Obadiah: Servant to Many
Grassmarket is a west-east artery of the Edinburgh city and a historical site for public hangings until 1764. Haggis-serving pubs, backpacker hostels and tartan and tweed retailers make the area a brimming one. On it sits Obadiah Specialty Coffee. We weren’t quite sure how to pronounce it. Oh-bay-dee-ah? Oh-but-dee-yar? As soon as we order our coffees, its one of the first questions on our lips. “Oh-but-die-ah” Hebrew for ‘servant of God’ as Sam Young’s Australian accent explains. Expatriates Sam Young and Miles Libke hail from Perth and Canberra respectively had an interesting perspective on the specialty coffee culture in Edinburgh, and the broader UK.
Obadiah’s menu offering, similar to one you would find at Patricia in Melbourne, is a simple one. There’s espresso, flat white or black. Miles explains that this is to try and encourage customers to look at coffee differently. With minimal offerings, the menu is a good platform to broaden people’s views on speciality coffee. Moving them from what they like, or rather what they think they like. The spectrum of retailers and manufacturers is a much more polarised demographic here. That is to say the gap between good coffee and bad coffee is much bigger, and not much in between. Obadiah’s dynamic duo, do believe that specialty coffee has been gaining more momentum and appreciation.
Noteworthy coffees included the Kenyan, Karimikui AB washed and sundried process. This single shouted lemons! Lemons! Lemons! All the way from the menu to the last drop. One thing to note was a different acidity; the lemons and jasmine had a gentle, sweet flavour to them as a Kalita wave filter (V60s were nowhere to be seen).
The Rwandan, Huye Mountain was a sock-knocker-offer. It boasted a full flavour of fruits – cherry, plum, cacao and a sticky honey. A washed and sundried process produced a fantastic drop on espresso.
Set up for a short pop-up stint, Sam and Miles seem to be enjoying themselves. Seven Seeds trained Young has set up his roasting operations in Novi Iskar, a small town outside Sofia, Bulgaria and is heavily involved with all elements and stages of the production and roasting process. The placement of the roastery has potential to open up local jobs and opportunities to otherwise underprivileged people of the area, and Sam has a conscious focus on this. With short of a month left of the Grassmarket shopfront, Sam will move his concentrations to roasting and wholesale once doors close.
Obadiah, and the meaning of the name is seemingly fitting for the ethos, spirit and future plans for the small business. Though we wouldn’t mind seeing them flourish on home soil, we wish them the best of luck on their new adventures.
Obadiah Specialty Coffee
Edinburgh, EH1 2JU