Filter (Cork)

The front of Filter, in Cork, with the door on the left, and a solitary bench under the window on the right.Filter, one of Cork’s speciality coffee pioneers, was the third and final stop on my one-day tour this time last week. I also visited Dukes Coffee Company on Carey’s Lane and Three Fools Coffee, all recommended by local expert, Caroline O’Keeffe, with each totally different from the other two. Filter is a very homely place, with an eclectic mix of styles, kitted out almost entirely with bespoke furniture made from reclaimed wood, no single piece quite matching any other.

From the outside, it doesn’t look like much, with a narrow store front facing onto St George’s Quay on the southern bank of the southern branch of the River Lee. Inside, however, it goes a long way back, being maybe five times as deep as it is wide. There are two distinct seating areas, one at the front, the other at the back, with the counter in between.

When it comes to coffee, Filter serves the Momentum blend from 3FE on espresso, where it’s joined by a guest single-origin from Cloud Picker. There’s also a single-origin batch brew, plus a wide selection of single-origins on pour-over from either 3FE or Cloud Picker. If you’re hungry, there’s plenty of cakes and scones.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On St George's Quay, on the southern bank of the southern branch of the River Lee...
  • ... stands this small, blue building, with a solitary bench outside the window.
  • The sign gives it away: it's Filter, one of Cork's speciality coffee pioneers.
  • Let's go in, shall we?
  • The view from just inside the door. The counter is set back on the left-hand side...
  • ... while against the wall to the right is the first set of seating...
  • ... three tall, round tables against a tall, wooden bench.
  • The tables, seen here head-on, with their mis-matching stools.
  • Another view of the tables, looking towards the window. Talking of which, this is...
  • ... the view, looking across the river to the right. It's the Russian Orthodox Church.
  • Returning to Filter, the counter's on the left, dominated by the Victoria Arduino Black Eagle.
  • However, that's not the end of it, since Filter keeps going a long way back!
  • This is the second part of filter, the pour-over section, with its L-shaped counter.
  • There are a couple of stools along the side of the counter...
  • ... and then, right at the back, a couple more stools.
  • All the pour-over gear is displayed on the counter top...
  • ... with kettles and grinder behind.
  • The view from the stools at the very far end of Filter...
  • ... and the view from the stools along the side.
  • Filter has plenty of neat touches. This is the takeaway station at the end of the tables...
  • ... while under the counter at the back at these handy hooks for coats/bags.
  • Pictures line the right-hand walls.
  • They are a fairly eclectic mix.
  • This was probably my favourite.
  • In case we forget where we are!
  • There are more interesting bits and pieces at the back, where the mirror adds another...
  • ... dimension. Nice library, by the way.
  • To business. You are greeted by the narrow end of the counter, with built-in cake display.
  • The usual suspects are present...
  • ... along with a good selection of scones, which seems to be an Irish coffee shop staple.
  • The choice of beans is displayed to the left of the counter.
  • There's the Momentum blend from 3FE and a guest single-origin from Cloud Picker.
  • There's also a batch-brew option, this red honey processed Costa Rican from 3FE.
  • Next comes the Victoria Arduino Black Eagle espresso machine, confusingly in blue!
  • This is followed by a pair of grinders, with the beans displayed...
  • ... Momentum in the Mahlkönig E30 and the guest in the Victoria Arduino Mythos One.
  • I decided to go for a shot of the latter and put James, my barista, to work.
  • The result: a rather lovely flat white in an equally lovely cup...
  • ... complete with some pretty latte art.
  • I paired this with the last of the wholemeal scones...
  • ... solving the jam or cream first conundrum by only having jam!
  • However, I couldn't come to a shop called Filter and only have espresso. But what to have?
  • There was a wide selection of single-origins at the back, both Cloud Picker and 3FE...
  • ... and I couldn't decide, so I told James to pick his favourite...
  • ... which turned out to be this Kiamaina AB washed Kenyan.
  • But what to make it in? Clever Dripper? V60? Aeropress?
  • Actually, none of those, James selecting the Chemex instead.
  • The ground coffee was offered to me before brewing and its smelled gorgeous.
  • Into the Chemex, with its rinsed filter paper it goes...
  • ... and then we have the first pour to let the coffee bloom.
  • We wait while the water filters through...
  • ... then top up with the main pour...
  • ... and wait again.
  • The coffee is served in the Chemex, on a wooden tray, glass on the side.
  • My coffee in the glass.
  • I'll leave you with the view from above.
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Filter’s simple façade has a half-glazed door on the left and a single, square window on the right, with a solitary bench outside by the busy road, offering great views of the Russian Orthodox Church just across the river on the north bank. Inside, Filter’s long and thin, and, while not quite touch-both-walls-with-arms-outstretched thin, it’s pretty close.

It’s dominated by the counter, which starts a short way back along the left-hand wall. Formed of two parts, it runs almost to the mirrored back wall. The seating, meanwhile, is also in two parts, front and back. In the front section, three tall, round two-person tables run along a high, wooden bench against the right-hand wall. The first of these is in the window, the last is level with the front of the counter, where the cake’s in a large, in-built glass display case.

The rest of the counter, made of reclaimed wood, is painted blue, matching the Victoria Arduino Black Eagle espresso machine. It’s an interesting shape, starting narrow, before slowly widening as it goes back, sloping at an angle of about 30°. This leaves space at the front for the last of the tables, plus a small takeaway station on the right-hand wall.

The sloping section houses the espresso machine, while its two grinders, a Mahlkönig E30 (Momentum blend) and Victoria Arduino Mythos One (guest single-origin) follow on a straight section of the counter. You’ll also find the till here, where you order, although you can pay on leaving.

The rear section of the counter follows after a short gap. Taller than the front part, it runs almost to the back of Filter, with a couple of tall bar stools along the side. There’s a small gap at the back, where two more bar stools are squeezed in, possibly the best seats in the house. This is the filter part of Filter, with a couple of filter stands, complete with V60s, a Clever Dripper and an Aeropress. There’s also a Chemex on a workspace on the left-hand wall, where you’ll find the grinder and pouring kettles.

Returning to the front and the espresso, Momentum, a classic blend from 3FE, is an ever-present. During my visit, the guest espresso was a washed Costa Rican single-origin from Tarrazu, Santa Cruz, roasted by Cloud Picker, with another Costa Rican, this time from 3FE, on batch brew.

After a consultation with James, my barista, I had a flat white, made with the Cloud Picker Costa Rican, a lovely, smooth, fruity coffee. Served in a commendably small cup, a pedant might argue it was closer to a cortado in size, but I wasn’t about to complain since it was the perfect ratio of milk to coffee! I paired this with an excellent wholemeal scone, one of four varieties on offer (the others being blueberry, cherry almond and raisin).

The real treat, however, is at the back of Filter, where there are multiple single-origins on offer from 3FE and Cloud Picker (I counted 10). I couldn’t choose so asked James to pick his favourite, a washed Kenyan Kiamaina AB from 3FE, which he prepared through the Chemex. Served in the Chemex on a wooden tray, glass bowl on the side, it was a lovely, rich, fruity coffee, the perfect end to my day in Cork.

19 GEORGE’S QUAY • BALLINTEMPLE • CORK • IRELAND +353 (0) 21 455 0050
Monday 07:30 – 17:30 Roaster 3FE + Cloudpicker (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:30 – 17:30 Seating Tables, Counter
Wednesday 07:30 – 17:30 Food Cakes
Thursday 07:30 – 17:30 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:30 – 17:30 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 09:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 15:00 Power Few
Chain No Visits 7th October 2019

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3 thoughts on “Filter (Cork)

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