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Special brews: Northern Ireland's best cafes

Local baristas hailed in guide to best coffee spots in Ireland

Established Coffee, Hill Street
Established Coffee, Hill Street
Guilt Trip Coffee + Donuts, Orangefield Lane
Curated Kitchen
Haptik in Newtownards

By Mairead Holland

Eleven independent cafes in Northern Ireland have proved they have what it takes for the perfect cup of coffee.

The cafes, six of them in Belfast, are included in a guide to the 100 best coffee spots in Ireland.

The Independent Coffee Guide Ireland says only "top-notch independents" have made it into the book, with entry criteria including coffee expertise, serve styles and the use of high quality roasted beans.

And the list has been given the thumbs-up by Conor Hogan, aka the Belfast Food Blogger, who has recently published his own guide to the best flat white in Belfast.

The Belfast establishments to make the grade are The Bullitt in Church Lane; Curated Kitchen & Coffee in Donegall Street; Established Coffee, Hill Street; Franklin and James Espresso Bar in Bedford Street, and Guilt Trip Coffee + Donuts, Orangefield Lane.

Further afield, others which earn top spot are Church Lane Coffee in Warrenpoint; Haptik, Newtownards; Hollys Coffee Co, Ballynahinch; Linen & Latte, Glengormley; Middletown Coffee Co, Ballymena, and The Copper Lab Coffee in Banbridge.

Blogger Conor, who has 16,000 followers across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, is a self-confessed coffee lover. While he agrees with most of the cafes chosen by the guide, he has a few recommendations of his own.

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He said that "Established' should be on the list, 100%".

"They use a range of beans and they rotate the menu according to which bean is in season," he said.

"There are seasonal changes which means some beans are ready in the winter and others in the spring. Depending on the bean, you can get a fruity, nutty or a wooden flavour, or even an oil-based texture."

He also has praise for Bullitt.

"I did a coffee workshop there. They have a really top-end coffee station and their baristas all have excellent knowledge," he said.

As for Curated Kitchen, the food blogger admits he has only ever eaten there, describing the food as "beautiful" while he believes Guilt Trip "does the best doughnuts in Belfast - and I had a beautiful Americano there too".

While he has yet to visit Franklin and James, Conor would add another name to the list and that's Kaffe O, which operates from a hatch opposite the City Hall as well as having outlets on the Ormeau Road and Botanic Avenue.

"It's my favourite coffee in the whole of Belfast," he said. "It's a Scandinavian lady who owns it.

"And Ground, a local company, is very good too."

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