These Hands Coffee
Updated: Mar 5, 2020
Hiya! It's amazing isn't? I am ACTUALLY getting around to a second Cafe Corner post instead of doing one every 6 months. It's like I'm actually doing nice things for myself to manage my stress. We shall see how long this lasts. ANYWAYS...(scroll down for the scores if you want to ignore my blabbering. Don't worry, I get it).
Today I visited These Hands Coffee. Located diagonally from the main entrance to St. Stephen's Green, These Hands is a fabulously pink hole-in-the-wall cafe. I had been seeing a lot of this place on Instagram from an Irish blogger/influencer I follow; Leanne Woodfull. Side note: she is a huge advocate for cruelty-free beauty products, badass tattoos and women's rights. She's well worth a follow if you can get past all of the astrology on her Insta. With all the compliments from her, I just had to give this place a try.
The outside of this cafe is understated, but as soon as you walk in you're surrounded by millennial cotton candy pink, but in a tasteful way. Right away you'll see where to order your coffee. The long pink bar had a selection of treats laid out and the brownies looked particularly yummy. You might hear some Mac Miller coming through the stereo and check yourself out in the mirrors lining the cafe. There was a nook filled with booked and free water on tap and displayed. There is seating in the form of bar stools and a ledge to place a coffee on it, but nothing bigger than that. Overall, These Hands is small, but it gets the job done. I had no difficulties ordering my caramel latte with oat milk and absolutely loved the pink aesthetic of the cafe. When I ordered I was given two size options (I literally don't even know which one I got, I just went with the first one that the barista held up). He also asked me how hot I wanted my coffee. This was really interesting to me because I've never been asked before. I asked the barista for his recommendation and he said since I was planning on staying a while that I have my caramel latte on the hotter side. Speaking of the barista, he was a lovely guy. Super friendly and I feel like I could have asked him any questions I had. The whole vibe in here was just so friendly. They even had a little bed/crate place for dogs (or at least I think that's what it was). My coffee was made very quickly too and I could get right to work on some PhD stuff.
The interesting thing about These Hands Coffee is that it is attached to a community working space called The Well. If you want to sit down and get some work done with your coffee next to you, you walk through some pink double doors into The Well. Both These Hands and The Well are new in town. In fact, even just a year or so ago, this tiny cafe and massive pizza place/community workspace was vacant and collecting plywood and dust. It was shocking actually because the location is phenomenal with the park across the street and Grafton Street just steps away. I am really happy to see an empty, ugly, vacant lot be revitalised into a fabulously pink cafe and working space instead of another hotel. The Well has a completely different aesthetic from These Hands, but it is absolutely lovely inside. The staff were friendly, and they didn't make me feel pressured to hurry up and vacate my table in order to prepare for the big Rugby Match (sorry Ireland). The Well would be a great place for students to meet up to work on group projects in an atmosphere that is far more comfortable than a room in the UCD library. Now onto the coffee...
It looks like These Hands uses Imbibe coffee. My caramel latte was made with the house espresso from Imbibe. This is a new Dublin coffee roaster located in D8. Imbibe the company works to engage in a capitalist market in a conscious way. Something about Imbibe that brings me a lot of joy is that they donate 1% of their profits to Women's Aid Ireland, they hold coffee events where profits are donated to mental health causes, and it looks like they ethically source their beans. They also pay their staff at least the living wage, which is obviously fantastic. I think it is lovely to see companies like Imbibe have a role in the community in this way. It definitely makes me more conscious about where my coffee comes from and who I am going to buy it from too. The Imbibe website also has brew guides posted, so if you want to check those out they are waiting for you! I am loving this trend of coffee roasters posting brew guides on their websites.
TEXTURE - I had a hard time thinking of how to describe the texture of this coffee. My first impression was that it was decadent. I think this comes from its creamy texture and sweetness. My latte was floaty in a way, but it was also not super light either. It was definitely easy to drink, smooth, and didn't leave me feeling bloated. The foam wasn't completely blended into the coffee like at 3fe, but that didn't ruin the latte by any means. The texture was definitely way better than any latte you'd get at Starbucks, but not extraordinary. My score for texture is 4/5.
TASTE - This coffee tasted good! It had a sweetness coming through from the caramel, but that didn't overpower the coffee. The coffee taste was soft and not right in your face with its taste or aftertaste. The sweetness hits you first but the Imbibe House Espresso comes through. I think this particular coffee pairs really well with added caramel syrup. The latte did have a bit of an aftertaste which I'm not into. However, I would return to These Hands again for the taste of the coffee. My score for taste is 4/5.
FOAM - There definitely enough foam in this latte. I think it had the perfect amount actually. The latte didn't have a big head of foam, but there was just enough at the top for me to swirl into the coffee. It was noticeably bubbly but that's not the end of the world. The bubbles were tiny. The rest of the oat milk was blended in well. My score for foam is 4/5.
PRICE - This latte cost €4.00. I think when a latte hits the €4 mark, it suddenly feels a little expensive. I totally understand that Oat Milk coffees are typically more expensive. However, I still think it's on the expensive side; especially since non-dairy milks are becoming a second norm in the coffee world. They are increasingly popular all over the place and I feel like prices should reflect that. My score for price is 2/5.
Atmosphere - The atmosphere in These Hands and The Well was great. I love the music that was in the background of both spots, and the friendly vibes are lovely. The co-working space is inherently welcoming and it really is a great spot to work on group projects or for hiding away in a corner all alone to work on a thesis. My score for the atmosphere is 5/5. Both spots didn't have to try hard for you to feel comfortable and welcome.
Things I didn't like - Even though the barista offered me a hotter coffee, I actually found that my coffee quickly got cold. Like really fast! (UPDATE: I am back at these hands right now to work on a group project and I ordered my coffee hot again and it came out really hot this time! So it's not a lost cause by any means). I also didn't see anything Gluten Free or FODMAP friendly from what I could tell by looking at the treats. This is always disappointing because who doesn't want to enjoy a protein ball or brownie or scone with their coffee? Those brownies looked amazing. Things I liked - I love the vibe of both spaces. I loved the friendly atmosphere and the barista was so nice! I also love the pink aesthetic of These Hands. It was simply lovely. Also, the layout was great for a small space. The way the counter is set up parallel to the wall is an efficient use of space and if it were busier I don't think that things would get hectic. It's very obvious where the line would start and where you would go to order. I appreciate this because I've seen some pretty chaotic layouts in Dublin coffee shops.
My total score for These Hands Coffee is 19/25, or 76%.
Overall, I really liked These Hands Coffee. The coffee was good. If I were a tourist doing some shopping or running to a meeting at RCSI I would be very satisfied with picking up a caramel latte at These Hands. It's in a perfect location for walking through Stephen's Green on a nice day. It's also a nice location for people watching. On my way to the bus, I even saw a little girl ask a busker at the top of Grafton Street to play the Baby Shark song. It was adorable.
Would I recommend These Hands to a friend? Yes, yes I would. I would also take in great pleasure in walking around with their pink takeaway cups even though using them is the less sustainable option...(I wouldn't. Don't worry).
Catch me next time when I go to Clement & Pekoe. I noticed some funny little reviews on their Google page recently and I would love to pop in there and see what it's all about.