St Patty’s Day? Are you mad?
I got that a lot when I told my mates what day I’d be flying out of Dublin for good. I actually had no choice in the matter; there was a calling that could not be ignored. The UK barista championship was to be held the day after St. Patrick’s Day and I decided this would make a great start for my “Barista-at-Large” world experience.
After almost two and a half years in the Fair City it was time to say my goodbyes. Despite now having under my belt what became the best “coffee years” of my working life, I could no longer ignore the calling of my Aussie way of life: sun, beach, regular outdoor activities and, not to mention, the fantastic cafe culture as well.
I will miss Dublin though, and the historic Bewleys cafe where I worked most of the time. If you don’t know about the cafe it’s a remarkable place, being the oldest and possibly largest in Ireland. It’s equipped with an impressive 4 floors, 170 staff, 26 Baristas, 5 La Mazzoccos, 1 della corte, a 5kg Probat roaster churning out 250 kilos of espresso coffee, 100 kilos of filter coffee and god knows how many kilos for the retail counter per week! Working alongside my good friend and coffee peer, Stephen Morrissey, we were always challenged to keep the staff well trained and motivated. I’d have to say we developed an overall exciting coffee culture within the building. Our attempts at achieving this culture are reflected in the Irish barista championship where 4 of our baristas qualified for the finals. Taking it a step further were Andrew, Bella and Rachael, placing 1st, 3rd and 4th, respectively.
I will miss my favourite cafes such as Fallon and Byrne for their great coffee and fantastic wine bar, Donnybrooke Fair Cafe, and the wind-blown Coffee Angel on the keys, Micheal Kelly of Ariosa. It was equally difficult leaving behind the Irish Barista Guild whose board I had the honour of chairing and launching at the Irish barista championships. Unfortunately I won’t be around to see the first Barista Jam but I wish Julie Murray, independant trainer, and Buzz Fendel good luck with the cafe. To Karl Purdy of Coffee Angel and Emily Gough of Fallon and Byrne, all the best for the future.
I remember sitting in the airport thinking how strange it felt that I might never see this great city again…
Next up London, and I promise to upload some photos of Dublin soon-ish.