Reference Coffee

My espresso, a Colombian single-origin from Carlos Alberto Ulchur, roasted by Colonna Coffee and served in a classic white cup at Reference Coffee in Dublin.Today’s Saturday Short, Reference Coffee, is the second half of my Dublin double-header, which began with Monday’s Coffee Spot, Meet Me in the Morning. The two share common ownership, occupying adjacent terrace houses on Dublin’s southside. Although physically linked, Reference Coffee operates as a standalone coffee bar, as well as making all the coffee for Meet Me in the Morning. Aside from three small tables on the pavement outside, it’s standing-room, so if you want a seat, you’re better off heading next door.

Reference Coffee is a multi-roaster with a pair of single-origins (one for black drinks, one for milk-based) and decaf on espresso, all from Colonna Coffee. The filter coffee comes from a guest roaster, with different options on batch brew and pour-over. There’s a selection of cake and a small range of savouries to go with your coffee, but if you want something more substantial, head next door.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Reference Coffee (on the right) as seen approaching from the west.
  • And here's the view coming the other way along Pleasants Street in Dublin's southside.
  • The view straight on, with sister company, Meet Me in the Morning, on the left.
  • Two out of four's not bad. For breakfast and lunch, head to Meet Me in the Morning.
  • If you want a seat, either head to Meet Me in the Morning, or grab one the three tables...
  • ... outside in front of the window. Inside, it's standing room only.
  • Talking of which, let's go in, shall we? The door is on the right.
  • Inside, the counter runs the full width at the back of Reference Coffeee, which really...
  • ... isn't that deep. Like I said, it's standing room only in here!
  • You can't even sit on the windowsill, since that's home to numerous plants!
  • As you enter, you're greeted by the cakes and a menu board with the savoury options.
  • It's quite a cale selection, by the way.
  • You also order and pay here, with the rest of the counter given over to espresso...
  • ... in the shape of the yellow La Marzocco Linea espresso machine and its three grinders.
  • The view of the counter looking from the other end. Really, that's all there is!
  • Well, not quite all. The filter coffee and tea are on the worktop behind the counter...
  • The left-hand wall at the far end of the counter houses the menu and the retail shelves.
  • The menu's concise & to the point: black drinks top, milk drinks middle, not coffee, bottom.
  • The retail shelves have the espresso (from Colonna) and the current guest roaster (Barn).
  • During my viist, Reference/Meet Me in the Morning was collaborating with Colonna...
  • ... to produce two house espressos. This one, Carlos Alberto Ulchur, was for all the...
  • ... black espresso-based drinks. Naturally, I had it as an espresso...
  • ... served in a classic, white espresso cup.
  • This Mbokam AA from Embu in Kenya, a washed coffee roasted by The Barn, was on...
  • ... pour-over, while I sampled the batch brew, a washed Ethiopian, also from The Barn.
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Reference Coffee is on Dublin’s Southside, at the right-hand end of terrace of three small, two-storey houses on the north side of Pleasants Street. Sister company Meet Me in the Morning (next door) and independent Sova Vegan Butchers (left-hand end) make up the rest of the terrace. Reference Coffee occupies the ground floor, the door on the right and a single, square window on the left. The only seating is outside, a bench running underneath the window, with three small, round cocktail-style tables. The middle one is a two-person table, while the tables on either end seat three, but that’s it.

Inside, the counter runs along the rear of the store (which is about half as deep as Meet Me in the Morning), the cakes directly in front of you as you enter. This includes a selection of doughnuts, cupcakes, brownies, cookies and, if you want something savoury, sausage rolls. Next comes the till, then the three Mythos 1 grinders (espresso, milk-based drinks and decaf), with the yellow La Marzocco Linea espresso machine at the far end. Filter coffee (pour-over via the SP9/Kalita Wave plus batch brew) is prepared on the work surface behind the counter, while the menu is on the left-hand wall, where it’s joined by retail bags of coffee. Other than the various house plants lining the window-sill, that’s pretty much it.

Reference Coffee operates as a standalone coffee bar, but also provides an identical coffee service to Meet Me in the Morning, so if you want a seat or something to eat, just head next door where you can to enjoy the coffee, ordering from the comfort of your table.

During my visit, Reference Coffee was in the middle of a six-month collaboration with Colonna Coffee, which provided a pair of Colombian single-origins and decaf on espresso. The first single-origin, from Carlos Alberto Ulchur, was used for black drinks, with the other, El Perezso, used for milk-based drinks. When it comes to filter coffee, Reference uses various guest roasters, with Berlin’s The Barn on offer during my visit. There was a washed Ethiopian on batch brew and a natural Kenyan on pour-over, with more options on the retail shelves.

I began with the Carlos Alberto Ulchur as an espresso, which was excellent, having a pleasing acidity to it, before ending my visit with a sample of the washed Ethiopian batch brew, a smooth, well-rounded coffee.

December 2020: Reference Coffee was a runner-up for the 2020 Smallest Coffee Spot Award.

Monday 08:00 – 16:00 Roaster Colonna Coffee (espresso) + Guests (filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 16:00 Seating Tables (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 16:00 Food Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 16:00 Service Counter
Friday 08:00 – 16:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 09:00 – 16:00 Wifi No
Sunday 09:00 – 16:00 Power No
Chain Local Visits 13th October 2019

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2 thoughts on “Reference Coffee

  1. Pingback: Meet Me in the Morning | Brian's Coffee Spot

  2. Pingback: 2020 Awards – Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot | Brian's Coffee Spot

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