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All the coffee-ness in Dublin this week

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Sadly we won’t be heading to Dublin this week for World of Coffee and all the other events surrounding it. Sorry Dublin!

This is an absolutely huge event, the biggest in the coffee-world. It’s already in full swing and, a glance at social media is enough to show that so far, it looks amazing!

Useful info…

Here are a few links that we thought were helpful.

Established have created this brilliant guide for people visiting Ireland who may want to travel up north. It just about covers everything you need to know about coffee right now in Northern Ireland. And, if Mark or Bridgeen say it, then it’s good!!

3fe created a similar kind of guide for Dublin and the surrounding area to help people get the best info on where to go, stay, eat and party etc etc. See that here.

Want to watch the World Barista Championships on the livestream? Go here.

Also, if you keep an eye on the Bailies Coffee Twitter & Instagram accounts to see what a local roaster gets up to at an event like this.

See ya in August

We are on a bit of an extended summer break now until August and will dip in & out of social media from time to time so see ya then. Have a super July!

Ecuador Las Tolas

Bailies Coffee Belfast

The Coffee

In the heart of the Chocó Andin, one of the planet’s 7 biodiversity hotspots, the Las Tolas estate is the result of a project built with passion and a desire for excellence. Located in the Andean foothills at 1700m altitude, the estate has been managed by Arnaud Causse since 2004. Arnaud has planted coffee plants outside traditional growing zones, where the terroir enjoys a unique environment. Under the shade of wild service trees, banana trees and mango trees, the cherries ripen slowly in optimal conditions to enhance the aromatic potential after roasting.


Every year, at harvest time, the locals living near the plantation carefully select and collect the best cherries. The cherries are then placed in water baths to extract any unripe coffee beans. After this first stage, the parchments submerged in water for fermentation, after which they are dried naturally under the sun. This stage also allows the beans to preserve their aromatic quality.


Estate: Las Tolas
Varietal(s): Caturra, pacas
Processing: Washed
Altitude: 1700 masl
Owner: Arnaud Causse

You can buy this coffee from Bailies here

What we thought

Last week we had summer. It’s probably all gone now. One week in May! We didn’t even have time to eat lots of ice-cream…. vanilla, huge scoops of vanilla ice-cream. This coffee had sweet vanilla bouncing out of the bag like an ice-cream in the face. Sweet sweet lovely summer smell.

Today we took the coffee along to Middletown Coffee Co to add it into their Friday cupping table. Every Friday at 12.15 they set out a selection of coffees for a public cupping and, we’ve occasionally dropped in another coffee that we’ve been enjoying, just for fun.

Las Tolas really leapt out among some other very fine coffees today. The dark fruity flavours punched through and made a few of us say “ooooh” and “aahhhhhh” and “fruiiiiity.” That balance between fruity-ness and nuttiness is a treat. We had already made a few brews in the Chemex at home and were tasting lots of hazlenuts at first but a more balanced flavour as it cooled down.

This was a really delicious tasting coffee and, I think maybe the first coffee we have ever had from Ecuador. I think.

Go get some!

Tanzania Tarime AA

Bailies Coffee Belfast

The Coffee

Location: Set up in 2006, the Tarime CPU is located in the north of Tanzania in the Mara district. We source from cooperatives and producers with whom we will continue to work year on year. In this way we will guarantee the quality of coffee washing, traceability and long term relationships with Tanzania washing stations (known as Central Processing Units ‐ CPU). We bypass the Tanzania Coffee Exchange: the CPUs obtain a better price for their coffee in return for their efforts in terms of quality, traceability and a long term partnership.

Fully washed:  After harvesting, the ripe cherries are brought to the CPU by the farmers, before removing the pulp by the wet process. After pulping, the coffee is fermented overnight, then washed, cleaned and graded. After washing, the parchments are dried on African beds. Drying takes between 7 and 20 days depending on climatic conditions. The most commonly grown varietal is the traditional N39.

Country: Tanzania
Mill: Tarime CPU
Coffee Varieties: N39
Processing Type: Fully Washed

You can buy from Bailies Coffee here.

What we thought

Floral like a spring garden in bloom. There’s a picnic and a pot of jam, it’s dark. Blackcurrants. Sweet.

Sometimes when we cup a coffee or brew up something that’s new, we just say words loudly and make mmmm and ahhh noises. Sometimes I picture a scene or a place. That’s what flavours and smells do right? They transport us to somewhere else.

I love the dark fruit and blackcurrant flavours in this coffee. Sometimes the dark fruit notes can be a bit too overbearing in coffee but, if you nail the brew accurately here, you should enjoy a lovely sweet jammy flavour across your tongue. We thought; figs as the coffee began to cool down… sweet figs. I usually put some berries into my porridge for breakfast and then add some honey, this coffee is as close to that flavour combination as I’ve had. The acidity of the berries is noticeable but it’s caressed by the smooth porridge and the sweet honey… wait, I’m talking about porridge when I should be talking about coffee!

You get the idea though.

Go buy some before it sells out – here.



Dublin and our hiatus from writing

The Clarence

It’s been quite a while since I wrote anything here so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and say something about Dublin and our hiatus from writing.

Over the last two years here in Northern Ireland too many people – ourselves included – have decided they know enough to get away with it and have set about blogging, pontificating about coffee, starting businesses, roasting, organising coffee events… telling us how we should brew our coffee.

And a lot of it is not about speciality coffee

The post where I originally said that was published in October 2015. Read it all here.

Not much has changed. But that’s ok, I’ve been drinking great coffees, listening, learning [a bit] and occasionally getting the chance to bump into and/or meet amazing coffee people. The specialty coffee scene is much healthier in Northern Ireland now than at any other time which is awesome so, I guess you could say I have had my feet up on a bit of hiatus from writing about coffee.

The Instagram community is great. The Twitter community is great too. [For me] The jury is still out on writing with worth & value especially when it’s coming from outside of the industry. Check out these professionals doing an awesome job at First Draft Coffee. 

And Dublin…

Last weekend we headed to Dublin for a couple of days to celebrate our wedding anniversary and my wife’s birthday. We didn’t do a full-on coffee crawl but we did manage to pay a few visits to places we had earmarked.

Industry & Co is a beautiful space. We picked up a copy of Drift there. Lunch at Brother Hubbard was amazing. Properly amazing. It rained all weekend so quality food & drink stops were a great relief. Roasted Brown is still a beautiful location and space, my server made a V60 the way you make a Kalita Wave so…. mmm… that was ok. The retail Ethiopian we brought back from there is tasting superb though.

Kaph was ok. Here’s the thing. We are spoiled so bad with single origins, both filter and espresso. So, the espresso in Kaph was a 3fe blend created especially for them and, it didn’t rock my world. I should have had it with milk too. That’s entirely subjective though. The shop is great, the staff were friendly and there’s a real community vibe in that part of town.

We also picked up some coffee in Fallon & Byrne from The Barn and Cloud Picker. A stroll around Fallon & Byrne is always fun and it’s nice to see great coffee in there.

Our coffee & people highlight was at Coffee Angel in South Anne Street. A literal stones throw from the hotel we were staying in and just as it was last time, the welcome was friendly, warm and generally just lovely. Not every coffee shop in Dublin has loads of space, those who do are privileged. This Coffee Angel location is small and, when it’s busy space is definitely at a premium. But, it’s clean, organised and, the coffee is always exceptional. In the fast weekend buzz where people just want their coffee or their space to sit in, getting it right consistently is tough.

Anyway, we didn’t get to visit all the coffee places but maybe next time.

Here’s some pics.

Dublin and our hiatus from writing Brother Hubbard Brother Hubbard Dublin and our hiatus from writing Brother Hubbard Dublin and our hiatus from writing Roasted Brown Coffee Angel

Below is me in the wild, thinking about either introducing myself to Lee or stealing all of the coffee and running down Grafton Street screaming about socialism. Not really!

Coffee Angel


Nicaragua El Bosque

Nicaragua El Bosque

The Coffee

The municipality of San Fernando is located around 24 kilometres from the region’s capital ‘Ocotal’ and of the 10,000 residents, the vast majority are coffee farmers. This beautiful area is home to the stunning and aptly named ‘Finca El Bosque’ (which translates to ‘the forest’) and has been owned by Julio Peralta since 1991. The farm lies on the mountainous slopes in the Nuevo Segovia region on the border of Honduras, providing spectacular views of the surrounding forests and mountains of Jicaro and San Fernando. Ripe cherries are handpicked and sorted between December and March. There is a wet mill on the farm where the ripe red cherry is deposited and weighed from each picker. The cherries then enter floatation tanks where ripes and unripes are separated by density. The selected cherries are then pulped in a Penagos eco-pulper to remove the skin from each fruit, the water is recycled and reused in this process before entering oxidation ponds to remove bi-products. The sticky pulped beans then enter fermentation tanks for between 14 and 18 hours before being washed in channels. The washed beans are then taken to the drying patios at the nearby mill of San Ignacio where they are regularly turned by rake to ensure good, even drying. The overall drying process will take around 10 to 12 days.

Country: Nicaragua
Mill: Finca El Bosque
Owners: Julio Peralta
Harvest Months: December-February
Coffee Varieties: Catuai, Caturra
Processing Type: Dry Fermented then Washed

You can buy this from Bailies Coffee here

What we thought

We’ve enjoyed some amazing coffees from Nicaragua over the years and often they are noted as having complex flavours. The other day Ellis B asked something on twitter that got us thinking about this coffee and the tasting notes…

That Ellis lad is a messer. If you click the tweet you can see the conversation unfold with some good thoughts. As I considered this coffee and then pondered his question I concluded that the following taste description from Bailies would leave me undecided about this coffee.

In the cup taste hazelnuts and dates, with a cocoa powder after-taste. This Nicaraguan natural is full bodied with a pleasant medium acidity, and an aroma of pecans.

Nicaragua El Bosque

It’s the nutty thing. Sometimes it catches me by surprise and I love it but I probably wouldn’t choose a coffee that had nutty aroma and nutty tastes described so much. I like the fruity coffees, bright, juicy…

But, one of the great things about a subscription is that you get the variety and are forced – in a sense – into trying flavours that you may not gravitate toward.

This was one of those occasions when I enjoyed the coffee a lot after not being sure when I’d read the description. It tasted great cupped and brewed via Chemex and Aeropress. The dark date flavours were really clear in the cup and the nuttiness wasn’t overpowering. Really clean lines between smell, taste, mouthfeel and after-taste made this a superb coffee.

A good reminder not to only select coffee because of the taste descriptions but, to mix things up a bit.

That said, to be able to search for coffee on a website via flavour descriptions would be a useful tool too we think.

Thanks again Bailies.

ps: Check out this great post by Irish Elite Triathlete, Charles Maltha on their blog