This is a review of two halves; first impressions and then how Printworks grew on me.
Even with that disclaimer in place it is important to keep in mind that this is a review of Printworks Coffee during its opening week. It is likely to mature.
A review in two halves is necessary for Printworks Coffee as my first impressions, after struggling through the Andrew Ovens’ era double doors was of a large, but thankfully clean, toilet. That is to say that Prinkworks has a large, on site, loo for its customers but unfortuantely the door opens up directly into the eating area. They’ll have to make an effort to keep that door closed.
The menu offered soya milk but when we asked they didn’t stock it. The barista even checked with the boss, lurking in the corner, and he confirmed no soya. So we settled for two black teas and settled down to wait for the order.
It took a little while, a little too long, for the tea to arrive. This reviewer struggled to find mobile reception (and tea without internet is like tea without water) so spent the time trying to place the smell of the place. It wasn’t food. For a while I wondered whether it was ink – after all, I assume the name “Printworks” comes from the old stationers and printers who until recently had the location. The Andrew Ovens’ site is still up at the time of this review going live, if you want to be reminded of what was once here.
I think the smell was just gentle cleaning chemicals. I watched a table get a quick but effective wipe with some Dettol. That’s fine with me.
There was nothing to look at either. The walls need pictures. The inside of the building looked it like had been very quickly gutted, covered in paint and ready for the coffee license to move in. The floor is covered with the all too familiar fake-wood linoleum.
Then the tea arrived. With the tea my mood and opinion of Printworks Coffee began to change. This is the second half of the review.
Printworks stock Pekoe Tea. All we’d asked for was tea so the barista had made a selection for us. It was lovely, warm and gentle.
Pekoe Tea is a local Edinburgh company. Printworks makes the effort to stock local suppliers. They’re named on the board behind the counter. This is a big plus for the venue. I want to support local businesses.
The tea arrived in large pots; enough for at least three cups. The tea pots have strainers fitted. This is loose leaf tea. This is good.
As I relaxed into my tea I noticed that the simple wooden tables and window seats in Prinkworks were robust and steady. I don’t imagine they were cheap. Good tables are a wise investment and it was appreciated.
Willpower faded and a lemon meringue tart was ordered. It was brought to the table more swiftly than the tea and, without asking, with cutlery for two. It was a tasty tart. The whole food collection behind the counter looked good. Printworks Coffee may be new but there is the strong suspicion that the owners have done this before and know that importance of bringing in good food and how to do it.
Another clue that Printworks know how to play the local coffee shop role well is their Twitter account. Not only do they have one already; they had one before launch and seem to be replying to people. Although I eventually found an o2 mobile signal for my phone perhaps Printworks Coffee is digitally savvy enough to add wireless.
Our tea and food was brought to our table without any money changing hands. When it was time to settle up and pay that happened easily and quickly. At the counter Printworks had some leaflets promoting other local companies. I took one for the delicious Pekoe Tea.
Overall? I think Printworks is worth watching. It will face stiff competition from similar places along the Shore but its support of local companies is an immediate selling point. There may be some rough edges to the experience but the smart money is on them being ironed out fairly quickly.