Over the past number of years Dublin has become a city that is simply spoilt for choice when it comes to good coffee. This is not down to the fact that you are never more than one street corner away from a Starbucks in the city centre anymore. Moreover it is due to the drive and ambition of a number of skilled, risk takers who truly see coffee as a calling and not just a paycheque.
However, with an ever increasing number of speciality coffee outlets to chose from, in order for a business to stand out, they must offer their customers something new, a unique experience. Proper Order Coffee Company does just that.
With years of experience between them, across some of Dublin and London’s best coffee shops, co-owners Dave Regan and Niall Wynn clearly have a deep understanding in every aspect of what it takes to serve good coffee. The array of awards and accolades presented in the front window of the shop, including Irish barista champion and latte art trophies, serve as testament that the guys serving your coffee here have put in the graft and are at the very top of their game. When asked if there is ever any competitiveness between the two guys, Dave replies, “No, no, no it’s more help than anything else. So I think we both push each other to be better. Which is great and that is a good dynamic that we have.”
Just off of Smithfield square the shop itself is hard to spot at first as there is no real visible sign (yet), but it is in a great location and the guys’ appreciation of the area and the it’s people is evident.
“We love this area, we wanted it to be definitely Smithfield. A few months ago I was walking past this property. It used to be an old solicitors office. So I was walking past and they were painting it. It’s such a cool building and on the way back that evening they put the To Let sign up on the window. So I rang Niall, he came down and looked at it and we rang and got an appointment to see it the next day.” Dave continued on to say “So the next day he (Niall) came down and saw it, I was in work and he was like you need to go down and see it. So I went down and had a look and we put in an offer that day.”
Considering the whirlwind around getting the premises the room itself is very relaxed and minimum. Dave explains how “We wanted it to be bright and open and kind of airy.” which has most definitely been achieved as even staring outside as the rain runs steams across cold grey cobblestones, the atmosphere inside feels uplifting and positive. There is a general clamour around the room as groups of friends sit and chat and more customers slip in out of the rain.
Discussing the number of brands of coffee on display in the shop, Dave gives an insight into what makes Proper Order Coffee Company different to all the rest “We’re a multi-roaster café. A lot of people would lock themselves into one coffee roaster. So we use Square Mile, which is our house roaster, we’ll always have it on, we love Redbrick and my brother Gary is roasting it so even better. It’s nice to have that connection. So we’ll always have that in the hopper as something that’s appealing. It’s very chocolaty, nutty and it’s always going to be consistent. There will always be a consistent product so you can come in and get a flat white any day and it will be consistent. We want to showcase roasters from around Europe and America.
So each week we’ll have a speciality latte, which we change the flavour of depending on what we have in the hopper. This week it’s salted caramel and we’re making it ourselves. So we use cane sugar and some nice butter, make a salted caramel. Then everything’s tasted and we weight everything down so that the proportion of syrup and coffee is always perfect and tasting the way that it should. Last week we had a Turkish delight latte, which I was a bit worried about but it was actually our best seller. So we did Lebanese rosewater syrup added a little dusted chocolate on the top, very fresh and 70% cocoa over it. We did a SriLankan cinnamon, peach and vanilla. We haven’t thought about the one next week.”
Another intriguing offering on the menu is something called the ‘Slap & Tickle’. On arriving to in from the rain myself I was fortunate enough to arrive as Dave was trying out his latest concoction on his own brother and coffee roaster Gary, and as the two brother discussed the idea behind the combination it was interesting to notice how some conversations lulled and certain ears pricked up around the room as each of the customers in the shop were intrigued by the conversation going on. When asked to describe the Slap & Tickle, Dave said “Again this is more to push us as baristas. When it comes down to a competition and you need a signature drink, it has to enhance or complement the coffee. So today is a really delicious filter coffee from Kenya. Which is really fruity, juicy with loads of blackcurrants and a kind of maple syrup sweetness. So we wanted to complement that in a way that was kind of bright and add a palette cleanse. So we’re doing a blackcurrant tonic.”
Between accompanying tonics, homemade salted caramel syrups and Turkish delight lattes, it’s clear to see that there is far more being offered at Proper Order than just your run of the mill flatwhite. But what’s most appealing about this quaint little shop is that you can simply take what you want from it. Whether you’re just looking for a quick coffee on the way to the office, to try something new and original, to learn and expand your own knowledge or simply hide out for an hour in a relaxing and positive environment, you may find that a repurposed solicitors office of Smithfield Square has a lot to offer.
Proper Order Coffee Co
Having previously devoted every ounce of his spare time to music, Tony is more commonly found these days in a kitchen than on a stage. With experience in writing on festivals and shows around the country he has recently turned his pen to more culinary exposés. With a particular penchant for craft beer he can often be spotted travelling from one bar to another in search of the latest brew to hit the market.