Words: Emily Mullen
After much racking of brains, trawling of the internet and broken down email threads we are proud to present, The Ultimate Dublin Food Guide, Coffee edition! A guide that cuts through the mire of food and drink reviews made by every Tom, Dick and Harry, with opposable thumbs and access to 3G.
Geographically Dublin isn’t an obvious mecca for good coffee. Since it’s a city set in a land of tea drinkers thousands of miles from even a sniff of an Arabica bush. It’s easy to see how the black jar of Nescafe Gold Blend which was installed into every Irish cupboard from 2005-2009, constituted the height of class.
But we have always embraced coffee, every single noxious cupful of the stuff. So much so, this year Dublin has been voted the second most coffee-obsessed in the world according to a 2021 survey, which found there were no less than 181 coffee shops serving every 100,000 people in the capital. Which is just about as dense as Starbucks filter coffee. Although the survey notes that the quality of the stuff isn’t comparable to other cities, anecdotally our crack team of experts were falling over themselves to tell us their favourite coffee spots in the city.
The competition in this category was nothing short of fierce, with almost everyone we asked coming down unequivocally on what was their top coffee choice. As the owner of Bahay, Riggz Castillo put it “Dublin has some truly great coffee.”
In terms of their choices, there were a couple of patterns that were pretty easy to spot, like how some people favoured coffee shops near where they lived and worked, like Paul McVeigh going for Meet Me in the Morning which is a hop skip and a jump from the kitchens of Mister S. There was a high density of coffee shops on the list in Dublin 8, where the coffee beans appear to hit differently. The majority of coffee shops included are also independent, although Crossy foodie and presenter on FM104 did tell us that the Insomnia beside the 3Arena was banging.
The answers have been ground together into a fine powder, dripped into a cup. Into your scrabbling caffeine-deprived claws let us place The Ultimate Food Guide to Dublin’s best Coffee:
Two Pups are a lot more than a viral photo of two pups straining against their leads to hug one another, they are also a pretty outstanding cafe. An excellent spot for that weekend lazy brunch coffee, which is best taken milky and in a big ol’ bowl. Riggz Castillo wholeheartedly agrees and rated Two Pups as one of his top spots.
Coffee suppliers: Farmhand Coffee and Square Mile Coffee Roasters
Location: Dublin 8’s 74 Francis Street
For more information visit the Two Pups website.
Despite the rapid increase in coffee sold out of horse trailers, vans and tents, Happy Days is the only one included in this list. Working out of a silver slipstream trailer that’s installed on the grounds of the new TUD Grangegorman campus, the spot has been extremely popular with students and the college staff. It was high up Daniela Carnevali’s list, the baker at Mona-mie said, “it’s such a treat to get a coffee and just enjoy a walk around Grangegorman.”
Coffee suppliers: Cloud Picker
Location: Dublin 7’s 8 Grangegorman Lower
For more information visit the Happy Days Instagram.
One of the newest cafes on the list, Daddy’s opened just before the Pandemic. Challenging time or not, Daddy’s have firmly established themselves into the beating heart of the cafe scene. Using Village Dairy milk and a special roast from Two Fifty Square, which has hits of “lemon, fig and honey with a white chocolate fudge body”. Chef and director of Conbini Condiments Holly Dalton was a massive fan of Daddy’s, telling us, “Daddy’s takes the number one spot in this very competitive category. My signature drink of choice has become a disaronno flat white. Pretty sure that Daddy’s invented this drink. This cafe is one of my favourite places to visit full stop,” she said.
Coffee Suppliers: Two Fifty Square
Location: Rialto’s 538 South Circular Road
For more information visit the Daddy’s website.
FIA is the only cafe on the list that is currently in transit since they are on the move “to a new and bigger location”. After five years on Rathgar Road, the team are transitioning to a larger location, which will hopefully be open and slinging coffees soon. Ex-Mister S chef Dan Hannigan had some particularly fond memories of Fia from his time living across the road from their old spot in Rathmines, he told us, “I lived across the road from Fia for 5 years and always loved it. The team in there are always so lovely and produce really good food.”
Coffee Suppliers: Roasted Brown and Coffee Collective
Location: NB Fia are on the move and have as yet not announced their new location
For more information follow them on Instagram for updates.
Proper Order are no willy-nilly operation. The team are heavy with Coffee Olympics medals, winning gold in the 2018 Irish Brewers Cup Championship and 2017 Irish Barista Championship. While their pastries are supplied by their sister company No Messin’ bakery, making them a bit of a double-threat. Riggz Castillo and Holly Dalton were both big fans of what Proper Order put out on the counter.
Coffee suppliers: Coffee Collective
Location: Smithfield’s 7 Haymarket
For more information visit the Proper Order website.
Somehow Clement & Pekoe have created two little oases in the city, with their spots in South William Street and Blessington Street. Their coffees are on the lighter end, selected from a range of Irish and international roasters like Imbibe, Upside and The Underdog. Former head chef of Chapter One Eric Matthews was a fan of Clement & Pekoe, telling us that the Blessington Street spot is less crowded and a “good place to chill out” he added, “they also sell Bread 41 bread there as well which is kinda handy”. While Daniela Carnevali commended them on their perfect milky coffees and told us that “the service is spotless.”
Coffee suppliers: Climpson & Sons, Imbibe, Upside, La Cabra, The Barn and The Underdog.
Dublin 2’s 50 South William Street
Dublin 7’s 24/25 Blessington Street
South William Street
Blessington Street Monday
For more information visit the Clement & Pekoe website
Since they’ve been named after a Bob Dylan song, you can kinda guess that Meet Me in the Morning have some nice, deep-thinking coffee on sale. While they sell coffee through takeaway, they also have an in-house multiroastery that rotates nearly every week. Discerning coffee drinker the proprietor of 3FE Colin Harmon, goes for them which he is “out and about” and presumably nowhere near his own cafes. Co-owner of Mister S Paul McVeigh was also a big fan of their coffee, alongside their “banana brownie friand which are sensational”.
Dublin 8’s 49 Pleasants Street
For more information follow the Meet Me in the Morning Instagram.
Running since 2013 a multi-roaster coffee bar features a rotating number of roasters from Ireland and abroad. The coffee spot recently closed their second cafe, when Baste wrapped up in Portobello, but are still operating out of the side of Wigwam’s bar in Middle Abbey Street. Vice was namechecked by Holly Dalton, Baste owner Andy Noonan and Riggz Castillo who said, “I will go out of my way to get a coffee here, it’s always perfect.”
Coffee supplier: Rotates
Location: Wigwam in 54 Middle Abbey Street
For more information visit the Vice website.
Opened way back in 2013, Kaph has developed into the caffeine vendor of choice for any coffee lover sauntering between Grafton and George’s Street. Working with 3FE, the team at Kaph have a couple of specific blends, mostly centring around notes of chocolate and fruit. Presenter and owner of Lil Portie Nico Reynolds is a big fan of Kaph telling us that he “goes there quite a lot”, while Eric Matthews and cookery book co-writer James Kavanagh were also partial to a cuppa from there.
Coffee supplier: 3FE
Dublin 2’s 31 Drury Street
For more information visit the Kaph Instagram.
Hefty would be the bag of coffee that would knock 3FE off the top spot. The company have dominated the coffee scene in Dublin for several years, stocking some of the best cafes with their blends while building up their own caffeine empire around the city. 3FE was on the lips of most of the contributors we spoke to, from Dan Hannigan, Eric Matthews, Andy Noonan to restauranteur Niall Sabongi who told us that he rates 3FE coffee “anywhere” in the city.
Coffee supplier: Their own
The Triangle in Dublin 6’s 31-33 Ranelagh
Sussex Terrace in Dublin 4’s 7 Sussex Mews
Fivepoints in Dublin 6W 288A Harold’s Cross Road
Grand Canal Street in Dublin 2’s 32 Grand Canal Street Lower
For a full list of the opening hours visit the 3FE website.
Honourable mentions: Shoe Lane, It’s A Trap, Bread 41, Brindle, Gaillot et Grey, Coffee Angel, Coco Brew, The Tram Cafe and Two Boys Brew.
Not full enough? Check out our Ultimate Dublin Food Guide to Pizzas