Badger & Dodo is a curious beast, and not just for its name. Starting life as a roastery in Cork in 2008, Badger & Dodo supplies coffee shops across Ireland. Except for the west coast. So, to plug the gap, in October 2014 Badger & Dodo opened its own café in Galway. As you do.
Occupying the corner of a modern, glass-walled building, Badger & Dodo is a bright and awkward-shaped spot. Just around the corner from the train station, bus station and coach station, there really is no excuse not to visit if you arrive in Galway by public transport (unless you arrive in late afternoon, when Badger & Dodo is closed). If, like I was, you leave by public transport, be sure to allow an hour or two before your train/bus/coach to sample the full coffee menu. Although maybe that’s just me…
Badger & Dodo serves a single-origin on espresso (which changes every five/six weeks or so) and another on filter through V60/Aeropress/Chemex (which changes every week or so). You can also buy a large range of single-origin beans. Meanwhile, if you’re hungry, there’s a wide selection of handmade sandwiches/toasties, plus an excellent-looking range of pastries and cakes.
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).
My final instalment from this summer’s trip to Copenhagen is perhaps its most famous name in coffee, the Coffee Collective. Known across Europe for the standard of its roasting, the Coffee Collective also has three coffee shops: the original, out to the west of the centre, the second, in the nearby roastery, and this, its third, right in the heart of the city at Torvehallerne, once again demonstrating that speciality coffee can thrive in the mainstream if done properly.
Torvehallerne is a food and produce market, which reminds me of Boston’s Public Market, where George Howell is doing a similar thing. The Coffee Collective occupies a long counter at the end of the eastern of Torvehallerne’s twin halls. There’s plenty of space, and a limited amount of seating in the shape of window-bars, although you can also take your coffee and make use of any of the public seating areas.
Talking of the coffee, it’s what you come here for. There’s a choice of a blend, single-origin or decaf through the Kees van der Westen espresso machine, or you can have one of three single-origins as a Kalita Wave pour-over, with a fourth on bulk-brew if you’re in a hurry.
There’s something about (speciality) coffee and books in Copenhagen. First there was the latest addition, Prolog Coffee Bar, a café and magazine shop, plus old hands, Forloren Espresso, replete with magazines. And there’s today’s Coffee Spot, Democratic Coffee, sharing its space with the city’s central library. You can’t get more books than that! You can sit in the coffee bar itself, which is long and thin, but which can be quite noisy, or decamp to the library, where there’s a choice of tables and comfy armchairs in the windows.
Everything in Democratic is made from scratch in the kitchen behind the counter, including the bread and pastries. Everything except the coffee that is, which is roasted off-site on a shared roaster, Democratic roasting two or three times a month. There are two single-origins on espresso, one for black coffee, one for milk, plus two more on filter, one available as a hand-poured V60, the other on bulk-brew.
The coffee changes every two-three months, Democratic buying a 700kg pallet with three/four different green beans. Once they’re gone, Democratic moves onto the next set of beans. Democratic doesn’t have different roast profiles for espresso/filter, regularly swapping which bean is on which method.
Like Lisbon’s branch of the Copenhagen Coffee Lab, which I’d visited previously in the day, Fábrica Coffee Roasters is not a home-grown affair, but it feels more Portuguese. Long, thin and very basement-like, it has a lot in common with a Portuguese café bar, although with its comfortable sofas, upcycled furniture, hand-made counter and lights encased in cages, it wouldn’t look out of place in Shoreditch!
At the heart of Fábrica is the coffee roasting operation, which is tucked away beyond the counter at the very back of the store in a space that doubles as a retail area. Here the very shiny 5kg Probatone roasts all of Fábrica’s coffee, which you can also buy to take home. Like the Copenhagen Coffee Lab, Fábrica has an impressive output, with three options on espresso and another three on filter, which can be had as an Aeropress or Kalita for one, while the V60 and Chemex options come either for one or two.
There’s a decent menu, all the food prepared on-site in the kitchen to the left of the counter, plus lots of cake. This being Portugal, it’s not just coffee, of course, with beer and wine also making an appearance.
Copenhagen has a small, but extremely high-standard speciality coffee scene. One of the relatively old hands is Forloren Espresso, which stands out partly because it doesn’t, like so many others in the Danish capital, roast its own beans. Instead it serves single-origin espresso and pour-overs through the Kalita Wave, using the UK’s Has Bean on espresso and filter, with Denmark’s La Cabra providing some of the filter options. Forloren also brings in an occasional guest roaster.
There are two options on espresso, three on filter. Each bean is priced differently and the options change every week or so. The main espresso option is designed for milk, with the second espresso usually served on its own or in cortados. There’s also a choice of tea, while a small snack menu offers breakfast and lunch options, plus there’s cake and pastries.
Although just a few steps away from Copenhagen’s tourist-central at the top of the Nyhavn Canal, and on the well-trodden route to the magnificent Frederiks Kirke, Forloren Espresso is surprisingly off the beaten track. A good sign that it doesn’t rely on the tourist trade is that it shuts at four o’clock every day and doesn’t open at all on Sundays.
Bop is the latest addition to Porto’s small, but growing (and home-grown) speciality coffee scene. Located just north of the city centre, it’s around the corner from the wonderful Mercado do Bolhão, an amazing, but rather run-down old-fashioned food market. From the outside, Bop looks much like any Portuguese café/bar. It’s only when you step inside that you begin to suspect that something’s not quite right.
For starters, there are record players in alcoves on the right-hand wall and hundreds of vinyl LPs stacked up behind the counter to the left. What’s that all about? Go up to the bar (or peruse the menu outside) and you see another clue. Alongside the obligatory espresso machine and an old-style bulk-brew filter machine, Bop offers a V60 option, the brew-bar front and centre on the counter. You’ve definitely come to the right place!
As if that wasn’t enough, Bop is actually the café/bar it looked like from the outside, with draught and bottled beer, wine and spirits, plus opening hours that extend into early morning! There are also separate breakfast/bagel, lunch and bar-snack menus. The coffee is from local roaster, Vernazza, with a blend on espresso, plus two single-origin options on V60.
You would think that it goes without saying that the Copenhagen Coffee Lab is in Copenhagen, wouldn’t you? However, I first came across it in Lisbon of all places, where it has the most unlikely of outposts. However, Copenhagen Coffee Lab’s home is in Copenhagen, where you’ll find both the roastery and the subject of today’s Coffee Spot, Copenhagen Coffee Lab’s only coffee shop.
This is located right in the heart of Copenhagen, within sight of the famous Christiansborg Palace and a few steps from tourist central where the canal boat tours vie for your business. Despite this, it feels off the beaten track, aided by being tucked away in a basement, with just some tables on the pavement outside to advertise its presence. Well, that and an A-board. And a trike at the end of the street.
However, it’s worth finding, both for the space, and for the excellent coffee. The Copenhagen Coffee Lab roasts all its own coffee, with a pair of single origins on espresso and, usually three more options on filter through V60, Kalita, Aeropress. The aim is to have an African and South American coffee on espresso and at least one of each on filter.
However, most of the time I was at The Village, an area reserved for various small batch speciality roasters. I used this as an opportunity to catching up with various European roasters that I otherwise wouldn’t get to meet, including several Irish roasters who were out in force.
Coffee Angel is a well-established chain of Dublin speciality coffee shops that started with a coffee cart on Howth’s East Pier and now consists of two carts/kiosks and four shops. I failed to visit Coffee Angel on my first trip to Dublin in 2014, so on my return last month for the World of Coffee, I was determined to pop in. In true Coffee Spot fashion, having never visited any branch of Coffee Angel before, I decided to start with Coffee Angel HQ, which stands in the heart of Dublin on Trinity Street, and which had opened a mere three days before my visit…
Coffee Angel HQ is unusual in that it’s standing room only, its relatively spacious downstairs uncluttered by tables and chairs. Please don’t let that put you off though, since the coffee, all roasted by Belfast’s Bailies Coffee Roasters, is excellent and served in proper cups (while you can’t sit down, you can stand at one of several broad counters to drink it). There’s the seasonal house espresso-blend, Fórsa Gála, plus decaf and a pair of single-origins which can be had as either espresso or pour-over. There’s also tea, hot chocolate and a selection of cake.