There are multiple people in this city helping out speciality food and drink gain awareness through their own different individual ways. It’s a wondrous thing and really keeps the industry itself on its toes and inspired to keep producing day after day. Most are working in the industry or somehow connected, some are bloggers or influences and a very small few are just fucking cool people.
To describe these people; for some reason I’m being reminded of The Dark Knight. Heath Ledgers performance is pretty damn memorable but there is the one line from the movie said by Michael Caine where he says, “Some men just want to watch the world burn”. For me though there are also some people in the world who seem to do the complete opposite, they want to watch the world grow.
Meet Wilfred Magnussen, one of the founders of the Edinburgh Napier Coffee Society. He is one of these fucking cool people and today marks his freshers coffee crawl around the local area. About 50 students today have descended over the Bruntsfield area through the wind and rain of Storm Ali to learn about and taste some damn good coffee.
The Society in its simplest form is there to showcase good coffee to university students but also the local independent businesses providing them. What does Wilfred get in return? Not a huge amount. He is in his final year of studies and by years end be passing the reigns on to someone else. It’s a completely selfless cause born through enthusiasm and love for good coffee.
“One of the first aims we set out to meet was to support great, local and independent business. There's a lot of students coming to lectures late with bad coffee and the way I see it is, if you're going to come to uni late, at least pick up a good coffee on the way,”
“I want to break down people's preconceptions of the specialty scene, be that pretentiousness or exclusivity etc. and show people what it's really about. Coffee becomes the vehicle for community and communication,” Wilfred said.
Community and communication are extremely big points for the society, last year alone the Napier coffee society had members from the UK, Canada, the America’s, Thailand, Korea, Germany, France, Sweden and Norway. Bringing a bunch of enthusiastic people together through the simple love for the good brown water.
It’s a pretty cool point when you think about it. The international student population of this small capital city is immense and constantly changing - it creates an atmosphere not many other cities in the world can replicate. It also provides the perfect melting pot for big chains to capitalise on people new to the city, busy with studies and unsure where to find the good shops. Their big selling point being that no matter where in the world you are, you will get the same product. It might not be the best product, but it takes away the guess work.
So this is where Magnus and his crew come on in, helping the curious find their way.
While days like today can sometimes feel a bit stressful for these small independent businesses and their staff, the positives are immense. If even half of these 50 students frequent speciality coffee venues in the area each day over the course of the year instead of chain stores, the immediate impact is huge.
So what do they do? Weekly coffee shop meet ups, cuppings, brewing sessions, competitions and masterclasses, all the fun nerdy coffee stuff. They also promote events, jobs in the local area and discounts for selected shops.
They offer single semester or full year subscriptions for a small fee and the rewards for both the individual and the community are immense. If you’re interested please do join!