June 20, 2016

Going to WOC 2016? 5 Hidden Gems in Dublin’s Specialty Coffee Scene


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. Dublin is a great place to visit, and if you’re worried about getting around the city, there are plenty of dublin bus options. 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.

SEE ALSO: WOC Dublin 2016: Why You Should Participate in the PDG Coffee Bag Exchange

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.

espresso with soda

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

coffee retail section

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.

filter coffee at the Science Gallery Café

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

noodle soup

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 coffee dublin

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
Style Minimalist
Espresso Machine La Marzocco Linea PB
Grinder Nuova Simonelli Mythos, EK43
Coffee Offerings Espresso-based drinks from Parisian roaster Hexagone
Must-Try Drink Espresso
Food Brunch and lunch menus using local ingredients
Retail Offerings Small selection of coffee beans

poached eggs

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 Dublin

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 Dublin

Two Pups Coffee: low-budget but high on comfort. Credit: Two Pups Coffee.

5. 3fe

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.

3fe coffee dublin

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

coffee retailRetail, 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?)

Edited by T. Newton.

Feature photo credit: Hans-Peter Bock via Wikipedia.

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