First thing’s first. It’s not on the third floor. The best coffee in Dublin takes over the day time shift of the Twisted Pepper; a live music venue on the north side of the Liffey. The third floor part of its moniker comes from the location of the flat where Irish barista champion Colin Harmon set up a training station before his first world competition. The origin lore of 3rd floor says that a friend of a friend popped in to see how his preparations were going. After sampling Colin’s coffee he was so impressed that he offered him a more public spot during daylight hours.
The space feels a little like a university bar. The floors are polished wood and the walls brandish colours more commonly seen in promotional flyers for up and coming bands. There’s a trestle table holding up the cash register, coffee lids and other take away paraphernalia. Along the wall there are leather booths and street press magazines to flick through.
For the moment food options are limited; we pick at pumpkin and sun dried tomato scones with butter and a dense and sticky chocolate muffin stuffed with chunks of Mars Bars. The muffins apparently has a following. Last time they appeared with Mars Bars they trended on twitter. We hear there are plans afoot for an expansion of the kitchen which will allow them to serve soups and salads.
But what you’ve really come here for is the caffeine. It’s serious. The machine is an Aurelia, by Nuova Simonelli (they took over from La Marzocco as the machines used in the World Barista Championships). The beans are a special blend by Has Bean (who also produce the beans for Fernandez and Wells in London). If filter is more your thing then they’re the only shop in Europe to house an uber boiler for manual brew filter coffees.
If you come with a friend (or quickly make one) you might want to try the espresso duo. For 3 euro it’s a shot of the house espresso that is contrasted with one of their guest blends.
Like wine tasting, by dodging back and forth and comparing the two you can discern some of the more subtle characteristics in the beans. The comparison we tasted really let the fruity acidity of the house espresso come to the fore.
If a flat white is more your then you’ll find cheerful latte art and milk that’s satiny, but not marshmallow dense.
There are also an interesting option in a pot of cascara- a tea made from the dried fruit of the coffee cherry that packs a sternly caffeinated punch.
If you’re after an ‘Irish coffee’; this is not the place to come. You can keep your clouds of cream and taint of booze to the side. Third Floor Espresso is a place to pay respect to good things that come from a bean. And here you’ll find plenty.
Third Floor Espresso