I like being surprised when I walk into a new coffee place. I still remember vividly the sense of uncertainty I had the first time I walked into Third Floor Espresso and awkwardly approached the counter. It didn’t look like a cafe. It wasn’t where I expected it to be, the ‘Third Floor’ moniker still unexplained. The coffee certainly wasn’t what I had expected to be. And, in all fairness, Colin wasn’t the most imposing or legendary looking fellow behind the counter. It was all of this uncertainty combined with the great experience that kept me coming back for more.
Fresh back from my trip to the Has Bean roastery in Stafford, still buzzing after a weekend of coffee, I was wandering around Templebar in need of some refreshment. Having previously passed by Roasted Brown without realising where it was (even when I had been looking for the place), I decided that a second attempt was necessary.
For me, the Filmbase building was a bit imposing, all glass fronted, industrial metal everywhere, volunteers from the film festival clustered just inside the door, chatting and doing some sort of unidentified work. Fearful of interrupting anyone I made my way to the reception desk and asked where the shop was. Just up the stairs apparently. I ascended the cold metal steps, feeling the same sense of uncertainty from my first days in 3fe.
Finally in the shop space, it is wonderfully contradictory in design. Floor to ceiling windows dominate one side of the shop, overlooking the picturesque streets of Templebar. Lighting equipment and various filmy stuff lie scattered in the corners and the tables arranged economically in the floor space have a wonderful communal feel about them. The floor is bare concrete and complements the bare metal supports, giving a raw unfinished look to a building focused on creativity. Roasted Brown inhabits the space that is available to it with confidence.
Approaching the bar, I was pleased to see filter offerings on the menu, and after a bunch of espresso already that morning, my palette was in the mood for something lighter. I requested a filter brew, a brief look of uncertainty passed between us. Give me a second, not sure I have anything left for filter, he starts to rummage under the counter for a bag of beans. Sorry we seem to be out, but if you really want I can make you up an aeropress of the espresso blend. I inquired as to what was in it, my ears perked up at hearing Finca Argentina from El Salvador, an unnamed Bolivian and a secret Sumatran. A fun combination, I order the filter and take a seat.
My filter arrived a few minutes later, my time spent spying on the efficient aeropressing going on at the bar. First sip, honeydew melon. Sweet, slightly sticky, clean acidity, bright. As it cooled, a red liquorice emerged from the initial brightness and the cup finished with a deliciously smooth dark chocolate. Hands down probably one of the best aeropresses I have had I quite awhile, and interestingly enough, the last great one that springs to mind was a blend as well, Has Bean’s Jabberwocky Mk.1.
I should mention that this was a stealth trip, not that my vague notoriety would have mattered anyway, but it was great to see such natural and honest service behind the bar. Second time in a a few days (way back in mid February) I had coffee in a completely unpretentious and natural shop. It was a great week for coffee for me.
If you are floating around Dublin looking for somewhere to caffinate, this is somewhere you should really check out.