Us Belfast folk have become spoilt with quality, independently owned coffee shops in the past few years. It seems every few months a new coffee shop pops up. Many of us have become coffee afionados and believe our coffee preference says alot about who we are (well, duh). I find it hard to remember a time when ‘going for a coffee’ wasn’t a ‘thing’.
Now, I’m not a die-hard coffee expert or coffee addict, but I love the coffee drinking ritual. My coffee preference changes depending on my mood. I love a flat white on a weekend but often opt for an americano. At home I mostly drink decaff coffee (due to the nhs advice to restrict your caffeine intake whilst pregnant) but when I head out to a good coffee shop then I’m definitely having a caffeine fix! There’s nothing I love more than arranging a coffee date with a friend at the latest coffee shop, or going to a tried and tested favourite venue for a coffee and a sweet treat.
Here are my six favourite coffee shops in Belfast!
Established is probably at the top of many Belfast coffee lovers list. It’s located in Belfast’s trendy Cathedral Quarter and is a hipster’s paradise. It’s all bare cement floors and walls, with plenty of plug sockets to hook up your macbook. Established opened a few years ago and was one of the first trailblazers on Belfast’s coffee scene. Just as much as I like their coffee, I also rate their food highly. From their luxury porridge and french toast offerings to the gorgeous locally made ‘Man Made’ cakes they sell. Until recently it was award winning aeropress champion Jonathan Hickinson who was at the coffee making helm here but he went on to open his own store in Ballymena called Middletown. I visited Middletown just a few weeks ago and was mighty impressed – so much so I featured it in my latest vlog!
ROOT & BRANCH
Root & Branch opened up their tiny little coffee shop just a few months ago on Belfast’s Ormeau Road. I first tasted their coffee back in September last year at the NI Coffee Festival. Their branding really stood out to me and when I heard they’d opened up shop I was excited to try it out. On a glorious Bank Holiday Monday a few weeks ago I popped in for a solitary morning coffee. I ended up chatting at length with co-owners Ben and Simon – two really lovely guys. The three of us sat by the outdoor tables lapping up the sunshine – it felt more like I was enjoying my flat white in Paris than in Belfast!
Ground Espresso is a favourite meeting destination for my blogger hubs Ian and I. We usually meet in their Waterstone’s Store in Belfast city centre. Ground have been around for many years and own a number of stores around Northern Ireland, and only recently opened their first stand-alone store in Belfast a few months ago. Their laid-back coffee shops are popular with people of all ages – from young frappe drinking teens to coffee lovers like Ian. Back in April 2015 Ian and I were lucky enough to be invited to find out more about Ground’s dedication to fair trade coffee and their experience working with coffee growers in Houndorous. We left our one-on-one coffee demonstration with a new-found respect for filter coffee!
The National is one of Belfast’s most sophisticated coffee venues. They are based in a beautiful old Belfast city centre building, admired for its high ceilings and spacious interior. I love the atmosphere of The National so much that I featured it in my hp video and blog post last year. As well as great coffee, I’d highly recommend ordering something off their breakfast menu. The National is also a bar and club and is a popular hang-out spot for Belfast city folk in the evenings and weekends.
For an instagram worthy coffee, head to General Merchants in Belfast’s ever popular Ballyhackamore. I visited for the first time a few months back and fell in love with their vibrant blue coffee cups. I had a mid-week coffee date with a friend and her new baby and the place was packed out with people. It’s no surprise they recently opened up a second store in Belfast’s Ormeau Road earlier this year. The coffee was so good and I couldn’t resist getting a peanut butter ball to take home with me!
I’ll admit it was the raspberry ruffle buns that lured me into Kaffe-o for the very first time last year. They make their own buns and food in store and all of it is incredibly tempting. But the good news is their Nordic coffee is first class too! Kaffe-o opened on Belfast Ormeau Road a few years ago and then opened their second store on Belfast’s Botanic Avenue earlier this year. I love their Scandi-style interior and their emphasis on good music thanks to an in-store record player! Devastatingly, however, they have stopped making their raspberry ruffle treats 🙁