HomeCoffeeMaking a Specialty-Espresso Map in Northern Eire

Making a Specialty-Espresso Map in Northern Eire


Mitchell and Bethany McComb share their journey of making a specialty-coffee map.


Characteristic photograph by Berna Deniz by way of Pexels

We stay in a technology-driven world, one in all digital maps and databases that enable us to journey and discover data shortly and simply. We are able to sort the phrase “espresso“ into our Maps app to search out the closest espresso store in seconds. However for individuals who are on the lookout for a extra distinctive and private expertise, nothing beats the enjoyment of discovering specialty-coffee outlets by holding an precise map in your fingers. 

Designing a print specialty-coffee map to seize the essence of those locations is not any straightforward feat, so we spoke to those that have performed simply that: the creators behind NI Espresso Maps. I had a dialog with Mitchell and Bethany McComb, who’ve spent the final couple of years touring throughout Northern Eire to create a map of specialty-coffee outlets. They shared their journey—from sourcing native tales to illustrating the ultimate product—and gave us a glimpse into what it takes to show this ardour venture into actuality.

A wood grain table top with the dark green NI Coffee Map. The map is folded closed, with illustrated map lines in black on the green background, and a white flower above a white box outline with the word coffee in bold, an NI written above it inside the box line, and Map written below inside the box line.
The third quantity of the NI Espresso Map, seen right here, is quickly to be launched, with extra to comply with. Picture courtesy of Mitchell and Bethany McComb.

Exploring Specialty Espresso By Print

I fell in love with specialty espresso in 2016, after I was residing in Dublin, Eire.  I discovered inside the espresso neighborhood a stage of curiosity and creativity that was each inspiring and humbling. On my travels round Northern Eire, I seen a espresso map in print in a quaint seaside city referred to as Portrush; it was the Causeway Coast specialty-coffee map by NI Espresso Maps. 

My curiosity was piqued and my admiration doubled simply by the truth that this was print media. It made me marvel why we don’t have extra of those in existence. In any case, they provide a singular expertise to find specialty-coffee outlets by way of tangible media.

Two coffee maps. On the left is one for Dublin City. On its cover is an illustrated hand on a bright pink background, pointing to a spot on a blue map surface. On the right is the Causeway Coast map, which is blue and has black and white illustrations of people with tiny heads and exaggerated bodies drinking coffee out of mugs.
The creator’s personal specialty-coffee maps. On the fitting is the primary quantity of Causeway Coast by NI Espresso Maps, earlier than Mitchell and Bethany took over. Picture by Vasileia Fanarioti.

That’s precisely what Mitchell and Bethany did with NI Espresso Maps, which they purchased in late 2021. “Since then, we’ve got been touring throughout the nation, assembly espresso store homeowners and exploring so many new places which have been opening up, and sharing our suggestions on social media,” Bethany stated.

Mitchell, a tall redheaded man, wears a backpack and walks down an Irish street holding a coffee to-go cup.
To design a specialty-coffee map means being on the street quite a bit and exploring specialty-coffee outlets, as Mitchell is right here. Picture courtesy of Mitchell and Bethany McComb.

From Thought to Actuality

The primary homeowners of NI Espresso Maps had managed to print a number of maps, together with the Causeway Coast and Belfast maps. Mitchell and Bethany needed to proceed this with their very own model. “We knew we needed to do one other bodily, fold-out map and are so excited to lastly be only some quick weeks away from launching,“ they stated.

The method of making a specialty-coffee map is time consuming and difficult. It requires numerous analysis into the native specialty-coffee scene, together with thorough investigation into every store and its homeowners to make sure accuracy and reliability, in addition to detailed illustrative work and in depth map structure. 

Plus, print media doesn’t enable for flexibility or real-time updates. “It’s been difficult with print media, as new locations are opening so frequently, however we needed to set a agency closing date, or we’d by no means have the ability to put out a brand new map,“ Mitchell says. 

As for the illustration half, they bought assist from a good friend. “Neither of us have a design background. Fortunately one in all our expensive mates from church, Emma, is a really expert designer, so we bought her on board to convey our imaginative and prescient to life—and we’re thrilled with the work she has performed,“ they stated.

The inside of an older NI coffee map of the Causeway Coast. It features illustrations of people, plants, animals, and vehicles along with water features and points representing the featured coffee shops.
Quantity one of many Causeway Coast map by NI Espresso Maps’ earlier homeowners. Picture by Vasileia Fanarioti.

Assembly the Individuals Behind Specialty-Espresso Retailers 

The specialty-coffee trade has opened numerous doorways for Bethany and Mitchell, from getting invited to openings and particular occasions to connecting with employees and homeowners. Behind the scenes, nonetheless, is numerous laborious work that goes into making the map—from coordinating between espresso outlets to maintaining with new openings and closures. I requested them what their favourite a part of placing collectively the espresso map was.

“Getting to satisfy so many new individuals and construct these connections over espresso has undoubtedly been the spotlight thus far,“ they replied. “We’ve got been so lucky to spend so much of time in espresso outlets. … To listen to among the wonderful tales of householders and the way they determined to lastly comply with that dream of opening a espresso store, or the origin of the store identify, for example.“

Mitchell on the left wears a knit sweater and Bethany, with long blonde hair, wears a white turtleneck and jeans. They stand in front of a red brick wall.
Mitchell (left) is a shopper associate in a Fintech firm and Bethany is a nurse. Picture courtesy of Mitchell and Bethany McComb.

The duo has realized quite a bit by way of the method of making their specialty-coffee map. They suggest that anybody wishing to create a specialty-coffee map from scratch needs to be ready for the challenges and embrace them. “It’s remarkably rewarding to pursue a ardour venture like this, and there are such a lot of methods to be concerned within the espresso neighborhood with out opening a espresso store your self,” they commented.

Uncover New Locations and Assist Native Enterprise

One of many greatest classes to return out of this course of for Bethany and Mitchell was to comprehend the immense strain that espresso outlets are beneath. They level out that costs alongside their provide chain have risen dramatically in current months, but many enterprise homeowners are doing what they’ll to not increase costs for patrons.

“We’d like to encourage readers to exit and assist your native unbiased espresso outlets, to talk to these in retailer and study their tales—some are completely unbelievable,“ they stated. “And at last, we’d additionally undoubtedly suggest the Northern Eire espresso scene. We actually imagine it rivals one of the best in Europe, so we’d undoubtedly encourage your entire readers to e-book a visit over, and naturally, comply with alongside at @nicoffeemaps.”

Bethany and Mitchell pose in front of a big tree in a park with green moss on the ground. They are pushing a black stroller.
The couple is rising their household and appears ahead to extra espresso adventures. Picture courtesy of Mitchell and Bethany McComb.

Taking on the reins from earlier homeowners, Mitchell and Bethany are about to launch a unbelievable useful resource to discover the North Eire specialty-coffee panorama, uncover new locations, and assist native companies. For them, it’s a ardour venture and a possibility to share their enthusiasm for specialty espresso with others. 

We want all of them one of the best in launching what’s going to absolutely be a unbelievable useful resource, in addition to years of exploration and discovery by way of their specialty-coffee map. For any Northern Irish espresso lovers on the market, preserve your eyes peeled for the upcoming NI Espresso Map!


Vasileia Fanarioti (she/her) is a senior on-line correspondent for Barista Journal and a contract copywriter and editor with a main focus on the espresso area of interest. She has additionally been a volunteer copywriter for the I’M NOT A BARISTA NPO, offering content material to assist educate individuals about baristas and their work. You may comply with her adventures at thewanderingbean.internet.




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