AN Edinburgh city centre coffee shop has hailed its new 'immersive experience' as part of a relaunch after repeated closures.

Cairngorm Coffee, which opened in 2014, was turning over £250,000 in Frederick Street in 2019 but lockdowns, low footfall, and a staffing crisis caused by the pandemic and Brexit, meant turnover dropped to £30,000 in 2020 and £55,000 in 2021. 

The brand has also expanded its wholesale business and opened in Bonnie and Wild at St James’ Quarter as part of the new push. The company’s Melville Street location continues to serve the West End of the city, where it opened in 2016. 

Now Cairngorm Coffee founder Robi Lambie is hoping to build back Frederick Street with a business model “for life in a post-pandemic city centre”.

With less hustle and bustle to contend with, the Frederick Street cafe will cater to the change of pace and increasing interest in specialty coffee by transforming the branch into “an immersive coffee experience” serving limited edition beans from around the world.

The venue’s repositioning as an "experiential brand home" is the next step of a five-year plan devised by co-owners Robi Lambie and Harris Grant for Cairngorm Coffee to “become one of the world’s leading coffee roasteries”. 

As part of this strategy, the company has recruited Adrian Manusco, a respected expert, as head of coffee. The Australian who has more than 15-year’s experience in the industry is a Q grader (arabica), AST trainer and World Brewers Cup Judge. 

Mr Lambie said: “We are doubling down on what made our “OG” location great back in the day – the experience – but this is a complete revamp. I don’t think it’s enough to just open a run of the mill specialty coffee shop anymore. So many people make great coffee so we have to do more to compete.

“While the roastery and Melville Street are flourishing, Frederick Street wasn’t best prepared for the pandemic and it has struggled to recover from it, so we’re going to be aggressive and relentlessly ambitious to make sure we’re ready for the cost of living crisis. 

“We will stop at nothing till we’ve created the most well-rounded, immersive coffee experience possible. Visiting our shop will be an event, during which people slow down and truly appreciate the very best coffee, rather than just guzzle it on their way to work.”

He said: “We’ve renovated the space to return to the essence of what this shop was when it opened, which is all about community and bringing the very best coffee possible to our customers. I love the idea of customers getting to know each other around one big table as they learn about coffee. We want it to be as approachable and welcoming as possible.”

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Coffee shop launches 'immersive experience' amid growth push