The weekend just gone by was Cork Coffee Weekend, and we marked the occasion in one of our favourite coffee shops, Alchemy, on Barrack Street. The Cork Coffee Weekend was a totally voluntary weekend of events, and was celebration of indie coffee shops in Cork.

At Alchemy, we were treated to a brewing workshop by Manager and Barista, Rhia, who showed us the ins and outs of brewing with a Chemex, and the AeroPress. It was great to take part of a local initiative like this, run by local people, prompting home-grown businesses, bringing people together, and focused around quality and ethically produced products. What I really love about our indie coffee shops in Cork are that they are all different, each reflecting their own personality, theme, and vibes. Filter is great for the music, Alchemy doubles as a book shop, and Langford Row is themed with vinyl records. They all keep a select number of offerings of the highest quality, and deliver the goods consistently.

In a way it got me thinking of the parallels between the indie Cork coffee shops and ACLAÍ, an indie strength and conditioning facility! Just like the indie coffee houses, we have a small team of baristas (in our case coaches) that are very well trained, and we love what we do. Our business is local and home-grown, and is deeply rooted in our interactions with our individual customers (members in our case), and giving a really high quality and consistent service. Unlike commercial gyms, we have a more quirky vibe with a mini library, art on the walls, table tennis and slackline, in addition to our gym gear. In the same way that indie coffee houses sell a very select range of beans and products, we specialise in being the best at personal training for health and sports performance. We don’t do classes, general gym access, or many of the offerings that you might find at a big commercial gym. We do however, have a book club, hang out at the Douglas Farmers Market on Saturday’s after training, and have parties at our facility from time to time! Just like the indie coffee shops, quality comes before quantity, and being the best at less things, as opposed to being mediocre at lots of things is our modus operandi.

Its funny how a quick cup of coffee on a Sunday afternoon can get you thinking! Anyway, if you have not yet ventured into some of Cork’s independent coffee shops, this is a great time to call in for a brew. A big thank you to all involved in the first Cork Coffee Weekend. Here’s to many more!

This article is by Ainle Ó Cairealláin MSc CSCS.

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