I spent the weekend in Dublin at the end of my week-long trip around Ireland, exploring the city’s ever-growing speciality coffee scene. It was my third visit to the city and where better to start than at 3FE, the first speciality coffee shop that I wrote about on my very first visit to Dublin, over five years ago? Back then, 3FE was already an established name, a roaster with a lovely coffee shop on Grand Canal Street. Since then, 3FE has opened two more coffee shops, as well as moving to a bigger roastery.
The subject of today’s Coffee Spot is 3FE’s second location on Sussex Terrace, which opened in the summer of 2016. Just south of the Grand Canal, it’s off Leeson Street, and about a 20-minute stroll along the canal from the original. However, it’s a very different beast, combining takeaway coffee shop with retailer, equipment showroom and training room. If you’re in the market for some home coffee kit, this is definitely the place to come.
Although focused towards the takeaway/retail market, you are welcome to sit in and, as well as two daily options on espresso, there’s also a small selection of cakes to tempt you.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
3FE occupies the ground floor of a small, white, two-storey house midway along the western side of Sussex Terrace, with an additional room at the back of a small yard to the right of the house. Four tall, wooden-framed French doors stretch across the front of 3FE. I suspect that in the summer, these can all be opened, but on the two days I was there, three of them were firmly closed, leaving the left-hand one as the solitary entrance/exit.
The interior is, like the outside, painted white, with minimal decoration. There’s a central, tall, thin six-person communal table, directly ahead of the door, running front-to-back, but offset by about 30°. To the left of this, against the left-hand wall which is itself at 30° to the front, is a green four-person sofa. This provides the only other seating in the main room with small coffee tables at either end. To the left of the door is a set of retail shelves, stacked with bags of coffee, which can be ground on-demand. There’s also a €1 discount if you bring your own container.
The main room is dominated by the counter against the right-hand wall. This has more retail bags on shelves at the front of the counter, while to the left is a large display case with cakes and pastries. The till occupies the centre of the counter, with a pair of black Victoria Arduino Mythos One grinders to the left. However, pride of place goes to the bright red Victoria Arduino Black Eagle espresso machine on the left-hand end of the counter, matching the red 3FE logo on the back wall.
However, that’s not all. To the left of the counter, a set of three (closed) French doors lead into 3FE’s training room, which is off to the right of the main space, at the back of the yard. This is used both for 3FE’s commercial barista training and to run public courses, such as the brewing class that was taking place while I was there.
Perhaps of more interest is the back room, accessible through another set of French doors, this time propped wide open, in the back wall. These lead to the showroom, housing 3FE’s considerable range of coffee brewing equipment, including (on the right), various carafes and pour-over options, while on the left, there’s a large range of grinders (manual and electric) and the Wilfa Classic automatic filter machine. You’re welcome to take your coffee and sit in here, where there’s another tall, six-person communal table in the middle of the room.
Talking of coffee, there’s a selection of single-origins for sale (I counted seven, one of which was a decaf). Each day, two of these are chosen by the staff to go on espresso: while I was there, both were from El Salvador. The Alaska, a washed coffee with a more traditional taste profile, was being offered for milk-based drinks, while the San Cayetano, a honey-processed coffee, was available for black drinks, although you could have either whichever way you liked.
After a discussion with Bruno, my barista, I went for a shot of the San Cayetano, served in a classic red cup. This was a very fine, complex coffee, with a pleasing touch of acidity, the perfect reintroduction to Dublin’s speciality coffee scene. I also picked up a bag of a Kenyan single-origin, which I dropped off as a gift at Nem Coffee & Espresso in Tokyo a few weeks later.
|7 SUSSEX TERRACE • DUBLIN • D04 A8N4 • IRELAND|
|Monday||07:30 – 17:00||Roaster||3FE (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 17:00||Seating||Communal Tables, Sofa|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 17:00||Food||Cake|
|Thursday||07:30 – 17:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||07:30 – 17:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||09:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 17:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||Local||Visits||12th, 13th October 2019|
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