After two years of its opening, Established Coffee has really, well, established itself as the coffee shop in Belfast.
And I wonder whether the third wave coffee shop was actually named as a giveaway for us poor, unimaginative coffee writers…?
Established Coffee is situated in an unassuming office building lookalike in, what I understand, is nowadays Belfast’s trendy restaurant and pub hub, the Cathedral Quarter. I have to admit, I didn’t witness this culinary boom this time, as the city and its police force were anticipating troubles because of the 1916 Easter Rising celebrations in Dublin. Ah, Belfast.
I have some reservations what it comes to this city I once fell in love with: its edgy urbanity and University town feel, its vibrant feel on a sunny Saturday’s eve charmed me completely. Then, on my next visit, the reality hit: the Orange Parades, the bonfires, the public drinking and deserted city center. Let me just say that it was not charming, not charming at all. I was left stupefied and moved on to my next destination as soon as possible.
Now I am back to Belfast, and I still cannot make my mind about it.
But one thing I know for certain is that you do get a perfect cup of coffee here. And you get the whole works: the shelves full of coffee accessories, the counter full of mouth-watering delicatessen, knowledgeable people and talented barista. Wall-sized windows giving light to a cement floor and big communal wooden tables in the middle. And although the whole city center was closed during my few hour stop in Belfast, the Established Coffee had an atmosphere as any other coffee shop anywhere in the world: calm, airy, relaxed, at time buzzing. People were chatting and people were working on their laptops – even a group of police popped in for a quick caffeine fix, which made them look more friendly to my eyes than when I had seen them besides the hectic looking police vans outside.
All in all, it was a sunny Sunday morning in Belfast, the coffee was good and my little rhubarb tartlet divine: Established Coffee made me think again how I feel about Belfast.
I hope this is the future for Belfast: fashionably urban and chic with a warm welcome and a tasty cup of coffee. Time will tell.