Ireland’s association with a simple "cuppa" tea is becoming seriously outdated. The Irish capital is actually one of the best cities in the world for specialty coffee. Thanks in particular to 3fe Coffee roasters, which were founded in Dublin, the city has seen an explosion in incredible coffee shops.
In addition to coffee shops with state-of-the-art machines and Instagrammable latte art, there are also landmark cafés and local neighborhood favorites where you can settle in for a cup or two.
Here is where to find the best coffee shops in Dublin, plus what makes them so special.
Located near Trinity College, Kaph may very well be Dublin’s most talked about coffee shop. The independent café on Drury Street serves a flawless flat white and offers roast from some of the best global coffee makers. There are two (tiny) floors, so cozy into a nook, order a gluten-free brownie, and sip away. There are also lots of dairy-free options if you prefer your coffee with plant-based milk.
When it comes to coffee in Dublin, it is important to give credit where credit is due. The 3fe coffee shop on Lower Grand Canal Street was one of the first modern cafés to start the caffeine takeover in Ireland. 3fe (Third Floor Espresso) was born in 2008 when Dubliner Colin Harmon left his job in finance and went on to win recognition at the World Barista Championships. Today, 3fe supplies coffee to more than 50 shops in Ireland, but its flagship store is still the best place to try the signature brew.
Featuring roasters like Coffee Collective and Square Mile, Proper Order Coffee Co is a great third wave coffee shop just off Smithfield Square. Stop in on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday when the shop has incredible cinnamon rolls and cruffins (a mix between a croissant and a muffin) to pair with their fruity specialty brews. They also offer training if you dream of becoming a barista yourself.
Located inside WIGWAM—a multi-use space that hosts a ping-pong club, DJ nights, and other events—Vice is one of the coolest coffee bars in Dublin. Expect loud music, cocktails by night, and strong coffee at any time. You have your pick of roasts, and staff will turn any one of them into a perfect cup. Want to branch out from the usual espresso offerings? Go for the Vietnamese iced latte.
Reference Coffee is the go-to spot for coffee when you need a caffeine fix in Portobello. Associated with cool brunch spot Meet Me in the Morning (which is just next door), Reference features roasts from both Irish and European producers. Add a pastry and grab a seat outside when the weather is sunny.
Head out to the Dublin neighborhood of Rathmines for coffee that is roasted right on site. If you have the time, sit down for a V60 pour-over style coffee with the fruity Buena Vista from Columbia, or treat yourself to an affogato—espresso with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Run by three sisters who perfected their barista skills abroad (including Melbourne, the coffee culture capital), Hatch serves 3fe coffee in the Glasthule Village suburb of Dublin. The motto here is “No Fuss. Just Great Coffee,” and that is exactly what is served in this eco-conscious coffee shop. It is easy to reach by DART—just hop off at the stop for Sandycove and Glasthule.
This little coffee shop on Aungier Street is popular with students at the nearby Dublin Institute of Technology. The café serves specialty coffee, including London-roasted Caravan Coffee, without the attitude of other serious coffee shops. The friendly staff can guide you to their favorite brews if you feel the need for some caffeine inspiration.
The latest 3fe offshoot to hit Dublin, Gertrude is a bright café that features coffee alongside contemporary Irish cooking and great wine. The cheery yellow espresso machine is always at the ready, but keep in mind that filter coffee comes with free refills. The eatery is a great option when you want more than a pastry to go with your specialty coffee—be sure to try the chicken and waffles with an espresso on the side.