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 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.
|49 PLEASANTS STREET • DUBLIN • D08 XHF2 • IRELAND|
|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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