast your minds back to a time when milk was delivered by horse and cart around the dusty streets and into family homes. The original "Milkman" was owner Mark Donald's great-grandfather and he did just that on the streets of Huntly, in rural Aberdeenshire. He was keen to show me old images of his great-grandfather, perched on a cart and sporting the trademark flat cap and pipe which he had captured from photo albums after a saunter down memory lane.

It was immediately clear that this character was very close to his heart. Mark chose to name his business baby after him and is determined to incorporate the logo as part of his branding in various ways around the coffee shop so that he can keep family close to help guide his own footsteps in this new venture.

The Milkman espresso bar sits in prime position in Edinburgh's quaint Cockburn Street as it cascades down to Waverley bridge. When the property became available Mark knew in his heart that it would be the perfect pitch for a coffee bar and not just because his other half runs the popular and quirky Miss Katie Cupcake just a hop, skip and jump along those legendary cobbles. Nawww...

Once Mark had secured the spot, the beginnings of lovely idea began to fall into place.

The Delicacies

I adore when the artisan food scene in any city work in collaborative to supply each other with quality coffee, baked goods and sweet treats.

There is something quite special about a sense of comradery that exists within a start-up community, who shy away from rivalry and competition and instead desire to share in and celebrate the success of the other.

To offer humble opinion, I think this could quickly prove to be the way forward, especially with many budding businesses in the city.

The Milkman supplies only the best, high quality java by Dear Green coffee with thanks to friendly neighbour, Glasgow. The bakery items are fresh daily and all from my own personal local bakery, The Manna House.

Other sweet treats are supplied from Pinnies and Poppy Seeds and unique flavours of craft soda are available courtesy of popular fellow Edinburgh newbies, Kitsch.

The Design

What I found most intriguing about this budding entrepreneur was his thirst for original design within the shop and restoring existing and curiously hidden features to their former glory. From exposed copper piping to shutter pulleys for his windows, Mark wants to further uncover the history that dwells within the four walls of "The Milkman". I found that this further adds to its quaint charm and instant likeability.

He has the rare gift of envisaging potential to re-purpose what others may have casually cast aide and seeks to put them in the spotlight,rather than on the scrap heap. A perfect example of this would be the street light that hangs from a wooden beam in a cosy corner of the shop. The glass panels have been removed and ivy drapes from this eye-catching piece which now enjoys a new lease of life in its new indoor abode.

His doors have flung wide to locals only a few weeks ago but his cup is literally brimming with ideas about how to further improve the shop feel. Mark is also keen to seize opportunities and funding to join with architects and design professionals in Edinburgh to bring his ideas to life and showcase this happy little corner of Edinburgh's beautiful Old Town.

Next time you have a free morning to spare; want to huddle from the December chill or need a latte as you run to catch your train, stop by "The Milkman'. Personally I would rather linger a while to soak up the ambience and appreciate everything that makes this space unique, rather than just simply skim the surface.

Spoiler alert: the staff are relaxed and friendly, the snacks are fresh, the atmosphere is warm and the coffee is flowing. Other coffee corners in Edinburgh sit up and take note as "The Milkman" is destined to be legen-dairy....

How can I connect with The Milkman?
Facebook: The Milkman
Twitter: @The__Milkman___
Instagram: themilkmancoffee



  1. Love this Claire, it's very insightful and sheds some light on what looks like an amazing shop! The decor is amazing and the collaborative spirit feels inviting and nostalgic! Keep up the great work.

  2. Thanks Autumn. It is a great little corner of town and I am excited to see what he does with it. Hope I managed to bring it a little closer to you. Thanks for reading!


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