Roasted Brown

Light bulbs, hanging in glass lampshades, above the counter at Roasted Brown, Dublin.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: Roasted Brown left the Filmbase Building to concentrate on roasting, where it’s still going strong (I briefly called into the roastery in Delgany on my return to Ireland in 2019). The cafe carried on, taken over by First Draft Coffee & Wine, which subsequently moved to Lennox Road in Portobello, south of the centre, when the Filmbase Building closed in 2018.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Roasted Brown, inside Filmbase on Dublin's (surprisingly straight) Curved Street.
  • Once in the door, head on upstairs...
  • ... where you're greeted by this view at the top (taken from slightly to one side).
  • Looking back towards the stairs. What's that on the right?
  • It's the counter! Tucked away in its own little space behind you on the left.
  • There's a neat little bar here, overlooking the stairs, if you want to keep the barista company.
  • The view from the back of the counter.
  • The main seating area, with a comfy sofa & pair of armchairs at the back behind the pillar.
  • The space is dominated by the windows on the right, where there are these three tables.
  • Each one seats six on some surprisingly comfortable high stools.
  • There's also another communal table right in the centre of the room.
  • Another view of the central table, this time looking the other way. This one seats eight.
  • The other seating is in the form of this bar against the left-hand wall, opposite the windows.
  • There are also a pair of high, square tables back here, including this one by the lift.
  • The lift runs all the way from the basement to the third flloor at the top of the building.
  • It's a long way up. This panoramic shot gives some idea of the sense of space.
  • Another view of the massive windows from the back, again giving the sense of space.
  • Despite the windows, there are plenty of lights for the winter (and gloomy summer days).
  • A cluster of bulbs like this one hang either side of the windows...
  • ... while these hang above the counter.
  • Another view of the lights above the counter.
  • And one in close up.
  • Nice lamp.
  • Roasted Brown is full of thoughtful touches such as the bottles of water & the flowers.
  • More flowers, this time from the bar at the back.
  • Each of the tables has its own flowers as well.
  • Hmmm. Dublin weather. I think I might just stay here. That's a gap in the windows, by the way. And yes, it does let the rain in!
  • Right, to business. The counter, as seen from across the stairs.
  • It's not just coffee though. There's an interesting range of sandwiches...
  • ... and some very tempting cake.
  • There's also a retail shelf under the cake, selling kit & bags of Roasted Brown beans.
  • I was there for brunch and went for a (toasted) beetroot + carrot sandwich...
  • ... returning later for coffee. What a lovely, concise menu.
  • The coffee set-up: EK-43 for filter, followed by the La Marzocco & then the espresso grinder.
  • My barista, Jarryd, hard at work on the espresso machine.
  • However, after some consultation, he decided to make me a Kalita Wave.
  • Here's my coffee, in a carafe, cup on the side, as it should be...
  • ... and here it is in the cup. It's a Kenyan Kainamui AA by the way. Delicious.
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Just off Dublin’s famous Temple Bar, you’ll find the disappointingly straight Curved Street, and, on its corner with Temple Lane, the modern Filmbase building. Head inside, go upstairs and, taking up almost all of the first floor, there’s Roasted Brown. The seating spreads out directly ahead of you, the counter tucked away to the left, behind you as reach the top of the stairs. If you want to chat with the barista, there’s a bar here, opposite the counter. Otherwise, once you’ve ordered, do an about-turn and grab a table.

An eight-person communal table occupies the middle of the space, while to the right, three high, six-person tables line the windows which make up the wall, flooding Roasted Brown with a (while I was there at least) murky grey light. At the far end, there’s a sofa and a couple of armchairs, while to the left, tucked away behind the lift is a long bar running along the wall, which is where all the power-outlets are. There are also a couple of high, square tables here, one by the lift, another the stairs at the back which lead Filmbase’s upper levels.

While Roasted Brown’s a relatively well-established name, it’s been a long, slow road starting with a coffee cart. Next was the move into Filmbase, then, finally, came roasting. Even that wasn’t plain sailing, with Roasted Brown using the facilities at Notes in London, owner and head roaster, Fergus Brown, flying over every fortnight to roast his beans. However, in September 2015, Roasted Brown opened its own dedicated roastery in Co Wicklow. You’d think that would be enough upheaval, but Filmbase has recently been closed for four months, undergoing a major refurbishment, forcing Roasted Brown back to its roots on the streets. Fortunately, it’s back indoors and, for good measure, has embarked on another chapter of its story with a second shop, Laine my Love.

Returning to Roasted Brown for a moment, the fact you’ve come to a specialty coffee shop is apparent as soon as you set eyes on the menu, which lists the coffee by origin/processing method, plus, for the filter options, the varietal. These are joined by various cold coffee options, including cold filter coffee, cold flat white and cold long black. I didn’t ask. Finally, there’s loose-leaf tea and hot chocolate. The pricing structure is interesting too: espresso comes black or with milk (no sizes or names), while each filter coffee is individually priced.

During my visit, there was an Ethiopian Haricha natural on espresso, while for filter, the choices were a natural Ethiopian or a pair of washed coffees, one from Colombia and one from Kenya. Spoiled for choice and wracked with indecision, I put myself in the hands of Jarryd, my lovely and very capable South African barista. He recommended the Kenyan and a short while later, it appeared at my table, served in a glass carafe with an enamelled, handless mug. It was a lovely coffee, quite bright, but well-balanced, with just a hint of sweetness. It also matured nicely as it cooled.

Having arrived mid-morning without having eaten, I had a carrot and beetroot sandwich which I opted to have toasted. Served on a wooden slab (sorry plate-people), it was very tasty, the bread, in particular, having a wonderful crunch to it.

Monday 10:00 – 17:30 Roaster Roasted Brown (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 10:00 – 17:30 Seating Tables, Bar, Comfy Chairs
Wednesday 10:00 – 17:30 Food Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 10:00 – 17:30 Service Order at Counter
Friday 10:00 – 17:30 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 11:00 – 16:00 Wifi Free (with code/Facebook check-in)
Sunday CLOSED Power Limited
Chain Local Visits 24th June 2016

For those who are interested, a few hours later, I had the same Kenyan coffee, a Kainamui AA, at Coffee Angel HQ, only this time it was roasted as for espresso.

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