It’s a student/hipster Edinburgh staple – and yes, I know I’m stretching it a lot by going here for a tea review, but with storm Gertrude running amok I felt like comfort and no more than a short walk. So Black Medicine it is!
This is, by all accounts, a coffee shop. Don’t be tricked into thinking that they only serve coffee though! They serve a wide range of drinks (smoothies, milkshakes, herbals, coffees), and do a lot of foods as well. My favourite indulgences here are the Rocky Road and the Oreo shake. As my mum would say it; I know how to treat myself.
The decor is very rustic, and although this could go wrong and become too much quite easily, here it is very successful in creating a warm, comfortably homely atmosphere. It’s actually kind of American in its execution!
The counter has on the one side all the smart, healthy food options (boring!), and on the other all the bad ones – carrot cakes, muffins, and yes, my Rocky Road.
This is not the place to go to when you want to relax. There’s a lot of people walking around, a lot of chatting, a busy kitchen, and music. Not that it is annoying by any means, but this may not be the place to practice your Zen meditation, is what I’m saying.
The Internet here is free, so it’s packed with students meeting up and working. The plethora of Macbooks clashes beautifully with the tasteful rustic look and feel of the place. Although it is always very busy here, it never feels crowded. I don’t know how they do it, but there’s that!
For the sake of this review, and because I’ve been breaking with tradition quite a bit already this year, I ordered the tea here. I also ordered my favourite snack, and my partner had a smoked salmon bagel with an Oreo shake. The tea…well, I did order tea in a coffee shop. There’s no choice of teas, it’s just tea. My guess, based on the taste, is that it’s your classic, cheap English breakfast. It’s bitter, lacking fruitiness, but isn’t offensive in its flavour. Not anything spectacular here. The food and the shake? Absolutely perfect.
There is no such thing as a Rocky Road in the Netherlands, so it came as quite a shock to me, but here it’s got the perfect mix of marshmallows, biscuits and chocolate. Yum!
Overall, I recommend Black Medicine. Don’t order a tea, but go for pretty much anything else they have on offer. Grab a seat and, of you’re a student no more just like me, join the worry and carefree environment that is student life, even if only for an afternoon.