Coffee. It plays a different role in everyone’s lives. For some, that shot of espresso is merely a kick-start to the day, a medicine they cannot function without. For others, it’s part of their routine, grabbing a latte or cappuccino from their nearby coffee shop on a break from work or school. Although coffee is such a staple in our lives, many coffee lovers neglect to put the time and effort into deciding who is going to provide us with this all-important daily fix. It can be easy to decide to stick with the big chains — Starbucks, Costa, and Butler’s. These coffee giants now have a newcomer in the mix, with the new Pret a Manger store opening on Dawson Street. What does having another big corporation to compete with for our small independent coffee shops in town now mean?
“In the face of spiralling costs and labour shortages, many independent coffee shops who are currently already struggling to stay open will no doubt feel the pinch of Pret.”
Pret’s infiltration of Dawson Street is just the beginning, however. They plan to open 20 shops over the next decade across the country. In the face of spiralling costs and labour shortages, many independent coffee shops who are already struggling to stay open will no doubt feel the pinch of Pret. The entrance of the London-based franchise to Ireland doesn’t come without its own controversy. The new Pret store has created 25 new jobs in the city but in turn how many more will it obliterate as more chains start to shove local shops out of business?
Corporations have many intelligent ways of keeping their customers hooked, especially when it comes to caffeine. ‘Pret Perks’, Pret A Manger’s coffee loyalty scheme allows customers to get up to five barista-made coffees a day for a fixed monthly price. However, if you’re using this as a reason to tie yourself to another soulless corporation, the majority of the independent coffee shops located around campus have their own loyalty schemes. Coffee Angel and Honey Truffle allow you to collect stamps for every coffee you order to get a free 8th or 10th cup, through their own apps or the well-known ‘Squid’ app. Although we understand these loyalty programs aren’t exactly as significant as those with Pret, wouldn’t you rather justify not saving as much knowing your money is going into supporting local businesses and preventing further closure in the Irish hospitality sector?
With perks such as the kind offered by Pret, the frugal-minded student is definitely going to consider popping in. With such a variety of cafes around campus maybe it’s time to give Pret a pass and keep venturing onwards. But fear not, if you’re looking to get away from the chains and support local, look no further. We at @java_reviewz have compiled some independent Irish coffee shop recommendations for you:
“A couple of metres away from Pret, also on Dawson Street, you can find the most instagrammable coffee spot in Dublin, Beanhive. Every coffee comes with unique coffee art and is always served with a smile.”
A couple of metres away from Pret, also on Dawson Street, you can find the most instagrammable coffee spot in Dublin, Beanhive. Every coffee comes with unique coffee art and is always served with a smile. The colourful coffees at a reasonable price are always top-notch. They also serve delicious food and fresh pastries. If you’re looking for somewhere to make your regular, Beanhive stands out a mile. At the till you can find a file with customers’ loyalty stamp cards, so you never have to root through your bag to find it! The thought and love that goes into every aspect of Beanhive’s service sets it aside from anywhere else in the city.
If you’re on the Pearse Street side of campus, you can find Honey Truffle just across the street from Goldsmith Hall. At the same price as Pret, you can support this independent coffee shop who put the environment first. From the interior of the cafe being handcrafted from recycled materials to a zero waste policy on their food, Honey Truffle channels the sustainable ethos big coffee chains could never achieve. Not only this, but their coffees and hot chocolates are spectacular (with discounts applied for customers choosing to bring their own keep cups). If it’s food you’re looking for, Honey Truffle prepares a mouth-watering colourful selection of fresh and healthy food daily, none of those pre-packed Pret snacks.
After just recently opening a new location on Westland Row, Bear Market will surely become a new regular for Trinity students. We visited their George’s Street location a while back and had absolutely no complaints! The quality of the coffee here is impressive, and it’s clear the baristas really know their stuff. Bear Market, with its rustic and simplistic interior, are the true embodiment of less is more, limiting their menu to hot drinks and pastries. They do one thing, coffee, and they do it well!
Finally, what we are convinced of is the best-tasting coffee in Dublin, Coffeeangel. Despite it being one of the first places we tried in the early days of @java_reviewz, it is yet to be beaten on taste. It takes a lot of convincing some days for us to branch out and try somewhere new as Coffeeangel is always calling our name. Their closest location to college is on Leinster Street, but they have multiple other locations if you have a little longer between lectures. They have recently launched a new loyalty app, which we are so excited to try. Five points are given back for every euro spent and 100 points will give you €1 worth of store credit. We cannot recommend the coffee here enough. PSA: Coffeeangel also sells their coffee so that you can enjoy the taste of Coffeeangel from home.