Belfast GP puts north coast's best coffee shops on the map
A Belfast GP is launching a new guide mapping the best of independent coffee shops around the north coast.
Gareth Patterson, who last year launched a similar pocket-sized resource for Belfast, has now produced the Causeway Coast Coffee Map.
Among the venues featuring in the guide will be Middletown Coffee Co in Ballymena, Usaminor in Ballycastle and Cowbog in Londonderry.
The 29-year-old, who is based at Holywood Arches Health Centre, said he got the idea of coffee mapping when he discovered a similar guide in Europe.
He said: "I was on holiday in Barcelona two years ago when I first encountered the idea of coffee mapping.
"On stumbling upon a quaint speciality coffee shop in the Gothic Quarter, I discovered the then recently published Speciality Coffee Map of Barcelona. I felt like I'd hit the jackpot."
Gareth said that he has been thrilled by the reception given to the Belfast Coffee Map.
He said: "There is here, undoubtedly an appetite amongst locals to support and get behind the coffee scene in Belfast which exploded in a very short space of time, with coffee shops like Ground Espresso Bar and Established opening their doors only four years ago.
"Since then, the coffee culture in Belfast and Northern Ireland as a whole has flourished with locals increasingly recognising our country somewhere which takes its coffee seriously."
As the sector continues to grow, international coffee chain Tim Hortons will open its first shop in Northern Ireland today at Fountain Street in Belfast city centre. A number of other locations are planned to open later this year, some of which will be drive-throughs.
Another chain - Bob and Berts - has also opened a the city centre store in an investment worth £200,000, which will create up to 35 jobs.
Gareth said: "I am passionate about Belfast and the coffee scene which has been thriving.
"I embarked on creating the city's very own coffee map last year, a local-curated, designed and illustrated guide promoting the best of local.
"I have been blown away by the reception of Belfast Coffee Map following its launch and the success it has enjoyed.
"There is an appetite amongst locals to support and get behind independent businesses."
He continued: "Belfast and Northern Ireland are truly special places.
"Despite the change and growth we have never lost what truly make us us.
"That, for me, is why Northern Ireland is one of the best."