CHAR’s Ultimate Food Guide: Coffee

Words: Shamim de Brún
Images: Instagram

We are the ultimate coffee city in Europe. London, Vienna, Rome, Paris they’ve all had their day. But their days are in the past. The ultimate place to get a cup of coffee right now is Dublin. The EU agreed when they named us the coffee capital of Europe. So there’s no fighting or denying it. 

Now, the fight now is over to who makes the best coffee. What makes the ultimate cup of coffee change from person to person? So we made sure in our list to include people to take coffee in all sorts of different and exciting ways. 

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, Richie Castillo, put it, “Dublin has some truly great coffee.”

The fact of the matter is that most people are loyal to their local. Everyone picked their own regular spot as the number one. The bias feckers, but sure, we’d be the same. The winners came out when everyone’s second, third and fourth choices started to align with these places racking up points like they were playing Minecraft. 

So here you have it CHAR’s Guide to Dublin’s Ultimate Coffee. Feel free to fight amongst yizzerselves. 

10 – 2 Pups 

The Double-Threat Cafe

Ask any bean juice aficionado about coffee in Dublin, and they are bound to mention 2 Pups. They have built a name and reputation for high-quality coffee and are a must-grab brunch spot. Filter coffee evangelicals have all taken the pilgrimage to this Dublin 8 dah-ling for their ethically sourced and transparently traded Farmhand Coffee. For many, it is fundamentally important to Dublin’s coffee culture. 

Richie 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
Opening times: Wednesday-Friday 8:30-15:30 Saturday-Sunday 9:30-16:00

For more information, visit the Two Pups website

09 – Bear Market

The Animal Roast

This chain of small cafés is a stalwart in many ways. The staff in our local are the big sellers. Always having a laugh and making even casual customers feel like locals. The coffee itself is 

Kevin Hughes from Nomos absolute favourite. Kevin is a whole milk cappuccino sort of guy, so you know this place steams their milk well, which is fundamentally essential to the coffee experience. Nothing worst than screaming, struggling milk frothers. It ruins the atmosphere of a place and burns the milk. 

Coffee suppliers: Bear Market
Location:  Stillorgan · George’s Street · Westland Row · Pembroke St · Blackrock · Decathlon · IFSC
Opening times: See website for this complex breakdown

08 – Daddy’s

The Circular Beast

Daddy’s is a bright, nostalgic vintage-style café. were singing the praises of their Turkish Eggs, savoury tarts and the nostalgia-inducing ‘mashed eggs in a cup’.

Anyone who has made the trip to Danny’s is instantly converted to the cult of the parental cafe. It serves good vibes only, as well as top-notch coffee and snacks. Big Fans Rob and Bahay’s Alex are both fans. Both for their comforting, cosy space and slapping coffee. 

Coffee suppliers: TwoFiftySquare in Terenure
Location: Rialto
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday 09:00 – 15:00

07 – Kaph

The Central Perk

Everyone has had a Kaph at some point in their caffination career. If they haven’t, then they’re tea-only drinkers or, worse, no hot drinks people. Kaph gained a reputation for quick service and really good coffee years ago, judging by the consistent out-the-door queue that have maintained it well. 

Kaph is a coffee lovers’ coffee spot. They have a few treats, but really it’s all about the bean juice. They cropped up near the top of The Gastro Gays list as well as Sommelier Tara Deery’s. The location is a big seller for most people, with Patrick of Gastro Gays saying, “Kaph is always great. It’s so central, in a great area, and a bit higgledy-piggledy in the structure of the seating, but I think it’s a great place to grab a coffee and then stroll around. It’s perfectly placed”. With it being just a stone’s throw from the office, we have to say we concur heartily. 

Coffee suppliers: 3FE
Location: Drury Street
Opening times: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 – 18:00 and Sunday from 12:00 – 18:00

06 – Network

The Pour-Over Perfectionist

Network is relatively new in terms of this calibre of coffee shop. ​​Its modus operandi is all about connecting coffee addicts with exceptional coffee quickly but without rushing it. It’s a hard line to straddle, but they do it well. Between Ollie, the owner and Jack, the head barista, they tag team to deliver what could be the best coffee on Aungier Street. 

Rob from Big Fan thinks so anyway. He walks the route from Rathmines to Aungier Street every day for work, and Network is his go-to. He even picked it here as his top choice, with Kevin from Nomo agreeing heartily. Kevin said, “they’re amazing”, and tempered it in his seemingly serious way, confirming it to be a “really cool spot”. 

Coffee suppliers: Workshop Coffee
Location: Aungier Street
Opening times: Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 17:00,

05 – Proper Order

The Mug-nificent

There are many for whom this is the ultimate coffee in the city. Their batch brew has attained cult status. Some of its devotees are among our staff. Alex from Bahay would agree. This is her absolute favourite place to go for coffee and the first one she fired at us when we interviewed her. The enthusiasm was shared by Holly, who would call Proper Order her “go-to spot, especially since they teamed up with NoMessin Bakery, which is huge in its own right. But together? Come on!!”. 

Coffee suppliers: Coffee Collective
Location: Smithfield
Opening times: Everyday from 08:00

04 – Clement & Pekoe

The Brew-tiful

Known just as much for its tea as for its coffee, this little spot on South William street is so good it lends clout to the whole area. The Gastro Gays rank this among their top picks because they make an equally good coffee and do a whole range of fanciful teas to suit their needs. Thanking about this beautiful spot, they said, “The smell. It tempts you in before you’re even inside the door, too.”

It’s right up there for Tara Deery, who loves sitting outside Clement & Pekoe having a people watch with her bean juice. 

Coffee suppliers: They shake it up on the regular so keep an eye on their specials board
Location: South William Street, Blessington Street
Opening times: Each spot is different so check their website for accurate info

03 Cloud Picker

The Friendly Neighbourhood Joe

This one was a contender. In fact, there are only three points between Cloud Picker and the top spot. This spot was instantly top of Gastro Gays’ list in what they called “Definitely our favourite coffee shop in Dublin.” Now that is a resounding endorsement. 

While loath to use the word iconic, they couldn’t help themselves calling the place “really iconic with a unique space. Open, welcoming, great staff. Unbelievable coffee.” Literally ticking all the boxes off. Bish bash bosh. Of course, the big sell here is that Cloulpicker “own their own roastery. They’re very particular about the sourcing of their beans. The food that they offer is short, but it’s always really considered” taking it up a gear to land this place firmly in the top three. 

Two Michelin Star level pastry chef Tara Gartlan implicitly agrees and focuses on how engaged the owners are with the industry writ large. They host small company treats to bring them to a wider audience. 

There is another unifying theme when it comes to Cloudpicker. How good the people are. Tara said, “the staff are super friendly”. Gastro Gays have been really impressed by the team, saying, “Frank and Peter have a really great ethos about the working environment. Stay And when the war broke out, in particular, to did an incredible fundraising drive to constantly support LGBTQ rights as a gay couple themselves”. 

Of course, Tara also circled back to the coffee, saying, “their house blend is just gorgeous. Whether you have an espresso or an Americano, it’s beautiful.”

Coffee suppliers: Cloud Picker
Location: Pearce Street
Opening times: Monday to Saturday from 08:00 to 15:00

02 Vice

The Innovator

Only one point away from the top spot is the former barista on our staff, Sian Conway’s top spot. 

Alex, Richie, Gillian, and Holly are all on Team Vice. Gillian popped them tip top of her list because she was impressed by the staff’s knowledge. She told CHAR how she went in to do a knowledge exchange where she showed the team how to level up their espresso martinis and Irish coffees with her booze knowledge and ended up learning all sorts about coffee, so it, in turn, game changed her own cocktails. Now that is the cross-pollination we love to see. 

Holly also thinks of coffee knowledge when she thinks about Vice. She said, “. It kind of got me through college. I still go there whenever I’m on the north side. I absolutely love it. Like, Tom and the crew are just lovely people. Everyone’s so knowledgeable, and Wigwam is a really cool place to hang out.” 

Their Irish coffee is one to make a beeline for at any time of the year, but especially in this seasonal era. 

Coffee suppliers: They feature a number of roasters from Ireland & abroad on their menu
Location: Abbey Street
Opening times: Monday to Sunday 11:00 – 18:00

01 – 3fe

The OG

I mean, you could have guessed it from the get-go. It’s hard to dethrone a champion who has been a champion for years. Anyone who is of an age and of an ilk will remember when 3fe stormed onto our streets with what was then a revolutionary concept. Home-roasted beans. It was the best-kept nationally known secret for years, and you were elbowing your mates out of the way to secure a seat at brunch so you could post that sweet, sweet pics for your insta as that top-notch coffee. Now here we are ten years later, and it is still top dog. That is an achievement. 

3fe alum Holly was all about them. “Obviously, a huge part of the coffee is made up of Dublin. They kind of started the whole third-wave coffee shop movement, and it’s extremely consistent. It’s a great place to buy brewing equipment. But it’s the baristas who really know their stuff”.

The Gastro Gays said 3fe “never fails. It’s dominated the Dublin coffee scene for a good reason: its good quality, delicious coffee and really nice spaces. It’s convenient as well.”

Kevin called it when he said, “they’re like the OG in some respects.” Truly Dublin wouldn’t be the European capital of coffee were it not for the 3fe revolution, and that deserves your respect and for someone to write a thesis on it. 

Coffee suppliers: 3fe
Location:3fe Grand Canal Street, 3fe Five Points, 3fe Sussex Terrace, 3fe The Triangle, 3fe IFSC 
Opening times: See their website for the full and total breakdown

Elsewhere on CHAR: Dublin’s Ultimate Pizza

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