3rd Floor Espresso’s owner, Colin Harmon, has won the Irish Barista Championship twice, and both times placed 4th in the World Barista Championship (2009 and 2010) – which is no easy feat! 3FE uses Hasbean coffee, a world class roaster based in the UK, as well as guest roasters. I haven’t had occasion to visit Ireland, but I recently came across pictures of 3FE’s newest location that give those of us who haven’t been a hint of what we’re missing.
The minimalist space was designed by Cian Corcoran and Ahmad Fakhry of Designgoat with the goal of removing distractions and placing the focus squarely on the coffee. It’s always interesting to see how cafe architecture and design articulates the underlying assumptions about how coffee should be consumed and imagined as a social practice. I like some of the simple touches Designgoat has used to highlight 3FE’s approach – repurposing utilitarian materials, building in literal transparency, and creating a large space that opens up the possibility for casual interaction between guests and baristas. The latter feature seems especially well suited for 3FE’s tasting menus, which pair two distinctly different coffees brewed as espresso, cappuccino, and filter for groups of two or more. This is something I wish more cafes would do!
Our goal was to create an interior that reflected the work that 3FE do in a cost effective and user-considerate manner. They serve coffee of the utmost quality and pay close attention to the tiniest of details. For us to re-create something so unique we set about designing every aspect of the space. Lights, furniture & work spaces were all custom designed with both barista and customer in mind. We wanted to keep everything as simple as possible so that, when in the space, one can fully enjoy the experience of the coffee.
We decided to use scaffolding and plywood to build the furniture but steered away from the austere nature of these materials, creating an elegant and minimal aesthetic. This was achieved through unconventional use of the scaffolding joints and using subtle angles with, what is normally, a crudely assembled material.
The brew bar was designed as a space where customers can interact with the barista and learn about the coffee being brewed. It was important to separate this area from the rest of the space through lighting and furniture. The high stools were designed just for this. A big part of brewing coffee is the transparency and honesty of the process. To refelect this we left the brew bar counter un-panelled, allowing the customer to see that there is nothing else going on besides what is in front of them. It also encourages open conversation between the barista and customer.
It’s an interesting space and I look forward to visiting some time! If you’ve ever had a chance to visit, please let me know how it was in the comments below :)
All photos courtesy of Designgoat.
Map, Directions and Hours:
32/34 Lower Grand Canal, Dublin 2 [Shown Above]
Mon – Fri: 8:00 – 17:00
Sat – Sun: 11:00 – 17:00
54 Middle Abbey St, Twisted Pepper Building, Dublin 1
Mon – Sat: 10:00 – 19:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 18:00
View FRSHGRND – Global Cafe Guide in a larger map