“What is a horse doing in that coffee shop?” one Twitter user asked last weekend, referencing the rise of the horsebox turned coffee box - an initiative that has escalated since the sun began peeking out this season.
Cleaned out horse boxes, newly equipped vans, and transformed trailers: If it can fit a coffee machine, it can mean big business.
Now that we’re free to enjoy an outdoor coffee anywhere in the county, we rounded up the best tiny coffee spots to visit this weekend.
Olan Crowley started his coffee journey at the start of the year, investing in an old horsebox in early January. He spent every spare moment working on it for the next three months, with some help from friends and family.
“Thankfully, it's been a great start. The locals really got behind it and you'd see the same faces every day which is great. It's got to a stage now when you see people coming and you know exactly what they’re going to order,” Olan says.
Bean & Berry’s main offering, apart from serving up cups of locally-produced Red Strand coffee, is its refreshing acaí smoothie bowls, which were inspired by the Ballinadee native's previous travels.
It also sells a delicious rocky road, made from a secret recipe created by Olan's mother, and treats from Petra’s Kitchen, which is located nearby.
“The acaí smoothie bowls came from having them abroad in places like Thailand, Bali, and the west coast of America. I thought I'm living right next to Garrettstown, one of the busiest beaches around, and there is nothing like that there,” Olan says.
“We’re also really trying to promote local produce, with most of our suppliers in our parish and the surrounding area. It’s exciting now to see what will happen as lockdown eases. Last night, for example, we opened just for sunset. We’re trying to mix things up to keep it interesting and exciting for people who call.”
It’s all about the coffee over at Guji in Cork City’s Marina Market, with four different single-origin roasts available, including a decaf option.
Run by Dubliner Alan Andrews and The Old Barracks Coffee Roasters from Birdhill in Co Tipperary, the renovated shipping container has been hopping since opening up last year, when the Marina Market was first brought to life.
Guji sells a range of delicious cakes and snacks, with vegan and gluten-free options available, as well as ice-cold coffees for those looking for a summer treat.
With a fitting name, Red Strand Coffee has been steadily growing in popularity around the rebel county since its inception ten years ago.
Shane Kelliher’s love affair with coffee started nearly two decades ago in Melbourne. Long before the tiny shop trend, he set up the Red Strand coffee van after moving home in 2011 and has been spinning around West Cork’s farmers' markets since.
Now run out of its own roastery in Clonakilty, Red Strand is sold in stores and used in coffee shops all around Cork, while Shane still serves perfectly strong cups, made using creamy Gloun Cross milk, from the back of his red van.
Steaming Mugs is one of the newest horsebox coffee carts to pop up around the area. Opening just over two weeks ago, the initiative is run by two friends living locally in Cork.
Located 500 meters from the Halfway roundabout, towards Innishannon, Steaming Mugs is the perfect roadside stop for those still commuting, or anyone heading on a day out to West Cork or the city.
“During lockdown, I came up with the idea of transforming a horse trailer into a coffee truck and the business idea started from there. It didn't take much convincing from my business partner Abbey to come on board,” co-founder Emma Jordan says.
“It was originally my nan’s property, Shiela Jordan’s Flower Shop, and it was somewhere I always aspired to start a business of some sort and bring back some life to the site.”
Because of its location, Steaming Mugs was kept busy even before the 5km was lifted this week, but the founders are looking forward to welcoming some new faces now that Corkonians are free to travel within county borders.
Our recommendation is the hot chocolate, made with Ó’ Conaill’s chocolate.
This Glanmire-based vintage truck is situated at the foot of Rocky Road and has been serving up hot coffees and other treats to locals in an idyllic setting all year.
Now that restrictions have eased, it's gearing up to welcome those from further afar with delicious hot chocolates and cakes, which are perfect for after a riverside walk. There's even a doggie bowl onsite for thirsty pups.
Truly Scrumptious is what it says on the tin, an amazingly indulgent coffee and food spot. It's located on the Cobh promenade and serves up homemade cakes and flavoured iced coffees as well as the usual suspects.
The family business is run by Michael and Tania Burke, who have over 25 years of experience in catering. They opened their own catering business a decade ago, basing their kitchen in their country home in East Cork.
After their cart at Cobh Farmer's Market proved popular, they decided to go full-time, now offering visitorsmoreish treats by the sea seven days a week.
Midleton's latest offering also comes in a redesigned trailer, which was recently voted as Cork's best coffee spot by Redfm listeners.
Coffee Trails opened last month in the car park of Bailick Road walkway and is serving the renowned West Cork Coffee to its customers.
A truly family-run business, the cart was set up by cousins Tiernán Condon and Daniel O'Regan, with Tiernán's mother Marion manning the bar on weekdays and his girlfriend Rachel taking over on weekends along with Daniel's sister Saoirse.
The widely popular Maher’s Coffee has also gotten in on the horsebox action, setting up their first wheelie hatch in Blackrock last month.
You can find Mahers, who are known for their extensive range of beans, in the Cork Boat Club from 9:30am on Saturdays and Sundays.
This new spot, located at the entrance to Garryduff woods in Rochestown, has had an exciting start since owners Emma Butler and Trevor Dickens first thought of setting up a business in the area, inspired by the amount of people taking to the woods for walks.
Ozzy's, named after the pair's friendly Cavachon dog, has a generous selection of coffees and snacks available, with one of the main attractions enticing visitors being the chance to meet Ozzy himself.