We won’t stop until we’ve found Dublin’s best independent coffee shop. Now in our third week, the coffee crawl has already hit some of the best places that our fair city has to offer – on our first outing we hit the Northside, while for the second week we took a jaunt across the Liffey and checked out the Southside. With week three upon us it was time to see what the city centre had to offer by way of coffee shops.
Tamp & Stitch – Essex St W, Temple Bar, Dublin 8
At first glance, Tamp & Stitch seems to be another boutique with elegant, minimalist styling that has you thinking of prices tags with more zeros than your bank balance, but you’d be wrong. This gorgeous little spot, tucked away on Scarlet Row, has managed to avoid the many negative connotations that might come to mind when you read a Temple Bar address. It’s effectively a super cool clothes shop with an in-store cafe. They stock a good range of high quality pieces, with great quality clothes, brilliant gift buys, and quirky jewelry you are always bound to fall in love with something once you walk in. While it is a shop first, they do serve coffee, hence, why we paid them a visit, and you can rest assured that the coffee is as good as the clothes. Like many other spots around Dublin they offer 3fe coffee so you are guaranteed a cup with a good punch and great flavour. As an added bonus, the staff here are incredibly easy on the eye, and really accommodating – despite a group of 15 members being served by one barista, he did so in record time. They also have a selection of baked goods on offer from Mud Bakes, so if you like retail therapy, caffeine, and cakes this place will be your idea of heaven.
Indigo & Cloth – 9 Essex Street East, Temple Bar
Similar to Tamp & Stitch, Indigo & Cloth not only has an ampersand, but it also has a cafe within a clothes shop. For those who don’t know, Indigo & Cloth are a leading independent menswear and lifestyle retailer. They have carefully curated a store that features international and Irish brands, and despite the menswear label they have a whole range of top quality products that anyone would love. This place has taken inspiration from Italy and Japan so it boasts a pretty minimal interior; think angular wooden furniture and polished concrete floor. On the ground floor you will find the Brew Bar, their cafe which is run in conjunction with the fine folks over at Clement and Pekoe. The coffee is sourced from the green and ethical supplier, Climpson and Son, so the beans are roasted to order in small batches ensuring a flavour that is consistent and fresh. For those who like samples, the Brew Bar have run cupping sessions so you can taste test their offering and with a good range on offer this is the perfect event for all you coffee lovers. The Indigo & Cloth team are also actively involved in the Repeal the 8th Campaign, and while our gang was in, Project Blue was going on. Some of our members happily joined in getting their faces painted to show their support, and bagged free donuts in the process – as Ilaina says it was “a bit of social activism with our coffee!” With faces painted, and bellies full, the gang took the short hop to spot number three.
First Draft Coffee – 1st Floor, Filmbase, Dublin 2
The first thing you’ll notice about First Draft is how big, light, airy and open it is. This is the perfect place to chill with some friends, or even while away a few hours with a good book, and, of course, an amazing cup of coffee. They are the creators of the Dublin City Speciality Coffee Map, along with artist, Ruan van Vliet, so it was serendipitous that it should have been included on our crawl as the map inspired these events. First Draft get their beans from The Barn, a speciality coffee roaster based in Berlin. The beans are hand-picked Arabica sourced from micro-farms, and never blended. Combined with a light roasting this ensures the coffee has full flavour that isn’t altered during the roasting process. For those who like to take things one step further, you can also attend cupping sessions at First Draft, and they offer a whole host of SCAE accredited classes and workshops. Covering everything from an Introduction to Coffee including Modern Home Brewing, and competition prep classes, these guys have all your coffee needs covered. They also do a savage toasted sandwich so make sure you check those out too.
Kaph – 31 Drury St, Dublin 2
The last stop of the week was to Kaph, located on a side street you could easily skip past this place but it’s worth popping in. The interior is a nod to Scandinavian minimalism, with an arts space upstairs that is worth checking out. They are also change up the window are with different artists being allowed to run riot on the huge glass window that makes up the front of the shop. Coffee lovers will be in safe hands as the beans are supplied by 3fe and Has Bean coffee, which you can also buy by the bag, and they have a strong following for their flat white. They also have great taste in music, and the free wifi is a bonus. This place has a stellar reputation but we must admit we found the service to be lacking. Granted, we were a big group but the gang purposefully went in a few at a time so as not to overwhelm the place. Given the great reception at other locations, and the strong reputation this place has, we were left a little underwhelmed by the experience. Perhaps it’s a place to go when you are flying solo. However, we can all have an off-day so we won’t hold it against them and everyone agreed that the cakes were fantastic, with points added for the paleo and gluten-free options.
Given that they created the map, our winner of the week has to First Draft Coffee. They are much more than just a coffee shop and the space is incredibly inviting. We find it’s often the team that make a place and the staff here are warm and welcoming; a special mention to Ger who looked after our ladies, and took the gorgeous photo of our gang enjoying their wares.
If you haven’t made it to one of our coffee-filled adventures yet, don’t worry as the next Perk Me Up event is set for August 13th; Dublin members check the events tab for further details. This crawl focuses on the independent and specialty coffee spots, so if there’s a place you think that our group need to check out let us know – we’re building an ever-growing list in our pursuit to find the top spot.