Meal Ticket: Full Circle Roasters, Dublin 1

Brian Birdy’s specialty cofffee bar in Jacobs Inn Hostel is the ideal place for a great coffee

 

Heading into a hostel for a coffee doesn’t feel like the most natural thing to do in your hometown, but a good cup of coffee is always worth seeking out. When I heard Full Circle Roasters had set up a coffee bar in Jacobs Inn Hostel just off Talbot Street, I was curious about how a specialty coffee bar would fit into a busy hostel.

Jacobs Inn, which is on one of the lanes that connects Busáras to Talbot Street, is a modern hostel positioning itself in the trendy youth hostel market. The decor is a mix of dark woods, loud oranges and lime greens.

As I sip on a perfect flat white and chat to Brian Birdy about his Full Circle Roasters, a continuous flow of young travellers mill through the lobby, while others sit on their suitcases conserving energy before heading off to their next destination.

Birdy and his business partner David Smyth, who also owns specialty coffee shop Ebb & Flow in Clontarf, took the opportunity to give Full Circle Roasters a home by setting up a coffee bar in the lobby of the hostel.

They are right around the corner from Laine, My Love, Fergus Brown’s new coffee spot, which means Talbot Street has gone from no decent coffee to two decent coffee merchants in a matter of months.

One of Birdy’s baristas, Natalia, prepares my flat white using single origin beans from Altos de Erapuca in Honduras, roasted by Birdy himself just a week earlier.

Birdy also tells me about Full Circle Roasters’ interviewing and training process, which sounds nearly as complex as the levels of Google employee interviews.

Once Birdy and Smyth have had a chat with prospective baristas, they send them training videos of techniques to learn before training them on a one-to-one basis.

“We look for people with curiosity about coffee, and a willingness to learn,” says Birdy.

The business partner and enthusiastic baristas aside, Full Circle Roasters feels like Birdy’s baby. A few years back, inspired by the new wave of coffee in Dublin being spearheaded by people such as Colin Harmon at 3FE, he built a micro-roastery in his parents’ garage back home in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.

He now spends time commuting between roasting beans in the roastery to brewing coffee in Dublin. He is the kind of craftsman that you can’t help but learn something from. Even throughout the course of a simple conversation, Birdy will have taught you something you didn’t know about coffee, and he does so in a generous and unpretentious way.

“Everything we know, other people know,” he says about Full Circle Roasters’ approach to being an open source for coffee knowledge. “We just want totransfer that knowledge to our customers. We want to bridge the gap between geekery and accessible cups of coffee.”

Currently, Full Circle Roasters at Jacobs Inn is just focusing on coffee and cakes (check out its coffee and cake deal for €5) but it also plans to do sandwiches in the coming weeks. Its cakes are from the fantastic Camerino bakery on Capel Street and its teas from Wall & Keogh on South Richmond Street, so there is no doubt the sandwiches will reflect the same care and attention to detail in terms of ingredients and sourcing. Birdy also has plans to run “cupping” classes, otherwise known as coffee-tasting classes, in the coming weeks.

The hostel guests may not realise that they have such a great barista at their disposal, and the surrounding office workers and commuters may also not know what’s within their reach either.

The coffee bar is almost directly in front of you as you walk in the door and although there’s space to sit down to enjoy your coffee, it feels better suited to a grab-and-go situation. This is the ideal place to pick up a great coffee on your way to work or to take with you on your next bus journey from Busáras.

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