Dingle, Ireland’s greatest claim to fame has long been Fungie the Dolphin. Irish children grow up with stories of Fungie and take summer boat trips out along the bay in hopes of spotting him.
Today, the small town on Ireland’s westernmost peninsula is carving out a name for itself as a food destination. In Dingle, farm-to-table is a way of life rather than a pricey trend, and annual food festivals have helped to showcase the growing culinary scene by drawing large and hungry crowds.
What Dingle was missing, Justin Burgess realized last year, was coffee.
25-year-old Burgess, who has lived in Dingle since the age of 10, fell for good coffee after running the machine at Murphy’s, the town’s most famous ice cream shop. He went to Dublin to train with 3FE, and spent six years perfecting his pull in between scooping cones.
With a population of just 1,960 people, Dingle is small-town Ireland at its best. Numbers swell in the summer, with dolphin seekers and day-trippers passing through Dingle’s two main streets. Murphy’s was committed to good coffee, but would always put ice cream first.
Dingle, and Burgess, were ready for a standalone coffee bar.
Or at least a coffee cart.
Burgess’s original plan was to create a seasonal pop-up along the pedestrian-heavy harbor road. However, challenges with licensing the coffee cart crashed plans for a temporary test run of the specialty coffee venture.
With the cart option out, Burgess worked with business partner (and brother) Luke Burgess to find a cozy space in the town center. With sister Georgia Burgess manning the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia T3, Bean in Dingle was up and running within weeks.
For coffee, Burgess tapped Brock Lewin of Badger & Dodo, and his enthusiasm convinced Lewin to create the roasting house’s first ever customized blend. The coffee bar has had to find a kind of balance, Burgess explains, between the familiar and the cutting-edge in order to cater to locals with a high-quality product while tapping into the large market of visitors craving more than a typical cup.
The result is a menu that is straightforward and un-intimidating, but perfectly executed. The chalkboard menu lists choices between “black” or “milky.” The milk is sourced from a local County Kerry dairy, and those opting for black also have the choice of a V60.
With sunny yellow touches, a communal table, and the occasional framed Marvin Gaye album, the shop is bright and approachable.
Bean in Dingle is a coffee shop ideal—family-run, great attention to detail, unwavering commitment to good coffee, all while symbiotically supporting other local businesses.
“It’s a bit mad,” Burgess explains, “but it works.”