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20th Dec 2016

Great Coffee, And A Symbol Of Everything Our City Is Doing Right At The Moment


Last week I woke up with no time for breakfast, and ended up out the door for an early morning meeting in the city centre.

Around 9.30am, after the stress subsided and the meeting had wound down, I began to crave three very specific things: a good Americano, a killer scone and a seat in the sun for a little break. And as luck would have it, I found all these things in one place on a little bench outside Coffee Angel on South Anne Street.

This was my first time ‘sitting in’ at Coffee Angel, having only ever grabbed coffees to go from their Pembroke Street Lower café (with the hazards on my car outside – sorry cyclists).

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So there I was on South Anne Street, basking in the sun as I put butter and jam on a scone that was perfectly light, fresh and flu?y. The co?ee with it was as good as any in town, and I know I’m not the only person who thinks this – I’ve heard Colin from 3FE (arguably Dublin’s best coffee) raving about Co?ee Angel many a time.

The real indicator of it being a great spot, however, had to be the constant yet fast-moving queue that sent another happy head out the door every couple of seconds.

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Content as ever as I finished my coffee in the sun, I struck up a conversation with the man beside me – in that friendly way Irish people do on a sunny day.

We both acknowledged how fantastic the weather was – standard, really – then kicked off the conversation from there about the food industry, kitchens and the resurgence of the street we sat looking at. South Anne is a strange street dotted with empty retail units, burrito bars and one of the most iconic pubs in the city.

The guy seemed to know the scene pretty well, and I presumed he was a restaurant supplier or consultant.

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(Side note: It was only when a friend of mine walked by and we did an awkward three-way introduction, that I realised who I had been speaking to. In that moment I discovered that this guy was Karl Purdy – owner of all three Co?ee Angel stores – and he in turn discovered that I write for Lovin Dublin, which he was also familiar with.

In the smallest of cities, it took a passerby to introduce two people who had already been chatting for 20 minutes. Love that. But I digress.)

What we mostly agreed on was the incredibly vibrant co?ee scene in Dublin and how it’s constantly evolving – culminating next year, when the world barista championships will be hosted here, with an estimated 15,000 visitors expected.

Five years ago there wouldn’t have been a scene for those visitors to explore, whereas next year when they arrive here they’ll have their pick of Dublin’s finest cafés and restaurants. There are thousands of people responsible for the brilliant city Dublin is becoming, and by pure chance sitting eating my scone in the sun I met another by the name of Karl Purdy.

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As I walked back towards Grafton Street I passed Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, and then Murphy’s Ice Cream. These are the kinds of businesses, and the more importantly the people, that make me love writing about food in Dublin. It takes vision to see past a “shitty little halfway” on South Anne Street, and turn it into a high end co?ee shop.

The entrepreneurs are the ones who should be applauded; they created a new Dublin using their own money, sweat and tears regardless of other obstacles.

Mind you, don’t go getting any ideas – I had already decided to write an overwhelmingly positive review of Coffee Angel following the first bite of my scone. It’s a great addition to Dublin’s café culture.