BELFAST

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SEVEN DAYS | EATING OUT -

Es­tab­lished Coffee

54 Hill Street Belfast BT1 2LB http://es­tab­lished.cof­feeface­book.com/ es­tab­lished­cof­fee €

Re­cently, I’ve found my­self de­fend­ing the wait for a cup of coffee in our mod­ern “fourth wave” coffee shops. If I’m pay­ing up­wards of ¤3 (or £2.90), I am very happy for a barista to take their time over my brew, to make sure they’re get­ting the max­i­mum flavour from the beans or to check they’ve got the tem­per­a­ture of the hot milk or wa­ter right. I be­lieve in slow food and slow liv­ing, so it makes sense to me that slow coffee should be ap­pre­ci­ated, too.

Ob­vi­ously, when you’re al­ready late for work in the morn­ing and you just need a caf­feine hit, stat, a five-minute ar­ti­sanally brewed coffee is enough to make you lose your mind. But when you have the time, why not in­dulge in the art of a care­fully poured hot drink?

It’s this I’m think­ing of as I take in the dé­cor of Belfast’s Es­tab­lished Coffee, while wait­ing on my coffee. Opened in Belfast’s Cathe­dral Quar­ter of in 2014 by coffee en­thu­si­ast Mark Ash­bridge, its pol­ished con­crete floor re­minds me of the Fum­bally in Dublin 8, while its min­i­mal­ist fur­nish­ings evoke the Kin­folk style of their brethren in beans, Dublin’s 3FE. Es­tab­lished stock coffee beans from 3FE along­side Lon­don roast­ers The Work­shop, with spe­cial guest bags pop­ping up from the likes of Heart Coffee in Port­land, Ore­gon.

In Es­tab­lished, I have a choice of two daily coffee beans or a de­caf made how­ever I like, or the Barista Sur­prise, wherein one of the Es­tab­lished crew picks a bean they’re ex­cited about and makes a fil­ter cup of it. Sure, I wait longer for the fil­tered Barista Suprise but think about what is go­ing into this cup of coffee. The barista chooses which bean; they grind and weigh out the beans; and then fil­ter at their Aeropress sta­tion, a process that takes at least two min­utes alone.

Good things come to those who wait. My coffee (£2.90) is served, delectably cloudy, in a lit­tle glass jug. The barista spills the beans on the coffee as he de­liv­ers it to my ta­ble; it is a Rwan­dan Work­shop spe­cialty, and the barista felt its fruity flavour shone through in a fil­ter cup. I had to agree as I sipped it, black and sug­ar­less.

Coffee is king here but there’s no mess­ing around in the kitchen ei­ther. I love how the sweet­ness of the roasted sweet potato in my veg­e­tar­ian sand­wich (£4.80) is bal­anced by the tang of caramelised re­do­nion mar­malade. Fresh greens are stuffed be­tween the slices of ex­cel­lent sour­dough bread, and the sand­wich is ac­com­pa­nied by a well-bal­anced crunchy red cab­bage and car­rot slaw. Also on of­fer are glo­ri­ously sticky cin­na­mon and pecan buns (£2.20), baked in-house. I un­wrap one, slowly de­vour­ing each layer as I make my way to its sticky cen­tre.

The café’s twit­ter and in­sta­gram feeds (@es­tab­lished and @es­tab­lished­cof­fee) tempt with their kitchen’s cre­ative, change­able and sea­sonal mid-week spe­cials, such as fried gnoc­chi with basil lemon pesto, charred greens, parme­san and poached eggs (£5.50). Break­fast looks in­sane too, with the reg­u­lar ap­pear­ance of waf­fles the cause of re­cur­ring mid-morn­ing meal envy on­line. Next time you’re in Belfast, make sure Es­tab­lished is on your itin­er­ary.

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