At Manly Stuff, we have a fondness for the finer things in life. Nice Whiskey, Nice Watches and above all Nice Coffee.
We recently did a feature on the best and brightest of Irish Whiskey so we thought it would be a nice idea to do one on coffee too. Irish Coffee anyone?
The craft coffee scene in Ireland has absolutely exploded in the past few years, there’s probably more roasters now than there are vacant houses in the country and we are not complaining (about the coffee, not the housing crisis).
The standard of coffee in Ireland has gone up so much that only the best will do, be gone instant coffee! I don’t care what anyone says, there’s just no decent instant coffee. Once you’ve gone the way of drinking freshly roasted and ground coffee, you’ll never go back.
Coffee can sometimes get some bad press but recently research has suggested that one or two cups a day can protect against dementia, reduce pain, enhance your memory, and even increase your life expectancy by reducing the risk of heart disease. We’ll take that.
The Roasters we’re featuring today are:
- Bao Bab
- Badger & Dodo
- Bell Lane
- Red Rooster Coffee
- Two Spots
All of these lovely companies sent us different types of beans to try, which means we have enough coffee to last until Christmas. Which is great.
Established in 2003, Ariosa Coffee is one of Ireland’s first Speciality Micro Coffee Roasting
Company. Michael Kelly, the founder, prides himself on serving only the freshest, finest and friendliest beans in town (they have a great coffee shop in Drogheda).
Ariosa pride themselves on their ability to produce and deliver the very best product every time. We sampled their everyday blend and it was divine, a beautiful smooth, deep flavour with a wonderful texture and aftertaste, it’s a coffee that will be enjoyed by the aficionado’s and the people on the streets alike. Ariosa have built a reputation for serving only the finest, freshest beans, and have mastered the skill of achieving the perfect desired quality
every time. They partner with growers from Africa, Central and South America and Indonesia (we were in Bali last year and fell in love with
the coffee there). Ariosa Coffee make sure that the farmers that live in those areas are getting a fair price for their hard work,
which is proper order. A lot has been said about Fair Trade lately but you should really read up on it, take it with a pinch of salt.
Michael Kelly returned from travelling in 2012 with a passion for coffee. Back then, he spotted a major gap in the market for quality coffee and established one of the very first, true specialty micro roasting companies in Ireland.
Currently the original blend has two top quality pulped natural Brazils and a really nice Guatemala (la Montinita) this blend is roasted to a medium level, the balance /body of this coffee is excellent and a delicious almond like aftertaste ensuring a really enjoyable experience.
Ariosa use a traditional slow approach to roasting, ensuring that the distinct taste of each type of bean is accentuated by their process. Through superior equipment and well trained roasters, they are able to achieve the perfect desired quality every time. By roasting at the beginning of the week, this allows the blend an lengthy resting period, which ensure maximum taste.
Luigi from Baobab sent us quite the selection of coffee to try out with beans from Brazil, DR Congo and Nicaragua! We’re slowly making our way through the ridiculous mountain of coffee that’s gathered.
Baobab’s story starts with two childhood friends raised in Kenya. Alex & Luigi grew up there and it’s where they learned about the word through the eclectic collection of cultural backgrounds from Arabic speaking expat’s to Europeans all living and working in Kenya.
Alex and Luigi think of themselves as open and passionate, which is something we can attest to, the guys love their coffee! They’re Roastary is in Celbridge, Kildare.
The guys learned about the complexities of the Kenyan Coffee market very early on and about the challenges faced by the farmers, wash stations, coffee brokers and exporters and what it takes to get Kenya’s Coffee to market.
This is where Baobab were exposed to microlot coffees, that is coffee that are graded higher than commercial coffees that we all used to be used to. Alex and Luigi were exposed to more complex, different coffees with high cupping scores.
Luigi was first exposed to coffee at the age of 4 where a close family friend taught him how to perform the Ethiopian Coffee ceremony. What first was a curiosity, became their passion, using more complex tools and methods to roast their coffee.
Alex learned his trade as a Barista in Australia (we miss the Sydney love of coffee!) and picked up the skills needed to run a successful coffee house. Luigi traveled to Ireland in 2003 and pursued a degree in Biotech whilst maintaining his passion for roasting specialty Coffee.
Baobab was founded in 2014 and the rest is history.
Cloud Picker is Dublin City’s first micro coffee roastery. They hand roast their coffee to order using a Giesen Roaster. Alongside their blends, they stock a seasonal selection of single origin coffees (they sent us one from Honduras – exquisite with tastes of honey, pear and milk chocolate – an instant favourite at Manly Stuff HQ).
The guys decide on the origin of the bean first then compose their blends by looking for the perfect balance of acidity, sweetness and body. They roast on the light side of things to allow the natural sugars to remain.
Cloud Picker was established in 2013 by Frank Kavanagh and Peter Sztal. They came from a background in graphic design and corporate banking and took the leap to set up their own coffee roastery. As you know from our ethos, we strongly believe in your job being a part of your life and something you love doing, kudos for taking that leap gents!
The name Cloud Picker came from a trip the guys took to Northern Thailand where they visited a coffee farm in the Doi Chang area, they went up through the clouds to see the coffee pickers – love it! Cloud Picker roasts their coffee on Sheriff Street and their café is in the Science Gallery on Pearse Street. We can strongly recommend popping in there for your morning fix. It’s a beautiful space and with Cloud Picker, you’re guaranteed a great cup of joe.
Like the other roasters we spoke to, the origin of their coffee and the conditions of the farms and how the coffee pickers are treated is very important to them. To ensure of this, Frank and Peter traveled to Brazil, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala to meet the farmers and build long term relationships. This helps them know that they’re supporting the right farms and also ensuring they get the best quality green coffee around.
Cloud Picker is an amazing company, created from hard work and we really appreciate the top quality coffee they’re producing. Grab a bag and savour it at home.
Red Rooster Coffee. One of the leaders of the Irish coffee revolution is Red Rooster Coffee, started by William and
Cindie Davenport, an American expat couple. Why did these two decide to start roasting coffee here
in Ireland? “It’s simple, I lost my job,” says William, “and we had to do something. Thank goodness I’ve got an adventurous wife. As we considered our options she reminded me, ‘You know, we’ve talked about roasting coffee for 20 years. Why not now?’ Yes, why not!, I thought.” Even though finances were tight and their friends said they were crazy, Ireland’s appetite for connoisseur coffee was just taking off. Now their friends say they were smart but the Red Rooster founders demure and say they were fortunate.
And as Cindie says, “Besides serendipity playing a part with good timing I think that if you make a good product people are going to find it. We are forever thankful that our customers found us and continue to support us.” The tag line underlying Red Rooster Coffee is, Made by a Family, Not a Factory. And it is, with both their children working in the company. And as far as the company being an ‘artisan coffee’ company, it is that too. William says, “We’re unique. All the big factory roasters and most of the small ones have all switched to computer roasting. This means the roasting is done according to a computer program.
“That may sound good in this techno-world but the reality is we’re dealing with a crop. The same crop can be grown in different soil, at different altitudes, some in shade, some in full sun. It is not a one size fits all business. And then you get the green coffee here to Ireland and it is affected by the weather. You can have a full weather cycle here in just a few hours and there is no computer program that is sophisticated enough to cope with that. The person roasting the coffee has to account for it all.
It is a six senses business. You touch it and see it and taste it and smell it and hear it (yes you hear it) – and most importantly, you love it. Thankfully Cindie has the innate gifts that make a great coffee roaster. It is why I call her The Lovely Talented Roast Mistress.”
Many other factors go into roasting the coffee. Asked what the most important is the couple said freshness and premium coffee beans. It was explained that roasted coffee loses flavour over time so Red Rooster Coffee is usually shipped out the same week it is roasted.
This is in contrast to a lot of factory roasted coffee that doesn’t even make it to the retail shelf until months after roasting. Add in their fanatical focus on freshness and it is easy to see why this family business continues to find a welcome space in kitchens across the country.
Silverskin Coffee is the first introduction we had to the wonderful world of micro-roasted coffee! Back when I lived in a tiny studio apartment on Pembroke Road, and Manly Stuff was a handful of Safety Razors and some shaving soaps in one of the cupboards. Brian was always in his Kiosk literally across the road so it wasn’t long before we were acquainted and I started down the road of being a coffee lover! And Croissant lover, nothing better than grabbing an Americano and Croissant to warm the bones in Winter.
Brian recently opened a state of the art roastery in Glasnevin, unfortunately the legendary Kiosk has been bought over and Brian is no longer there, it was bought by the group that owns Starbucks (shudder) so I fully intend to never set foot near it again. Great memories and chats there though!
As I said, Silverskin coffee now have a roastery in Glasnevin where they roast the wonderful beans they import and create their beautiful blends such as their House Coffee, Ulysses (a firm favourite!).
Brian sources only the highest quality beans, which are measured for moisture, density and size so that specific roasting profiles can be assigned to different coffees. He roasts all beans in small batches to guarantee freshness and maintain very high quality.
Silverskin have won numerous awards for their coffee and customer service and we can attest to both! Over the years, Brian has represented Ireland in the World Cupping Championships and is a trained barista. He’s forged close links with growers and suppliers over the years which means he has great control over the beans he uses.
Silverskin Coffee sell direct to customer through their website (link above) and do wholesale also. As you can see from their website, they’ve a huge selection of beans available and also do a Coffee Subscription Service where you get sent a different bean or blend every month – highly recommend this as you get to sample some seriously exclusive and delicious coffee!
The guys are Two Sports Coffee are in their words ‘just normal guys who love great coffee’. They love it so much in fact, they opened their own roastery and started roasting their own coffee in Dublin.
They have three great blends to enjoy, Skin the Goat, Bang Bang and Johnny Forty Coats. Dubliners by heart, they’ve named their coffees after famous Dublin characters which we think is a deadly touch! Their stories provide some good reading on the back of their bags of coffee.
The guys are also working on some secret origin coffees that will be available soon. Keep an eye on their blog for updates.
Sean and Stuart source their beans responsibly from around the coffee belt. They source them from South America, Australia and Africa and are constantly tasting and cupping new origins of coffee so they can strive to get that perfect cup of coffee.
We really loved Johnny Forty Coats, we haven’t tried the other two yet but we’re sure they’re just as good.
You can buy online and they also do wholesale.
When we started getting in contact with Irish Coffee Roasters to see if they’re be interested, Jamie from Upside Coffee was the first to get on to us. His enthusiasm for coffee was obvious and we were delighted to take up his offer of popping out to see his Roastery in the flesh.
We’d never been to one before and had very little idea of the process of getting coffee from it’s green form to a wonderful cup of joe! Jamie has massive knowledge on the coffee roasting process, learning his trade in Climpson & Sons in the UK among othere and his love for the industry was obvious.
At Upside, Jamie’s mission is simple: Import Delicious Coffee, roast it to perfection and share it with you – easy as that.
Upside Coffee gave us some superb beans to try and you can buy them online or in many stores all over Dublin. It was really great to see how it all works first hand and was great to see another small business doing so well in Ireland.
Upside Coffee source their Coffee from all over and we especially enjoyed their Classic Espresso which a blend of Brazil Vale Da Lua and Peru Union Y Fe.
We hope you enjoyed reading our article on Irish Coffee Roasters, there are over 40 now which is astounding and a real testament to the strength of the Irish coffee industry. We think it’s great to see small businesses thriving, after all, they’re what go us through the recession and made life more bearable.
If you’re going to buy a coffee out and about, think about supporting an independent Coffee Roaster or Coffee Shop instead of one of the faceless corporations that don’t pay tax. You’re putting someone’s child through college and putting a roof over their head.
Every company we featured all place a huge emphasis on ensuring their coffee is fairly traded and sourced and all had a genuine passion for their craft.
Buy a bag of coffee from one of them and start enjoying the coffee revolution!
If you’d also like to read about Irish Whiskey, you can do so here, maybe make an Irish Coffee :)