Coffeewerk + Press was the one place that practically everyone, including my friends in Galway, recommended that I visit. Be warned though, it’s not your typical coffee shop. Spread over three floors of a narrow building, there’s seating outside in the form of three two-person tables, while inside, the counter occupies the back of the ground floor, with the seating spread out over the upper two floors. The first of these is a design store, with benches along the wall and a smattering of chairs, while right at the top is an art gallery, with a handful of chairs.
When it comes to coffee, don’t visit Coffeewerk + Press expecting to sample the best of Irish roasters. Coffeewerk’s unapologetically international, with a house-blend & decaf on espresso from Copenhagen’s Coffee Collective and single-origin pour-overs from roasters across Europe and beyond (including Japan and the USA). You can also buy the beans. If you’re hungry, there is a small, but excellent, selection of cake and chocolate. The main downside is that Coffeewerk only uses takeaway cups, even if you’re sitting in, so be prepared to bring your own (this is due to licencing problems rather than any active decision from Coffeewerk).
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Coffeewerk + Press is in Galway’s historic centre in an old building on the pedestrianised Quay Street. There’s a single window on the left with the door on the right. Directly ahead, stairs lead to the upper floors, while on your left, a single, open space has the counter at the back and retail shelves on the rest of the walls. You can buy all sorts here, including beans and coffee paraphernalia.
If you want to sit down, you need to head outside or upstairs (either way the staff will bring your coffee to you). Be warned though, the stairs are narrow and steep, curving back on themselves 180⁰ between floors. It’s not quite Coffee Culture in York, but it’s close.
The first floor is a design store, the walls lined with shelves selling all sorts of goods. L-shaped, the bottom of the L faces the sole window at the front, the stairs depositing you opposite it, while the top of the L runs along the left-hand wall. The walls are mostly plastered and whitewashed, but occasional patches of exposed stonework hint at the building’s age. The floorboards are exposed wood and although there’s only one window, it’s a bright space with lots of lights.
An amazing stone fireplace halfway down the left-hand wall houses a turntable which was playing Leonard Cohen during my visit. You can select your own soundtrack from a collection of old vinyl LPs biased towards 1970s/80s music. Personally, I preferred sitting on the windowsill listening to the buskers outside. Alternatively, you can sit in the chair next to the window, or there are benches in the corner, plus a second chair by the fireplace. The windowsill seat has a small coffee table, while there are two for the benches, each with its own candle in a glass jar.
The top floor is a gallery, a similar L-shaped arrangement. Almost everything is white, including the floorboards and the walls are hung with works of art, with more in display cases. It’s quieter, more relaxed up here, but there’s less seating, with just the same windowsill seat, a chair by the window and two next to a smaller fireplace in the same spot on the left-hand wall.
Coffeewerk’s opened in 2015, combining the owner’s passion for good coffee, art and design. That you’ve come to the right place for coffee is apparent from the counter, its Kalita Wave filters front-and-centre, La Marzocco espresso machine to the left, side-on so you can see what’s going on.
All the roasters that Coffeewerk works with are listed on a board to the right of the counter. During my visit, there were three single-origins on pour-over from Colorado’s Sweet Bloom, Munich’s JB Kaffee and Norway’s Langøra. These change every week or so, depending on how much has been bought in.
I was recommended the house-blend espresso from Coffee Collective in milk. I had a pleasant-enough flat white, but found the coffee a little anonymous. Fans of hot milky drinks may be disappointed since it was served on the cool side. The milk, however, was lovely and creamy. I followed this with a washed Colombian pour-over from Langøra, served in my Ecoffee Cup. This was fruity, but with more acidity than you’d expect in a typical Colombian.
Finally, I had an excellent blackberry and white chocolate friand. A little larger than I’m used to, in quality it up there with those I had at The Wren. The moist cake has a wonderful texture, not quite a light as a sponge, but not heavy/dense like a fruit cake, with a lovely, subtle flavour.
|4 QUAY STREET • GALWAY • IRELAND|
|www.facebook.com/coffeewerkandpress||+353 91 448 667|
|Monday||08:30 – 18:00||Roaster||Coffee Collective (espresso) + Guests (filter)|
|Tuesday||08:30 – 18:00||Seating||Benches, Chairs; Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:30 – 18:00||Food||Cake|
|Thursday||08:30 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:30 – 18:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 18:00||Power||No|
|Chain||No||Visits||8th March 2017|
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