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).
Welcome to the last of my three reports from the World of Coffee Event at Dublin. Since it was my first time at World of Coffee, I started off with a round-up two weeks ago, where I looked the event itself, which I liked to a cross between the London Coffee Festival and Caffè Culture, incorporating the best of both events. I followed that up last weekend with a look at some of the (many) espresso machines that were on display, plus a look at the Travel Press from Espro, which was my surprise discovery at World of Coffee.
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.
I can’t believe it’s only been two weeks since I was in Dublin, attending the World of Coffee Event. As I pointed out in my round-up last week, I’d never been to World of Coffee before, so I didn’t know what to expect. As it turned out, I really liked it. A cross between the London Coffee Festival and Caffè Culture, it incorporated the best of both events and, as is always the case, there was far too much to for me to see, even though I was there on all three days.
I spent a lot of my time at The Village, catching up with various European roasters, which I’ll cover in detail next week. The rest of the time, when I wasn’t bumping into people I knew, I had a look at some of the kit on offer, which is what I’ll talk about this week.
The automatic filter coffee crowd was out in force, but having spent a lot of time with them at the London Coffee Festival, I gave them a miss this time around. Instead, I caught up with a couple of espresso machine manufacturers and a manual method that was new to me.
This time last week, I was at the final day of three at the World of Coffee Event in Dublin. I’d never been to World of Coffee before, although I’d toyed with going in previous years. In 2014 it was in Rimini and last year, Gothenburg was the host. In both cases, they fell in the middle of busy summers: last year, for example, I was in Portland on the final leg of my coast-to-coast trans-USA trip. This year, it at least fell on dates that I could attend.
With my new, flexible job (I don’t need to been in an office on a day-to-day basis) going was a distinct possibility, so I took the World of Coffee being (practically) on my doorstep as a sign. I booked my ticket, my Ryan Air flight, and an Airbnb (I managed to find one 10 minutes’ walk from the venue) and off I went.
Although I was there for all three days, for various reasons, including work commitments, and a desire to see something of Dublin’s coffee scene, I only managed three half-days at World of Coffee itself. However, that was enough to get a feel for what was going on.
Roasted Brown is a relatively established player in Dublin’s speciality coffee scene, roasting its own coffee and serving it from a bright, spacious spot on the first floor of the Filmbase building in the heart of Dublin. It’s fairly easy to find once you know it’s there, although, being on the first floor, there’s no street-level presence other than the name on the door.
The space itself is amazing, effectively a light well in the centre of the building, reaching all the way to the top of the third floor, where a glass ceiling thankfully keeps the rain off. There’s plenty of seating, although Roasted Brown has sensibly not tried to pack too much in, retaining the sense of space afforded by the high ceiling and aided by one of the walls being almost entirely glass!
Roasted Brown only roasts single-origins, with one option on espresso and three on filter. These are changed every week or so and are all available through the Kalita Wave filter. There are also cold coffee options. This backed up with an interesting selection of sandwiches and cakes, while if you fancy something else, there’s loose leaf tea or, for the sweet(ish) tooth, hot chocolate.
December 2016: I’ve learnt that Roasted Brown has moved on from the cafe in the Filmbase Building, although it is still going strong at Laine, My Love, Roasted Brown’s little sister.
My (far too short) weekend in Dublin accidentally turned into a very 3FE-dominated affair. As well as 3FE itself, my second stop, Brother Hubbard, uses 3FE and so, as it turns out, does my third stop, Vice Coffee Inc. Or at least it did when I was there: Vice regularly rotates its roasters and, during my visit, 3FE was sharing the grinders with London’s Square Mile.
Vice is a coffee bar situated inside The Twisted Pepper on Middle Abbey Street, just north of the river. Don’t be put off by the exterior, where it looks as if Vice is no more than a small collection of wooden tables in the lobby, served by a La Marzocco espresso machine. I actually walked past once because the La Marzocco was clearly not in use, but the second time I ventured inside and discovered that Vice has actually installed itself in the bar at the back.
Vice serves both espresso, from a Nuova Simonelli behind the counter, and filter coffee through Aeropress or V60 from a little filter station at the opposite end of the counter. There’s also tea from Cardiff’s Waterloo Tea. And cake, of course. And toasted sandwiches.
Brother Hubbard, on Capel Street, just north of the River Liffey, was on my list even before I set off for Dublin. However, when 3FE recommended it as “the place to go for food as well as coffee”, that settled the question of where to meet my friend Sarah for Sunday morning brunch.
Brother Hubbard is as much about the food as it is about the coffee, if not more so (although Brother Hubbard may disagree). Serving breakfast and lunch on weekdays, and brunch at the weekends, it’s a cosy, friendly, welcoming place, the ideal spot to start my Sunday morning. The food is inventive, with a Middle-eastern twist, and the menu changes on a seasonal basis. The coffee menu (all espresso-based) is refreshingly simple. It dispenses with descriptions of beans, sizes and types of drink, merely stating that the coffee’s served “as you like it”.
Brother Hubbard has recently expanded into the shop next door, which has been christened “Little Brother”. I only managed to stick my nose in through the dividing doorway, but I get the impression that it’s more the coffee-shop side of the business and clearly one for my next visit to Dublin.
One could argue that no trip to Dublin is complete without a visit to the iconic Bewley’s Café on Grafton Street, which first opened its doors in 1927. It’s one of those names that is associated with the great cafés of the past (such as Café de Flore), and certainly one I had heard of long before my Coffee Spot days. With its gorgeous façade, sumptuous interior, lovely artwork and full table service, it’s definitely an experience. As regular readers will know, it’s exactly the sort of experience that I like (for example, another Parisian favourite, Angelina, springs to mind).
It helps that the coffee’s not too bad either. All roasted on the premises, Bewley’s offers a standard espresso-based menu, along with the option of a cafetiere for one or two, plus tea, hot chocolate and soft drinks. There’s a very tempting (and large) range of cakes and pastries, plus full breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. There’s also a range of wine, cocktails, beer and cider.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s an intimate little theatre on the top floor, which puts on one-act plays at lunchtime (complete with optional light lunch) and cabaret, jazz and comedy in the evenings.