Dukes Coffee Company, Carey’s Lane

A carafe of the natural Ethiopian batch brew from Stone Valley Roaster, served at Dukes Coffee Company in Cork.As part of my current trip to Ireland, I spent yesterday in Cork, exploring its excellent coffee scene. Of course, a day was wholly inadequate for the task, with local expert, Caroline O’Keeffe, giving me a list of ten places to try! I managed a paltry three, starting with breakfast at Dukes Coffee Company. There are two branches of Dukes, the original city-centre location on Carey’s Lane (where I ended up), and a second east of the centre in City Gate.

Dukes serves coffee exclusively from Irish roasters, with a bespoke, seasonal house-blend, Three Lands from Bewley’s. This is joined by guest single-origins on espresso and batch brew. The current single-origin espresso is the San Cayetano from El Salvador, roasted by Dublin’s 3FE, while the batch brew is a naturally-processed Ethiopian, roasted by Stone Valley Roasters from Clonakilty in County Cork. However, don’t wait too long to try them, since they change every two weeks or so, with the next espresso, from nearby Badger & Dodo in Fermoy, lined up and ready to go!

All this is backed up by a selection of sandwiches and cakes, plus excellent breakfast and lunch menus, served until one o’clock (two o’clock at weekends).

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On the narrow Carey's Lane in the heart of Cork, is a four-storey, stone & brick building.
  • This is the view as you approach from the south (coming from the English Market)...
  • ... where you'll find, on the right, Dukes Coffee Company.
  • There's outdoor seating, with four of these two-person tables to either side of the door.
  • The menu is handily posted on the wall by the door...
  • ... while the A-board proudly proclaims the choice of single-origin beans (filter & espresso).
  • Let's go in, shall we?
  • The downstairs was packed during my visit, so hard to photograph. The seating is on the...
  • ... left with a communal table in the window and two rows of tables running front to back.
  • The right-hand side, meanwhile, is given over to the counter.
  • There's more at the back, beyond the counter...
  • ... where stairs lead up on the left.
  • There's a set of retail shelves at the bottom of the stairs (with a table to the right).
  • Let's go upstairs, shall we?
  • The stairs turn by 90 degrees to deposit you at the back on the left.
  • Upstairs at Dukes, known as the Lounge, is a much more relaxed affair.
  • The view back towards the top of the stairs. There are three tables here...
  • ... this four-person one by the wall...
  • ... another four-person one next to the top of the stairs...
  • ... and a two-person one next to that.
  • There are also sofas, starting with a long, four-person one running down the centre...
  • ... and a two-person one in the front corner by the window.
  • Another look at the two-person sofa, complete with coffee table...
  • ... and here's the four-person one.
  • There's more seating beyond the sofas, with a pair of two-person tables in the windows.
  • Finally, there's a three-person table behind the big sofa, and an L-shaped bar in the corner.
  • The upstairs lounge, seen from by the middle window at the front.
  • And here's the view out of the window: that's the back of Saints Peter and Paul’s Church.
  • Good selection of reading material.
  • Back downstairs and there's a selection of cakes and pastries on the counter top...
  • ... with more cakes and a selection of sandwiches in the built-in display case.
  • You order at the till at the far end...
  • ... where you'll find the breakfast and lunch menus on the wall behind...
  • ... and the coffee menu as well.
  • I was there for breakfast...
  • ... ordering the potato cakes, avocado and eggs, which were excellent!
  • You get a little number to put on your table so the staff can find you.
  • I also had the natural Ethiopian batch brew from Stone Valley Roasters...
  • ... served in a carafe with a glass on the side.
  • I'll leave you with one last look at my coffee, which tasted as good as it looks!
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Dukes Coffee Company is in the centre of Cork, on the island between the two branches of the River Lee. It’s located on the eastern side of the narrow, pedestrianised Carey’s Lane, which runs behind Saints Peter and Paul’s Church, connecting the famous English Market to the south with the more modern Paul Street Shopping Centre to the north.

Dukes is spread over the lower two floors of an old, brick-faced, four-storey stone building, its bustling downstairs, complete with counter and open kitchen, contrasting with the more relaxed upstairs (known, fairly accurately, as the lounge). You can also sit outside on the pavement, where there’s a set of four two-person tables on either side of the central door, flanked by two large windows

Downstairs has the look and feel of an old, traditional café, a million miles from the stereotypical third-wave coffee shop. The counter is on the right, with the till, where you order, at the far end, menus on the wall behind. The seating, meanwhile, is on the left, with an eight-person communal table in the window and two rows of tables opposite the counter. The first of these, consisting of three two-person tables, runs under a massive mirror on the left-hand wall, while the second, consisting of four two-person tables, runs down the middle. At the back, there’s a three-person table tucked away in the right-hand corner, while to the left, steps lead up across the back wall before turning by 90° to deposit you in the back left-hand corner of the lounge.

The contrast between upstairs and downstairs couldn’t be starker. The lounge is much more relaxed, with more of a third-wave feel to it, walls hung with the occasional coffee sack. The front wall is punctured by three narrow, tall windows, two with two-person tables in front of them, while the third, on the left, overlooks a two-person sofa which faces into the room. Another, longer, four-person sofa is in the middle of the room, facing the left-hand wall across a pair of long coffee tables.

Four more tables are scattered about: a four-person one sits to the right of the top of the stairs, while there’s another by the left-hand wall, between the stairs and sofa by the window. Meanwhile, a two-person table is tucked away in a corner opposite the stairs, between the doors to the storeroom and toilets. Finally, a three-person table is tucked in against the back of the four-person sofa. The seating is completed by a narrow, L-shaped bar against the right-hand wall, generously equipped with power outlets (the only ones upstairs).

I typically start my day (when out and about) with a flat white, but I was drawn to the natural Ethiopian on batch brew, particularly tempting since Stone Valley Roasters was a new name to me. My coffee was served in a conical flask, with a glass on the side. It was a smooth, delicate coffee with fruity undertones, lacking the punchy fruitiness I associate with most naturals (not that this is a bad thing). I paired this with the potato cakes, avocado and eggs, which came with a couple of slices of toast, the potato cake and two fried eggs putting an Irish twist on a third-wave staple. All-in-all, it was an excellent start to my day.

4 CAREY’S LANE • CORK • IRELAND
http://www.dukes.ie +353 (0) 21 490 5877
Monday 08:00 – 17:00 Roaster Bewleys + Guests (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables; Tables, Sofas, Bars (upstairs)
Wednesday 08:00 – 17:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwich, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 17:00 Service Order at the Counter
Friday 08:00 – 18:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 08:00 – 18:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 17:00 Power Limited
Chain Local Visits 7th October 2019

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3 thoughts on “Dukes Coffee Company, Carey’s Lane

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