Thursday 14 December 2017

Trailblazing espresso shop lives up to billing

Aoife Carrigy

I like my coffee like my men. To misquote Madonna: I don't care if they're black or white, if they are short or they're tall.

What I do care about is that they have character and complexity, are naturally sweet rather than in any way bitter and have a good stable head on them.

Coffee is in vogue here in Ireland. It wasn't always that way, especially not when Colin Harmon first set up 3FE in 2009, having come 4th in the World Barista Championships (WBC) in Atlanta earlier that year.

On hearing the news yesterday of Buzzfeed's proclamation of 3FE as one of the '25 Coffee Shops Around The World You Have To See Before You Die', I hightailed it to Lower Grand Canal Street to see was their coffee all that.

The best way to taste a coffee is without milk, when you get all its nuances in a pure and undiluted form. But most Irish drinkers prefer it with milk.

A good barista will give customers what they want, but will also encourage them to develop their palates by trying something new. That's exactly why 3FE came up with their signature 'coffee set': a pair of espresso coffees, one with milk and one without.

I tried the Kebel Kercha Guji, a coffee bean from Ethiopia.

The crema could have been thicker and more consistent but the complex character more than made up for it.

The second version was served with just enough milk to sweeten the acidic edges of the coffee but still let the fruity character come through.

So is 3FE coffee as good as claimed? I'd say it certainly deserves a place in my little black book.

Irish Independent

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