The cafe is an oasis in a busy city


THREE Fools Coffee stands like an island oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of Cork city centre.

On a clear day you will see people enjoying the terrace while all the surrounding buildings are reflected in the glass of Three Fools.

It was opened in November 2015 by childhood friends Gary McKeating and Kevin Foley.

Reflections of Grand Parade at Three Fools Coffee

They lived a doorway from each other when they grew up in Carrigaline, and when they were in their twenties they both worked in the bar business.

The guys were familiar with Grand Parade, as Kevin worked at Electric, so for them opening their own venue in the iconic Cork Street seemed natural as they were already integrated into the local hotel community.

It was their shared experience in the bar business that inspired the spirit and brand of Three Fools, which has always been designed to be a relaxed place, a bit like a bar without the beer!

Even the design of the bar is tall and on the corner, similar to what you would see in a pub. They wanted it to be a place where you could hang out and chat with the barista about your day.

Gary always drank coffee, but never really inquired about it until he started hanging out with local Cork City stars like Filter, Bookshelf and Alchemy, who represented a new wave on the Cork City’s coffee scene, and their premium products were an eye opener. to the infinitely intriguing ingredient that is coffee.

He began researching the world of coffee and found the scale and complexity of the industry fascinating.

Their coffee is now a staple for coffee lovers across the city, and it was only natural for them to start roasting. Kevin took over as head roaster, with Sam Ryan also playing an important role.

Roaster Sam Ryan at Three Fools Coffee
Roaster Sam Ryan at Three Fools Coffee

It’s come full circle for the ‘Fools’, as they return to Carrigaline, with their new premises set to open before Christmas, when they bring their exquisite artisan coffee expertise to their hometown.

It is currently a construction site, but the finishing touches are in sight – the result will be a long vaulted ceiling in the shape of a church with a minimalist interior of white and birch, with 20 seats inside and 10 seats outside. ‘outside.

No doubt the guys will be the pride of their hometown with their brand of delicious coffee and banter!

I caught up with Gary for a little company insight.

Childhood friends Kevin Foley (left) and Gary McKeating, who opened Three Fools cafe seven years ago this month
Childhood friends Kevin Foley (left) and Gary McKeating, who opened Three Fools cafe seven years ago this month

Q: Where did the inspiration for the design and aesthetic of Three Fools Café come from?

We thought the glass capsule was a little cold when we first took it over, so we wanted to fill the space with warmth and make it more inviting.

Q: Can you tell when you fell in love with coffee?

Years ago, when I was backpacking through Western Europe, I was just outside Barcelona hiking in the foothills of Mount Tibidabo. I was at the end of this path and came to a clearing, there was a very secluded lake and there were tall trees all around, it was dead silence, and on the other side of the lake I saw a nice cup of coffee…

Q: What are the most important factors in serving quality coffee?

There are so many factors in serving great coffee. The quality of the water, the coffee beans, the correct water temperature, and the skill of the barista making it are all extremely important.

Q: What espresso machine do you use?

La Marzocco, Linea PB.

Q: How do you choose your espresso blend?

We always have two different roasts at the same time. This usually changes fortnightly. We choose our coffees by roasting and tasting samples and choosing those we believe are the best.

Q: What are your three best-selling drinks?

1. American

2. Matte White

3. Iced Coffee

Q: What is your barista team’s favorite drink?

1. Espresso

2. Matte White

3. Batch brew

Q: Have preservative cups made a full resurgence since Covid and do you stock any dairy alternatives?

Dungeon Cups haven’t quite made a full resurgence, but they’re slowly getting there.

Yes, dairy alternatives are very popular. Oat milk is almost as popular as regular milk. We also do not charge extra for oat milk.

Q: What is an ideal barista for you?

Someone who is happy to learn and open-minded about all there is to learn in the world of coffee.

Q: Do you have barista or latte art champions on your team?

Alex has twice finished second in the Irish Brewers Cup. The trophy he received accompanies him everywhere.

Q: What’s your ideal morning coffee playlist to get the blood flowing and bettors happy?

Fleetwood Mac – Dreams. If you see Kev working, ask him to show you the dance.

Q: What is your daily caffeine limit and do you have a time limit?

Three or four cups of coffee. No real limit, no.

Q: How would you describe the spirit of your coffee?

Like a bar without beer, good craic.

Q: A final word to your customers and the people of Cork.

Thank you for all of your support over the past seven years. Exciting things to come for the Fools.

We look forward to serving great coffee very soon at the Grand Parade and in our new Carrigaline boutique.


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