Gareth Patterson - Belfast Coffee Map
Over the past few years, the Belfast coffee scene has exploded in a vibrant, caffeinated boom.
With well-known 'Establishedments' proving to be very popular, dozens of new cafes have opened up all over the city each with their own personality.
To help us navigate our way through these new spots, one man has created the first Belfast Coffee Map.
We caught up with Gareth Patterson to learn more about the Belfast Coffee Map and more importantly, his story.
Check it out.
Gareth, you're in an elevator with Liam Neeson, how do you introduce yourself?
Well, I'm a man with a love and passion for science and medicine but also have a real appreciation for creativity.
Science is bound by lots of laws and principles; there's not so much flexibility with it. I love that, but I also love the unpredictability of life.
I'm always exploring new things that feed the non-medical side of me, often find it through art and the amazing creative individuals we have in our city.
I love my day to day job, but I also enjoy expressing myself through a passion for coffee, photography, music and all things under the umbrella of culture.
Clearly you're a massive fan of coffee. Tell us about all that...
I'm not exactly a coffee connoisseur by any means. Sure, I understand a lot of the processes and the 'fine science' behind specialty coffee, but honestly, that's not what excites me.
What I love is the culture behind coffee.
I love how people can come together over a cup of coffee. How relationships can brew between the most unlikely of people and all the other stuff can get filtered out.
When it comes to the coffee culture in Belfast, I love the people behind it even more than the coffee. The world knows us as a very chatty sociable culture, and that's what you'll find in most Belfast coffee shops.
Now that we're getting Belfast specific tell us the story of how you came up with the idea for the Belfast Coffee Map.
Last year I had the chance to spend some time in Barcelona and had an absolute blast! Such an incredible city that also has a thriving specialty coffee scene.
In one of the cafes, they had a print publication for sale that featured all the best coffee spots around the city.
So, we bought one, and it completely transformed our time there. We ended up visiting most places on the map, encountering people and parts of the city along the way. We would never have experienced this if wasn't for that map.
I came back to Belfast submerged in an incredible coffee culture, but one that lacked an accessible resource to navigate through it. I thought our city and our coffee shops deserved a map, so I got to work.
Do you think the Belfast Coffee Map is just for people coming to visit Belfast or can locals use it too?
Without a doubt, this is a map for everyone. It's a resource for coffee-loving-tourists and locals to explore Belfast in a new way. Even as I embarked on this journey, I discovered tonnes of 'hidden gems' that I had never experienced despite living here for years.
When visitors come to Belfast they don't want to go to big international coffee chains they have at home. Rather they want to experience the local spots run by local passionate people who express the personality of the city.
Belfasters may have a quick wit and deadly sarcasm, but beyond that, we love our city and want nothing more than to see it flourish.
Coffee shops are a place where you catch some of this passion or even incite some of your own.
Do you have a favourite coffee shop in Belfast?
Well you know I have 17 favourite coffee shops in Belfast, and that list is forever growing as the coffee scene expands.
The spots on the Belfast Coffee Map definitely have my seal of approval but watch out for other coffee featuring in future publications.
What does the future look like for you?
Belfast Coffee Map launched on the 25th of May 2017. We are only starting out but believe this is just the beginning of our journey.
I was so blessed to have to help and support of so many people to make this chapter possible.
Let's just see how it goes and who knows; you may see future updated maps in the future...
Last question. I'm sure all our readers will want to know: What's your go-to coffee when you go out?
Call me a cliche, but I'm a flat white man for life. The caffeine and milk combination is pure perfection.
Explore Belfast with the Belfast Coffee Map.
Massive thanks to Gareth for taking the time for this interview.
To follow updates about the project be sure to show him some lovin' on Instagram.
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Thanks so much for reading/listening.- Matthew