Dublin is the destination on every coffee lover’s mind right now, as it gears up to host the World Barista Championships and World of Coffee later this month. Over 10,000 people will be descending on the city to watch the competitions, see the latest trends at the trade show, and put their heads together at the symposiums and seminars taking place.
If you’re one of these 10,000, the good news is that Dublin has had a thriving specialty scene for years. Internationally renowned names such as 3fe, Roasted Brown, and Coffee Angel, along with a handful of outstanding independent shops – the likes of The Fumbally and Vice – mean that you’re never too far from a world-class coffee in the city centre.
But if you’re looking to escape the crowds, you may be interested in exploring some of the city’s less well-known coffee shops. And luckily for you, Dublin has a lot of hidden gems. Read on to discover 5 of the best.
Why These Five?
As I said, Dublin has a lot of great coffee shops. It would be impossible for me to pick the five best ones, so instead I’ve come up with a list of some of my personal favourites. Each one not only serves excellent coffee but has something that, in my opinion, sets it apart – whether that’s a unique menu or an interesting location.
So in no particular order, here’s my list of five unmissable Dublin coffee shops that you probably haven’t heard of.
1. Proper Order Coffee Co
This small little coffee house in the up-and-coming area of Smithfield is a little different to most of Dublin’s other specialty shops. The reason for this is their weekly special: signature drinks featuring house-made syrups and more, all of which have been expertly designed so as to highlight the flavours found in the coffee.
Lat time, I had a Slap and Tickle, a Red Brick espresso paired with a cascara tonic. Slap and tickle indeed. On another visit, the weekly special was a blackberry-dusted latte, laced with just a smidgeon of fruit syrup so as to bring out the berry notes of the coffee. It was beautifully balanced and complex – a world away from the heavy sweetness of a high street vanilla latte.
What’s more, Proper Order Coffee Co have a delicious, if limited, food offering – Koppi Espresso and Cascara doughnuts, anyone? – and a layout that encourages interaction with their talented baristas.
Slap and Tickle, one of Proper Order Coffee Co.’s weekly specials. Who knows what you’ll find on your visit?
|Where||7 Haymarket, Dublin 7|
|Style||Intimate but airy|
|Espresso Machine||La Marzocco Linea PB – the first in Ireland to have Brew Ratio technology|
|Grinder||Nuova Simonelli Mythos, La Marzocco Vulcano|
|Coffee Offerings||Espresso and filter, from an ever-changing list of top international roasters|
|Must-Try Drink||The weekly special|
|Food||Cakes and pastries, including artisan doughnuts from Gruel Guerilla|
|Retail Offerings||An excellent selection of brewing equipment, books, and beans|
Get geared at Proper Order Coffee Co.
2. Science Gallery Café
The café at the Science Gallery has always flown somewhat under the specialty coffee radar. After all, how many museums do you know that serve great coffee? But the brews being made here are some of the best in the city – perhaps not surprisingly, given that it’s run by the team at Cloudpicker Coffee.
The last time I went, I had a spectacular coffee from El Pilar in Guatemala: sweet and fruity, but with a striking creamy body thanks to its unusual hybrid brewing method featuring a cloth filter. And the presentation was great, too.
With several of their baristas competing in Ireland and the UK, this year people are starting to sit up and take notice of Science Gallery Café. As one of the bigger specialty shops in the city, it not only serves first-rate coffee but functions as a great place to meet people. Alternatively, you could get a coffee to go and drink it while enjoying the weird and wonderful exhibitions in the museum.
A scientific approach to filter coffee at the Science Gallery Café. Credit: Cloudpicker Coffee
|Where||Science Gallery, Naughton Institute, Pearse Street, Dublin 2|
|Style||Buzzing and modern|
|Espresso Machine||Sanremo Opera|
|Grinder||Nuova Simonelli Mythos, EK43|
|Coffee Offerings||Espresso and filter from Cloudpicker Coffee|
|Must-Try Drink||Espresso 2, which is typically a more unusual bean than the house blend|
|Food||A large variety of both café classics and international dishes|
|Retail Offerings||Brewing gear, books, and coffee beans|
Get international at the Science Gallery Café. Credit: Cloudpicker Coffee
3. Meet Me In The Morning
Meet Me In The Morning may be one of Dublin’s newest coffee shops, but it already has a cult following. Owned by 2015 Irish Brewer’s Cup Champion Brian O’Keefe, the small but elegant space offers an inventive (and Instagram-worthy) food menu, in addition to outstanding coffee.
Do as I did and head there for breakfast – you won’t regret it. I had sourdough toast with Nut Eile (pronounced Nutella, but eile is Irish for “other”) and a superb Guatemalan espresso, pulled at low pressure to bring out the sweetness. The perfect start to the day.
Meet me in the morning for an outdoors breakfast – if it’s sunny. Credit: Meet Me In The Morning
|Where||50 Pleasants Street, Dublin 8|
|Espresso Machine||La Marzocco Linea PB|
|Grinder||Nuova Simonelli Mythos, EK43|
|Coffee Offerings||Espresso-based drinks from Parisian roaster Hexagone|
|Food||Brunch and lunch menus using local ingredients|
|Retail Offerings||Small selection of coffee beans|
Meet Me In The Morning’s poached eggs on toast: almost as good as their coffee. Credit: Meet Me In The Morning
4. Two Pups Coffee
There’s a new breed (pun intended) of coffee bars springing up in Dublin: tiny bars set up without great investment, but run by passionate baristas on a shoestring budget, often in unusual or temporary spaces. Two Pups Coffee, located in a vintage clothing boutique, is one of the best of these.
This quirky spot is a welcoming and casual place to grab a coffee – but get into a conversation with owner Kevin about coffee and you’ll quickly fall down the rabbit hole. Before you know it, you’ll be on esoteric topics such as burr alignment and extraction yields. So naturally, the coffee is excellent.
Two Pups Coffee: easy to miss, despite the eclectic shop front.
|Where||74 Francis Street, Dublin 8|
|Style||Relaxed and friendly|
|Espresso Machine||Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II|
|Grinder||Nuova Simonelli Mythos, EK43|
|Coffee Offerings||AeroPress and espresso from Cloudpicker Coffee, 3fe, and guests|
|Must-Try Drink||Flat white|
|Food||House-made cakes and pastries|
|Retail Offerings||Vintage clothing!|
Two Pups Coffee: low-budget but high on comfort. Credit: Two Pups Coffee.
Okay, so 3fe is the best-known name in specialty coffee in Ireland, hardly an undiscovered gem – but a long-rumoured second shop is now open, and it offers a very different proposition to the original café on Grand Canal Street. This one is all about retail and training, making it a must-see for all true coffee nerds.
With no seats at all, the floor is dominated by a beautiful display of espresso machines. The menu is exceptionally short (one price for all drinks, “Extra special coffees available on request”), making it clear that – while they still serve up the outstanding coffee they’re renowned for – the main focus here is the café’s huge selection of brewing gear and retail coffees.
Beautiful coffee machines abound at 3fe’s second shop.
|Where||7 Sussex Terrace, Dublin 4|
|Style||A slick showroom for the best coffee gear around|
|Espresso Machine||Nuova Simonelli Black Eagle|
|Grinder||Nuova Simonelli Mythos|
|Coffee Offerings||Espresso-based drinks from the 3fe roastery|
|Must-Try Drink||Ask the barista for something special|
|Retail Offerings||The biggest selection of brewing gear and espresso machines you’re likely to see, as well as beans from 3fe, Has Bean, and Drop Coffee|
Retail, retail, and more retail at 3fe’s second shop.
You’ll never go short of great coffee in Dublin – even when the World Barista Championship isn’t running. So next time you’re visiting our charming city, go exploring. Try somewhere new. Who knows what hidden delights you might find.
(Oh, and for even more recommended specialty cafés, why not try the Dublin Coffee Map – because who wants to spend time getting lost when they could be drinking coffee?)
Written by K. Byrne and edited by T. Newton.
Feature photo credit: Hans-Peter Bock via Wikipedia.
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