Wednesday 22 April 2009

The Bald Barista

I've gone past it so many times. Sometimes in a car. Sometimes on a bike. Occasionally on a bus. Always in a bit of a hurry to get somewhere else. So last week I was determined to pay a visit to the Bald Barista - but it was closed. They, along with too many other cafes in Dublin, close at 8:00pm, so I opted for The Joy of Coffee instead as I hadn't been there in a while.

But this week I got the kids out of the bath a little earlier than they would have liked in order to get them in bed and get out! (I didn't leave them alone of course. My wife was home.) I headed on my bike for the couple of miles down to Aungier Street just in time to get in before they closed.

At the counter a sign proudly recognizes the cafe as serving 'Dublin's best espresso' as voted for by The Irish Times in 2008. Clearly this was where I should start. The barista, who wasn't bald, but for all I know could have been the man himself in disguise, pulled a nice looking shot of espresso and told me I couldn't have it until I named the band that was currently playing on the CD. I couldn't, and would never have guessed The Doors at all. Fortunately he was gracious enough to give me my little cup anyway, although this may have been because I had already paid for it - which at €1.50 for either a single OR double shot is certainly the best value espresso in Dublin!

I was just saying to my wife this afternoon that I'd like to attend some sort of coffee appreciation class, so I thought I'd have a preliminary go at picking out flavours in the cup. I stood at the counter and had a couple of slurps before chancing my arm and saying, 'There's quite a floral taste there, I think.' To which I fully expected the barista to say something like, 'No, you idiot. There's a caramel and honey base with a hint of cherry and some chocolaty notes with grapefruit riding through.' But he didn't. He just looked at me for a moment and asked, 'Is this your first time here?', then followed that up with a couple of extra stamps on my new loyalty card. The Gracious Barista.

As I watched (with interest and envy) as he poured me a great rossetta on my latte I quipped that it was a shame they closed at 8:00pm, but he didn't think so. I guess he was tired. Fair enough. Fortunately the cafe is located in Avalon House - a backpackers hostel. So even though the espresso stopped flowing I could sit in the cafe for another hour reading my book.

I'll definitely be back. Not just for the espresso, but because the international flavour of people watching is fun too.


Snot Head said...

That sounds fun. We won't be going to Ireland for our honeymoon...sadly...but I am trying not to think of it. If and when...I do mean WHEN...we get to go, though, I had looked at the Avalon House as a place for us to say. Being the coffee/caffeine fiend that I am, I am thrilled to know I would at least find a good brew here. Maybe we'd even spot you on your bike. ;o)

Nicoley said...

I've passed that place lots of times and like you always mean to check it out sometime. I've always thought like it looks like one of those quaint indie joints :)

Phiasmir said...

Haha, I like the "Best value in dublin" Part. Buy one get one free!

RJ said...

Great to read your post, my man. Thank you.

David said...

Hey Cosmo, nice post. I am glad you are branching out. I have cut down quite a bit on my own coffee habit. For a variety of reasons. But I do miss the coffee joints. They do make for great "people watching".

I had to make a comment on your statement about the "floral taste there" and the barista berating you on the "caramel and honey base". Did you know that the flavor of honey comes from the flowers or herbs that the bees pollinate during their journey? I know there is much more to it than that but I had to put in my two bits. Thanks for being there.

Cosmo said...

RJ, thanks for stopping by.

Dave, nice one. My first lesson in the art of coffee tasting!

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