The [re]Birth of Coffee in Northern Ireland

The [re]Birth of Coffee in Northern Ireland

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Northern Ireland is known worldwide as a small corner of Ireland with a history of political and religious divide. Coffee is not in our top ten attractions! Not yet!

I remember reading a travel writer/blogger not so long ago who suggested that you should “never order the coffee” in Ireland…

It’s not uncommon to hear Irish people joke about how we are slow to catch up with the rest of the world culturally… the third wave coffee movement is possibly good evidence of this fact but, when we look around at what has happened and what is happening in coffee right now on the island, we get super excited. Perhaps its almost time for that writer to eat those words?

The south of Ireland and Dublin especially, now boast some of the best coffee you could hope for. 3fe [Third Floor Espresso] owned by three time Irish Barista Champion Colin Harmon is now world-renowned and, has become a bench-mark for many others who wish to develop coffee here. Their dedication and passion is injected into everything they do and their recently opened roastery is no exception. Head roaster Pete ‘Petesey’ Williams will represent Ireland at this years World Barista Championships in Italy. The standard in Ireland is now world-class but, not just at 3fe. Around the capital you can experience the very best in many locations…

Brother Hubbard, Coffee Angel and Vice Coffee are just a few of the locations in Dublin with big reputations.

But, what about Northern Ireland where we are situated? We are a little slower to catch on to what is happening around the world than everyone else, including the south of Ireland but, we are at an exciting stage of a journey.

My own coffee love began as a child even though it was the eighties and the coffee was instant. By the time I was a young adult I was only aware of Clements Coffee in Belfast and the newly opened Ground store in Coleraine as worthwhile coffee destinations. Ground have went on to become a bit of an animal with stores in several busy towns around Northern Ireland and two in Belfast City Centre. They have to be credited with bringing a better standard of coffee to a massive audience… what they have achieved is really quite staggering.

But, recently the opening of Established Coffee in Belfast, He-brews in Ballymena [my home town] and in the past week Lost & Found in Coleraine, has changed the game yet again. The enthusiasm and passion of the folks behind each of these new specialty coffee locations has shook things up. We now have coffee shops who are on the par with those mentioned in Dublin and, who deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the best in UK & Europe! We really do believe that!

A growing community of coffee lovers has popped up around social media, sharing brewing methods, their favourite roasters, single origins and arranging coffee meet-ups.

In response to this and as a result of the excitement we launched a website/blog at the start of 2014. Coffee Northern Ireland is here to tell the ongoing story of how the coffee culture has been developing around Northern Ireland but, also we hope to connect with coffee lovers across the world and just talk about coffee. We want to share stories about great coffee… shout loud about the passion of those who work hard to share great coffee with others. it really is that simple. [Oh, we will probably mention food too… and music].

Interviews, coffee reviews [send us free coffee if you like], guest posts, brew guides…. that’s the goal!

Coffee was already here, other passionate and dedicated people started a journey that has lead us to what we can only describe as a re-birth of coffee in Northern Ireland. It’s the third wave but we’ve been slow to catch it!

about the author:

unnamed (1)[Ally Simpson is co-creator of Coffee NI and also blogs at]

Coffee Northern Ireland is the result of years of drinking coffee…

From the Instant eighties to the last couple of years when it has seemed like everyone is now pressing on an Aeropress or pouring ‘off the boil’ fresh filtered water into a beautiful Chemex.

We love coffee, we want to write about coffee and we are from Northern Ireland.

Our words [some of them] will be about coffee in Northern Ireland… which, is exciting right now… but, we will also say much about coffee in general… and, maybe food!

From home brewing techniques to roasters and back to home brewing again, we hope to write about everything in the world of coffee that excites us and peaks our interest. This will mean drinking more coffee from now on!

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