With the Irish summer in full swing, Cubist Coffee decided to make the most of the heat wave (which is now a distant but fond memory) by slapping on some sun screen, lacing up our waking shoes and checking out a Belfast Coffee Tour.
We hoped to taste some great coffee, take in the sights of the city and meet some of Belfast’s best baristas…the tour did not disappoint and delivered much more than expected!
We met our guide, Therese and the other people on the tour at 9am at Root and Branch Ormeau Road. Root and Branch is owned by coffee kings Simon and Ben and is renowned on Belfast’s coffee scene. Known first and foremost as a micro roastry which provides creative roasting profiles, the guys also now boast an impressive food menu.
Rachel, the manager of the Ormeau Baths store started our tour with a walk around of the roastry and what was the original brew bar. We were then served up their house blend, Saints and Scholars, on espresso paired with a homemade Amoretti biscuit. The fact that the beans were roasted less than 10 metres from the coffee machine did not go unnoticed. The freshness unmistakable. The fact that the Amoretti biscuit was Ben’s mother’srecipe made us sad. Sad that our own mother’s couldn’t bake us these tasty delights.
After this sufficient caffeine hit we began the walk to our next stop, The Pocket. On route we took in south Belfast’s finest sights, including Ormeau Embankment, Botanic Gardens and Queens University. Therese sprinkled the walk with historical facts about the city, which gave this coffee tour an interesting edge from the outset.
Occupying an old town house in Queen’s quarter, The Pocket couldn’t be placed in a more picturesque setting, looking out on to the green grass of the university. The Pocket came to life because it’s owner, who manages a letting agency upstairs, wanted great coffee on site. So he converted the downstairs office into a coffee shop. And what a coffee shop he managed to create.
The Pocket has an impressive food menu and a selection of single origin, freshly roasted specialty coffee from 3fe. Donuts here are also something special. It’s worth mentioning that The Pocket were making great donuts before donuts were cool. We here at Cubist Coffee are fans.
The Pocket served us up a hat-trick from the bar; 3fe’s Limoncillo on espresso, a batch brew filter and an iced Vietnamese coffee. Cubist Coffee has a real soft spot for The Pocket and could haveeasily stayed here longer however, Therese, aware that the group were developing caffeine jitters, moved us along to our next stop for some much-needed food.
Arriving in Kaffe O Botanic we were greeted by head chef Julie who served up a platter of food with some of the most impressive and tasty salads we’ve ever had. Head barista Liam brewed us all a perfect flat white and shared some of his wisdom to aid with home brewing.
Kaffe O is a Nordic inspired coffee shop which was born out of owner Orla’s love of Copenhagen. The former Danske Bank lawyer had love affair with coffee shops in Copenhagen when working there which prompted her to set up something similar to what she had left behind in Belfast. The coffee used in Kaffe O is a house blend which is roasted and imported directly from Denmark. It truly is something unique, providing Belfast with an authentic Danish coffee.
Our fourth stop was something particularly special. Heading to Oh Donuts on a coffee tour, we expected some great coffee and probably some great donuts. And that’s exactly what we got. We had Workshop Coffee’s batch brew filter and a hazelnut praline donut. Both did not disappoint.
However, we got much, much more. We relieved our youth and had some soft serve, with a twist. Using freshly brewed Getisi Workshop Coffee espresso, the guys mix this with soft serve ice-cream and dust with fine coffee grounds. We really can’t stress just how amazing this delicious creation is.
Arriving at the final destination on our coffee tour, Established Coffee, we couldn’t help but feel a sense of irony as some argue that this is where it all began for Belfast’s coffee scene.
Here we had 3fe’s Los mangos filtered using Cubist Coffee’s personal favourite, the Chemex. We sat outside in the sun listening to barista Jordan talk about his experiences and how coffee has changed for him over the years, rounding off what was a genuinely enjoyable day.
Reflecting on the day whilst writing this blog has reaffirmed some things for Cubist Coffee.
The passion that people feel for coffee is undeniable.
In its finest form, coffee is an art.
Belfast is on the map in terms of great cities for great coffee.
Thank you Belfast Coffee Tours for a fabulous day!