Full Circle Roasters Jacobs Inn Hostel 21-28 Talbot Street Dublin 1 facebook.com/fcroaster Heading into a hostel for a coffee doesn’t feel like the most natural thing to do in your hometown, but a good cup of coffee is always worth seeking out. When I heard Full Circle Roasters had set up a coffee bar in Jacobs Inn Hostel just off Talbot St, I was curious about how a specialty coffee bar would fit into a busy hostel.
Jacobs Inn, which is on one of the lanes that connects Busáras to Talbot Street, is a modern hostel positioning itself in the trendy youth hostel market. The decor is a mix of dark woods, loud oranges and lime greens.
As I sip on a perfect flat white and chat to Brian Birdy about his Full Circle Roasters, a continuous flow of young travellers mill through the lobby, while others sit on their suitcases conserving energy before heading off to their next destination.
Birdy and his business partner David Smyth, who also owns specialty coffee shop Ebb & Flow in Clontarf, took the opportunity to give Full Circle Roasters a home by setting up a coffee bar in the lobby of the hostel. They are right around the corner from Laine, My Love, Fergus Brown’s new coffee spot, which means Talbot Street has gone from no decent coffee to two decent coffee merchants in a matter of months.
One of Birdy’s baristas, Natalia, prepares my flat white using single origin beans from Altos de Erapuca in Honduras, roasted by Birdy himself just a week earlier.
“Everything we know, other people know,” he says about Full Circle Roasters’ approach to being an open source for coffee knowledge. “We just want totransfer that knowledge to our customers. We want to bridge the gap between geekery and accessible cups of coffee.”
Currently, Full Circle Roasters at Jacobs Inn is just focusing on coffee and cakes (check out its coffee and cake deal for ¤5) but it also plans to do sandwiches in the coming weeks. Its cakes are from the fantastic Camerino bakery on Capel Street and its teas from Wall & Keogh on South Richmond Street, so there is no doubt the sandwiches will reflect the same care and attention to detail in terms of ingredients and sourcing. Birdy also has plans to run “cupping” classes, otherwise known as coffee-tasting classes, in the coming weeks.
The hostel guests may not realise that they have such a great barista at their disposal, and the surrounding office workers and commuters may also not know what’s within their reach either.
The coffee bar is almost directly in front of you as you walk in the door and although there’s space to sit down to enjoy your coffee, it feels better suited to a grab-and-go situation. This is the ideal place to pick up a great coffee on your way to work or to take with you on your next bus journey from Busáras. AMcE Badger & Dodo [/LISTEATHD] 59 Francis Street Dublin 8 badgeranddodo.ie This is the first Dublin location for this Cork roaster who has been at the forefront of specialty coffee over the past decade.
The café has a few tables and chairs indoors, and currently the Dublin City Council beta projects have a temporary outdoor seating area in a reclaimed car parking space. You can follow the project under #StreetParkletBeta.
All the coffee beans are roasted in the Badger & DoDo roastery in Fermoy, Co Cork, where Brock Lewin has been roasting beans since July 2008. I grab a turkey and brie sandwich (¤5.50), made with excellent ingredients, and a tasty sweet potato vegetarian sandwich (¤5.50) to go. There are five sandwiches daily, all made with Bretzel Bakery bread, which also supplies the café with flapjacks, cakes and scones.
I get a v60 cup of Tanzanian peaberry coffee, an oval-shaped coffee bean, and it’s pleasantly acidic yet quite full-bodied. I’ve never knowingly tasted a peaberry roast before (and indeed I had to google “peaberry” after my visit), and it’s these nuggets of new knowledge that make for a great coffee experience. Not bad for a little café on Francis St. AMcE
Gaillot et Gray
59 Clanbrassil Street Lower Dublin 8 www.facebook.com/ GaillotGrayP 01-4547781 “If you have nice ingredients and stay true to them, it’ll taste good,” Emma Gray tells me, as she foams the milk for my flat white in her French Bakery and Pizzeria on Clanbrassil St. She is one half of Gaillot et Gray. Her partner is Gilles Gaillot and together they opened up their French-style, wood-fired pizzeria on Clanbrassil Street in Dublin 8 in March of this year.
Their evening trade (which runs from 4pm to 10pm, Tuesday through Saturday) of takeaway pizza has been thriving, with my current favourite being the chorizo and fresh chilli pizza (¤14). The interiors, designed by Gray, are simple and industrial, with a large communal table and a few other seats for those who want to eat-in. Once they had found their feet in the evenings, they extended their opening hours to include a French Bakery from 8am to 2pm from Tuesday through to Saturday. There are huge croissants and caramel-coloured pain au chocolate (¤1.50 each), dainty madeleine cakes (80c each or three for ¤2), and a brioche loaf (¤7.50 or ¤2.50 for a slice, toasted). Perhaps the most coveted (by me, anyway) is the traditional French boule loaves (¤4.50) that come fresh out of the pizza oven every day.
Gaillot et Gray’s baker, Peter Lee, uses Gilles’ recipe for a traditional rustic boule which is made from a combination of slow-fermented yeast and sourdough starter, so it’s got a bit of a tang, but the consistency is a spongier treat than a crunchy sourdough.
They use two types of flour in the bread, a plain white flour and a buckwheat and linseed flour, giving these loaves an extra bite of flavour.
On Saturdays, they soon found that the pastries and bread were selling out before 10.30am, so they started offering a selection of yummy things on slices of their toasted boule or brioche, such as smashed avocado or butterbean (4.50).
The coffee is from Baobab Roasters, a duo based in Celbridge, whose Brazilian blend is the house bean of choice at Gaillot et Gray. Tea is by Intelligent Tea, an excellent herbal tea made by Freda Wolfe from Irish herbs at Wild Irish Foods. At Gaillot et Gray, the emphasis is on thoughtful simplicity. For the customer, this translates into a straightforward yet special experience. Taking home a freshly baked loaf of rustic French bread and a well-made coffee, with your pockets stuffed with flaky croissants, is a pretty great start to any day. AMcE
[/LISTEATHD] Urbanity The Glass House, 11 Coke Lane, Smithfield, Dublin 7. urbanitycoffee.ie Tucked away on the lane that leads to the back door of Ryan’s Pub in Smithfield is a coffee shop and small-batch roaster, Urbanity. The design is minimal and the space is ample. It’s equipped with shiny gadgets from innovative Irish coffee technology company Marco and there’s a Probat coffee roaster in the corner of the cafe, surveying the scene. When it comes to beans, these folks mean business.
Urbanity buy their green beans from a supplier in Norway, who buys them direct trade from coffee farmers around the world. On my visit, I drink a flat white (¤3 here in Urbanity) made from a Brazilian bean that has been roasted on the other side of the room. It has a distinctively nutty flavour; the tasting notes say marzipan and almond, but my palate is not well enough versed in the world of coffee flavours to pick up on that level of detail just yet. Urbanity has three grinders
(most cafes only have one on the go, though it’s more common to have two these days) which means they can easily offer you a choice of three beans, and thus different taste profiles, on any given day.
There’s food, too, including some pleasing salads that are inventive yet accessible. I add a small portion of salad to my sandwich order (an additional ¤2.50) and go for the roasted broccoli with a sweet tahini sauce, and a portion of a celeriac, orange, apple and sumac salad. The ham and cheese sandwich (¤6.50) doesn’t quite match the rest of the menu’s offering. The ham is decent but the cheese is dull and sweaty.
Urbanity had been so busy during the lunchtime wave that hit them before I arrived that I literally got the last Arun Bakery bun in the kitchen, so my options were limited. A Middle Eastern Chicken sandwich on the menu looked a little more interesting. There are plenty of house-made desserts, and a teeny tahini biscuit (¤1) goes down a treat with my coffee.