Travel Again

I’m sitting at the worst terminal of Dublin airport, A. Surrounded by horrible, smelly, rich, poor, sick, Irish, not Irish, ugly, and orange people, I’m still tasting the fierce bitter cappuccino I had from one of the coffee shops here. Its 8.45 am and I’m waiting to board the 45 minute flight to Edinburgh and even though I have an emergency seat I can’t get out of my scrooge like mood.

I keep thinking of presents I have to get and loose ends I need to tie up before the 25th, with the subsequent stress making me resent everyone. The reason for the trip is to do some training and install a machine in a cafe. It is nice to be working again as thinsg have been somewhat quiet for me recently. On the 22nd and 23rd I’ll be helping out in a small cafe/deli called Seasons in my hometown working bar. While I’m glad of the work,  I’m stressing about not getting all the small things done in the time between. I’m worried I won’t have time to pop into the market in Meeting House Square in Dublin on Saturday morning. Its probably the only place in town I’ll go to stock up on coffee from probably the best roaster in Ireland,Michael Kelly of Ariosa. Unfortunately he only sells his beans at that market once a week so if you miss him and need supplies, you have to resort to whatever else is lying around or available in the local supermarket which as we all know is shitty to say the least. (please blame profanities on current mood)

I don’t like attacking other coffee suppliers or other methods of brewing as I tend to consider specialty coffee, or at least my understanding of it as an old together different product. But I don’t think I’m being remiss in describing much of whats available in supermarkets and labeled as specialty coffee as pretty rough, at least in Ireland that is.  I do make an effort to keep in touch with whats available though. I recently did a cupping with friends Jackie and Julie, looking at some of the offerings available both at home and abroad. On a side note,  we also did a palate exercise evaluating various types of citrus. Its fascinating to see the variance between the sweetness of a clementine and the sharpness of a lemon although we did take into account how the sweetness and acidity levels can vary wildly with fruit itself.

Anyway, ee decided to throw Starbucks Christmas blend into the flight. Just to say it again, I have very little against Starbucks and welcomed their arrival into Ireland a few years ago. I think they bring a new benchmark of quality into a market whose interpretation of quality coffee varies far too wildly for my liking.

Also on the table were four coffees from Ariosa, including his take on the Gethumbwini, as well as Novo’s lovely worka which Jackie had picked up in Grumpy Cafe on her recent trip to NY. The Worka won us all over from the break, and sadly the Starbucks was easy to spot and hard to forget for the wrong reasons. Its annoying when you’re doing a comparative cupping and one can tell the coffees from just looking at the grounds.

The reason I talk about this is that some Ireland really does have a way to go in delivering the best coffees the world has to offer. So far as I know, my only options are Ariosa in the market each Saturday or else ordering online from Steve of Hasbean. Speaking of which, I’ve been really enjoying his roast of Toca da Onca, a Brazilian coffee where the farm happens to be owned by Stephen Hurst of Mercanta. Its a really unusual cup for me that seems to vary quite a lot as it ages, although I suspect my lack of consistency in my chemex brewing may have a part to play.

Ok, flights being called. If there are spelling mistakes, and I’m sure they are, (I’ll never forget Doug Z chastising me over my poor spelling), I’ll go back and edit the post tonight. Hopefully Edinburgh will have some tasty coffee and shops to facilitate all my christmas needs. I’m particularly looking forward to lunch in Urban Angel, still the best breakfast I ever had.

All for now.

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4 thoughts on “Travel Again

  1. Hi Stephen,

    On an Irish coffee note…

    Not sure if you’ve come across http://www.ristrettocoffee.com, based in Banbridge, Co Down. They’re passionate for quality and making big changes in attitude towards coffee in the cafes they supply up here.

    I must check out Ariosa next time I’m down Dublin way.

    Pete McD

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