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We Have No Tables

Written by . Published on under the Spooky Stories category.

Coffee beans inside a bag with an Aeropress scoop resting on the beans

“Dial in the Brew To Open Tomorrow”

Three months after construction officially began, Dial in the Brew is scheduled to open in Edinburgh, Scotland. Dial in the Brew has been a secretive operation, launched by the Dial In Coffee Roastery. Dial In are the most famed Edinburgh coffee roasters, supplying coffee to clients around the country. Earlier this year, on Instagram, they announced that they would be “changing the way coffee is served in cafes.”

Through our investigative journalism, we have discovered very little about the new Dial in the Brew cafe. We know only what the public knows: the cafe is to offer coffees exclusively using the Japanese siphon method. Whereas the siphon is commonplace in many Japanese cafes, you would be hard pressed to find one in use in Edinburgh. The siphon is equal parts art-form and brewing method. The glow of the gas burner and the coffee is unforgettable.

For all of you Edinburgh coffee lovers, check out Dial in the Brew tomorrow when it opens at 10am.

I cannot miss this day. I’ve been following Dial In’s Instagram for months, waiting for them to open their new cafe. This would make a perfect addition to my collection of reviews on Edinburgh cafes. Maybe, if I get there soon enough, I’ll be able to write a review before anyone else. I could get a lot of attention by publishing the first review. It would be a big deal.

I know. I’ll camp outside of the shop so that I definitely get a table. I know they are scheduled to open at 10am. I could show up then. But will I get a table? I am not sure. I know dozens of other bloggers who have been waiting for this day just as much as me. I think I have a tent in the attic.

Jacob, an Edinburgh-based coffee blogger with a growing audience, goes into his attic to find a tent. He finds a green tent from a camping trip he took in his late teens. It has not been used in years. He checks to see if all the pieces are there. It looks like everything is there. “Perfect,” Jacob remarks, as he picks up the tent and takes it downstairs.

It’s 6pm now. I could go out and camp at 12pm and I should be good. If anyone has any ideas about lining up early, they will all turn up at 9am or something like that. I’ll definitely be first. I know it. But, before I can go, I’ve got one thing to do: I’ll need to brew a Thermos of coffee.

Jacob readies his pour-over and carefully measures out the correct amount of beans to make four cups. He grinds his beans using his Hario Mini Mill grinder. His arms start to ache as he grinds out enough beans to make four cups. He usually brews for one. After a few minutes of hard work, he finally has the ground beans he needs to brew a coffee.

He pours the grounds into his pour-over and starts his timer. The pour begins. Drip, drip, drip. Jacob is so excited about the upcoming launch of Dial in the Brew that each drip makes him feel as though he does not need any caffeine. He’ll be staying up all night to make sure he keeps his spot.

11pm approaches. Jacob picks up his backpack with his coffee and tent gear. He is ready to go.

He walks down to Dial in the Brew. It is a quiet night. He sees a few people walking out of Tim’s, his local bar. Last call is at 12pm but it is not uncommon to see people travel from bar to bar. Food and drink is at the heart of Edinburgh. The locals like to explore new places. Jacob is never out this late aside from when he goes to Harrison’s Coffee, which is open until 12pm, to work on a blog post or to prepare his social media schedule.

He gets closer to Dial in the Brew and sets down his bag. He opens the zip and takes out his thermos. Jacob needs a sip of coffee. He only takes a quick sip to get the taste of the coffee and then puts his Thermos back in his bag. He has a long journey to go.

It approaches 11:30 and he can see the site of Dial in the Brew. As he expected, there is nobody waiting to get into the cafe. It is way too late at night, or, rather, it is way to early for people to be waiting to get into the cafe. He hopes for a sneak peak so he can publish something on his blog. But, the windows are boarded up. There is a fabric cloth over the sign. He sees a barista walk out in normal clothes. No uniform.

Jacob is in for a long night.

It is 9am on opening day. A line starts to form.

“Hey! Henry, it’s been a while. How is your blog doing?” Jacob says to a fellow blogger who lines up behind him. “Oh, it’s going well. I’m excited to write a piece on Dial in the Brew. I thought I’d be the first one here if I came an hour early. How long have you been here? You’ve got a tent? Please do not tell me you camped out all night just to be the first blogger to get here.”

I did. I wanted to guarantee that I’ll get a spot.

“Well, I considered doing that if I’m being honest. I decided not to because I like the comfort of my bed too much. I need to be well-rested on the day when I write a new coffee review otherwise I’m never able to produce my best work.”

More people start to line up. There are 50 until opening and now there are ten people in line. I think these people are going to get in and get a table. But that will be it. Unless this cafe has a hidden basement, everyone who comes in later will have to get takeaway. They should have camped out!

At 9:50, the line grows so long that people are lined up past the street corner. It is impossible for me to see the line. “So, Jacob, did you hear the rumour that this place does not have any tables?” I did not. What do you mean this place has no tables, Henry? “It’s just a rumour that has been going around. I am not sure where it came from. That’s the nature of rumours, I guess.” I surely hope they have tables. I have been sitting on the ground for the whole night.

Two people come out of the cafe in aprons. They have each have a screwdriver in their hands. One screwdriver is red. The other one is yellow. They go up to the window and remove the wooden panels, one corner at a time. After the second screw is removed from the first panel, I can start to see inside. Dial in the Brew looks beautiful. Is that a wall-sized piece image of a farm? I wonder what that means.

The two people who came out of Dial in the Brew unscrew the final screw and the whole cafe comes into sight. Wow. “This is awesome!” Henry remarks. You’ve got that right, I reply. I’ve never seen an espresso bar like it. Is that eight siphons lined up at the bar? Look at all the cups on the wall. They are all different. This reminds me of some of the Japanese cafe reviews I’ve read online. We’re going to have a slice of Japanese coffee culture here in Edinburgh.

A local Church clock chimes ten times. The cafe is now to open. A woman walks out of the coffee shop wearing an apron. “Welcome to the future of coffee.” she remarks. She opens the double glass doors and removes the two sheets which had been covering them on the inside. “Come in” she says.

I am the first to enter the cafe. I cannot take my eyes off the full-sized wall art of a farm. Then I see the siphons up-close. They are amazing. The coffee bar is brown and looks like it is made from premium wood. One wall is painted white. That wall features the menu for Dial in the Brew.

There is one option:

Siphon: 5 Pounds

Below, there is a notice indicating a choice of milks, including alternative milks, are available on request. The letters for each word on the menu are wooden. It looks like the same wood from the bar. Amazing.

But, there are no tables.

Henry, it looks like you were right. There are no tables. It’s a shame because I was hoping to write my review here. What am I going to do? “Take some photos and write up your review when you get home.” says Henry. I cannot do that. I promise my readers that I only write my reviews inside the cafe. I like adding in the tiny details about what I hear, smell, and see. I’ll never be able to write a comprehensive review without a table.

I make my order at the bar and ask whether they plan to add tables later. Maybe it was an oversight. I doubt it because Dial In Roasters announced this location months ago but maybe they are still planning. I’d love to sit at a table made with the same wood as the bar.

“Sorry, we have no tables.”



I promise my readers that I will write my reviews in the cafe.

“Sorry, sir. We have no tables.”

I accept this and place my order. “I’ll have one siphon brew please.” I watch as the barista prepares my brew. They unclip the siphon from the stand and pour in enough water for the bottom brew chamber. They start to reassemble the siphon. They turn on the gas burner below. An amazing light illuminates the bar. It accompanies the decor so well. I’ve never known such an ambient cafe.

One minute later and my coffee is ready.

I ask again whether I can sit somewhere and write a review. “No, sir, sorry. But if you have any questions for us you can always ask. We know that we’ve been secretive on social media but we want the world to know about what we are doing here. Our founder has been experimenting with the siphon for over three years after his first trip to Japan. He almost exclusively brews with a siphon when he is in the office.”

I cannot write a review unless I can stay here, I say. “It’s company policy. We do not have any tables.”

Jacob wakes up. He looks at his alarm clock and sees that it is 11am.

It was all a dream. He picks up his phone and looks up Dial in the Brew. He missed the opening but there are already plenty of photos online. There are tables.

Phew, remarks Jacob. What a dream.

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