When one thinks of Ireland, they might picture rolling green hills, warm pubs, and pints of Guinness. But what about coffee? The answer is a resounding “yes” – the Irish do drink coffee. In fact, coffee consumption has been on the rise in Ireland over the past few years, bringing with it a growing coffee culture that blends old traditions with new trends.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the history and customs of coffee drinking in Ireland, as well as the emergence of its coffee culture. From local hidden gems to international chains, we’ll explore the broad spectrum of coffee experiences available on the Emerald Isle.

irish coffee examples

Key Takeaways:

  • The Irish do drink coffee, and its popularity is on the rise.
  • Coffee culture in Ireland blends traditional customs with new trends.
  • From specialty coffee shops to local cafes, Ireland offers a variety of coffee experiences to explore.

The History of Coffee in Ireland

Coffee consumption in Ireland has a long and fascinating history that dates back to the 17th century. The first recorded mention of coffee in Ireland was in 1666 when a man named Edwards opened a coffee house in Cork. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that coffee shops became popular in Ireland, with the opening of Bewley’s Oriental Café in Dublin in 1840.

Over the years, coffee drinking in Ireland has become ingrained in many traditions, including the famous Irish breakfast. Coffee has also been incorporated into traditional Irish beverages, such as the Irish Coffee, which was first created in the 1940s at Foynes Airport in County Limerick.

The Irish Coffee quickly became a favorite and was introduced to the United States in the 1950s where it gained widespread popularity. Today, the Irish Coffee is enjoyed all around the world, particularly during the festive season.

The History of Coffee in Ireland in Figures

1666First recorded mention of coffee in Ireland at a coffee house in Cork
1840Opening of Bewley’s Oriental Café in Dublin
1940sCreation of the Irish Coffee at Foynes Airport in County Limerick
1950sIntroduction of the Irish Coffee to the United States

Despite the popularity of tea in Ireland, coffee consumption has continued to rise in recent years, with a growing appreciation for specialty coffee and the emergence of coffee culture in Ireland.

Irish Coffee Traditions and Customs

Irish coffee has a unique set of traditions and customs associated with it. It is not just a beverage, but a cultural experience that is enjoyed in many different ways.

One of the most popular Irish coffee recipes is made with hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and heavy cream. It is typically served in a glass mug with a stem, with the cream floated on top. The traditional way to prepare it involves pre-warming the glass to prevent it from cracking, then adding the whiskey and sugar before pouring in the coffee and topping it with the cream.

Another tradition associated with Irish coffee is the use of local ingredients. Many cafes and restaurants in Ireland pride themselves on using locally-sourced ingredients, including coffee beans and whiskey. This emphasis on quality and authenticity is part of what makes Irish coffee so special.

Do The Irish Drink Coffee

Popular Irish Coffee Variations

While the classic Irish coffee recipe remains a favorite, there are many variations that have gained popularity in recent years. Some cafes and restaurants have created unique flavors by adding spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg, while others have experimented with using different types of whiskey or even other spirits.

One popular variation is the Irish cream coffee, which incorporates Irish cream liqueur into the recipe. This adds a creamy, sweet flavor to the coffee and makes it a popular dessert beverage.

When To Enjoy Irish Coffee

Irish coffee is a versatile beverage that can be enjoyed in many different contexts. It is often served as a digestif after a meal, but it can also be enjoyed as a morning pick-me-up or as a cozy nightcap. Many Irish cafes and restaurants also offer Irish coffee as a specialty item on their menus.

No matter how you choose to enjoy it, one thing is clear: Irish coffee is an essential part of Irish culture and tradition. Its unique blend of flavors and cultural significance has made it a beloved beverage both in Ireland and around the world.

When To Enjoy Irish Coffee

The Rise of Coffee Culture in Ireland

Over the past few decades, Ireland has seen a significant growth in coffee culture. With the rise of specialty coffee shops and international coffee chains, coffee consumption has become an integral part of Irish daily life.

The emergence of coffee culture in Ireland can be attributed to various factors. One of the main reasons is the influence of international coffee chains such as Starbucks and Costa Coffee. These chains brought a new level of coffee quality and convenience to the Irish market, sparking a newfound interest in coffee among the local population.

Another factor is the increasing popularity of artisanal coffee brewing methods, such as pour-over and Aeropress. Specialty coffee shops have become a hub for coffee enthusiasts, who enjoy experimenting with different brewing techniques and coffee blends.

The Coffee Shop Scene in Ireland

The coffee shop scene in Ireland is diverse and growing. From cozy, independent cafes to trendy specialty coffee shops, there is something for everyone. Coffee shops have become a popular place to meet friends, work, and relax.

Many coffee shops in Ireland offer not only quality coffee but also a variety of food options and baked goods. This has created an inclusive and welcoming environment, appealing to a wider demographic beyond just coffee enthusiasts.

Specialty Coffee Trends

Specialty coffee has become a trend in Ireland, with many coffee shops offering a range of single-origin, fair trade, and organic coffee blends. Coffee enthusiasts are increasingly interested in the story behind the coffee they drink, including where it was grown and how it was roasted.

Latte art has also become a trend in Irish coffee culture, with baristas competing in national latte art competitions. This has added a level of creativity and skill to coffee making, further elevating the status of coffee in Irish culture.

Who Invented Irish Coffee

The Influence of Irish Coffee Traditions

Despite the rise of specialty coffee, traditional Irish coffee beverages such as the classic Irish coffee and the popular Bailey’s coffee remain an important part of Irish coffee culture. These beverages blend a unique mix of coffee, alcohol, and cream, creating a rich and indulgent drink.

The popularity of traditional Irish coffee beverages has also influenced the way coffee is consumed in Ireland. Many coffee shops offer their own twist on Irish coffee, incorporating local ingredients and unique flavors.

Hidden Gems of Ireland’s Coffee Culture

While coffee culture in Ireland is growing and becoming more mainstream, there are still some hidden gems that are worth exploring. If you’re a coffee lover, here are some unique spots to check out:

Name of Coffee ShopLocationSpecialty
The FumballyDublinSeasonal and sustainable coffee with homemade cakes and pastries
The Coffee CollectiveBelfastEco-friendly coffee with a focus on quality and fair trade sourcing
The Old BarracksAthloneSpecialty coffee roasted on-site with a historic and cozy atmosphere

These coffee shops showcase the local coffee scene in Ireland and the emphasis on quality and artisanal coffee brewing. They are also great places to learn more about Irish coffee traditions and customs in a unique and inviting atmosphere.

Conclusion: Coffee’s Place in Irish Culture

In conclusion, coffee has become an integral part of Irish culture, and its popularity continues to grow. From its historical roots to its modern-day emergence as a culinary experience, coffee in Ireland has come a long way.

Irish coffee traditions and customs have played a significant role in shaping the country’s coffee culture, with unique coffee recipes and preparation methods that have been passed down through generations. The rise of coffee culture in Ireland has also brought with it a vibrant coffee shop scene, specialty coffee trends, and an emphasis on quality and artisanal coffee brewing.

The Future of Coffee in Ireland

The Future of Coffee in Ireland

This trend is poised to continue, with the younger generation of coffee drinkers driving the demand for new and innovative coffee experiences. Irish coffee shops and cafes are becoming increasingly creative in their offerings, with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and sustainable coffee production practices.

As Irish coffee culture continues to evolve, one thing is clear: coffee has firmly established itself as a beloved and indispensable part of Irish daily life. Whether enjoyed as a morning brew, a mid-day pick-me-up, or a comforting evening drink, coffee’s place in Irish culture is here to stay.


Q: Do the Irish drink coffee?

A: Yes, coffee consumption is quite popular in Ireland. While traditionally known for its tea-drinking culture, the Irish have embraced coffee in recent years, and it has become a significant part of their daily lives.

Q: How does coffee drinking in Ireland compare to other countries?

A: Ireland’s coffee consumption may not be as high as countries like the United States or Italy, but it has experienced a significant rise in recent years. Coffee shops and cafes have become increasingly popular, and the country now has a thriving coffee culture.

Q: What are some traditional Irish beverages that incorporate coffee?

A: One well-known traditional Irish beverage that includes coffee is Irish coffee. It typically consists of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and topped with whipped cream. Other coffee-based drinks, such as Baileys Irish Coffee, are also enjoyed in Ireland.

Q: What are some popular Irish coffee recipes?

A: Some popular Irish coffee recipes include the classic Irish coffee mentioned earlier, as well as variations like Irish cream coffee, Irish iced coffee, and Irish coffee martini. These recipes often include a combination of coffee, Irish whiskey, cream, and other delicious ingredients.

Q: How has coffee culture evolved in Ireland?

A: Coffee culture in Ireland has experienced significant growth in recent years. The emergence of specialty coffee shops, the influence of international coffee chains, and the emphasis on quality and artisanal coffee brewing have all contributed to the evolution of coffee culture in Ireland.

Q: Are there any hidden gems in Ireland’s coffee culture?

A: Yes, Ireland has a vibrant coffee scene with many hidden gems. From cozy independent coffee shops tucked away in corners of cities and towns to cafes that focus on sustainable and ethically-sourced coffee, there are plenty of unique spots to explore and indulge in a great cup of coffee.

Q: What is the significance of coffee in Irish culture?

A: Coffee has become an integral part of Irish culture, representing social connection and relaxation. It has seamlessly integrated into daily life, offering a warm and welcoming beverage enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. The continued growth and popularity of coffee consumption in Ireland reflect its importance in Irish culture.