So, Ladonna McCartan and Mark Healy are sitting in Brother Hubbard on Capel Street. They've taken a rare day off from their busy cafe, The Pantry, in Portlaoise. Ladonna orders a coffee and, from the first sip, she has that Damascene conversion. The coffee, she writes later, was "the nicest on the planet, from the first velvety sip".That groundbreaking coffee was from 3FE and, after tasting it, Ladonna and Mark set their minds to improving the coffee in the The Pantry. They contacted Colin Harmon of 3FE, who helped them source the best machine, and the best grinder to make sure each coffee was ground just before serving. They learned how to work the milk to make the lattes and the flat whites, and they trained their team to become not just servers, but baristas. Portlaoise was the victor in all this, because now, as well as serving good sandwiches, tasty wraps, comforting pies, crisp salads and delicious cakes, the Pantry also serves a really good cup of coffee.The Pantry is not a place of beards and barnets. There's no avocado, no sourdough toast, nor poached eggs. Lovage has yet to make an appearance on the menu, nor the gamut of non-dairy milk products. This is no hipster joint, but a good country cafe with nice wipe-down patterned tablecloths. and window displays made by china tea sets. Colin Harmon, founder of 3fe, has just published a book called What I Know About Running Coffee Shops and Mr Harmon’s influence on our contemporary coffee culture has been immense. Thanks to his pioneering work over the last decade, The Pantry is energised by its new coffee offer, and everyone benefits.
Portlaoise’s The Pantry had a Eureka! moment.
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