Easter Road is one of the most rapidly changing streets in Edinburgh.
Mo Beans is at the bustling southern end, increasingly full of excellent eateries and cafés. Mo Beans offers high calibre coffee, made with real craft.
Now in its fourth year on Easter Road, Mo Beans brings together the coffee expertise of Dean James and Mo’s “traditional, old school homebaking”. Mo had previously been supplying a number of Edinburgh cafés. James has more than 10-years’ experience in the specialty coffee scene, including spells at Machina Espresso, Cult Espresso, Noir and worked as a barista trainer at Artisan Roast.
Mo Beans are currently using beans from Horsham (based in Sussex) though they use a variety of roasters, including the highly regarded Williams & Johnson (Edinburgh), and North Star (from Leeds). James said that “we don’t have a regular supplier, we just buy beans that we like and are in season…Peruvian coffee is a favourite of ours but the season is short”. James has been ordering from Horsham for over ten years and finds them “highly reliable” with “really bright flavours”. Their status as an omni-roaster also means they can offer a diversity of beans, including for pour over. James’ current passion is for the Kalita Wave which he feels gives a lighter coffee with “soft, sweet” notes you can’t get with espresso. He’s slowly building some converts to Kalita among the more adventurous Mo Beans customers.
He admits that the coffee scene on Easter Road hasn’t yet reached the level of other areas but that with Little Fitzroy (2 minutes up the road), Mo Beans is part of a shift in that direction. James feels that apart from the “fantastic” Little Fitzroy (“they always source excellent beans and also know how to pull them”), there isn’t a great deal of competition in the area for high quality coffee. He would “love to see more competition”, so that Easter Road becomes a “coffee part of town”. He feels that Easter Road “is definitely developing in that direction” with plenty of good eateries and decent cafés now in place.
Currently Mo Beans is finding favour with a variety of customers, reflecting the cosmopolitan mix found in this area. It was, James admits, a bit of a ‘slow burner’ at the start but they’ve built up a solid group of regulars. The aesthetic of the café reflects their desire to satisfy a wide range of customers: from those looking for the best specialty coffee to those coming in for “their pots of tea and morning scones”. He relates that “we couldn’t be a typical specialty coffee shop with the vibe and the look, the bare bricks and filament lightbulbs”- that wouldn’t have attracted the cross-section of customers they have – “people are not intimidated…everyone feels very relaxed here”.
In addition to teas and coffees, they offer a substantial range of bakery. Savoury dishes are also popular with their salads a particular hit during warmer weather.
What helps give the place a really airy and homely feel is the back room. This has the feel and appearance of a typical living room with its vintage furniture, serendipitous book selection and a collection of classic board games. It’s a great place to while away a rainy Saturday, reading the newspapers and enjoying fine coffee and baking. On a sunny day the sunlight streams right through the café.
Mo Beans only closed for 3-days during lockdown – “it was a massive relief when we learnt that we could open purely as a takeaway”, and this kept the business going. It’s now back serving sit in customers and looks set to build on its promising start.
Mo Beans, 57 Easter Road, EH7 5PL