Malin Head, Banba’s Crown and good coffee

Ireland's most northerly barista, Bauke Roof, pictured at Banba's Crown serving up fresh coffee and pastries. (0206SL02) Photo: Stephen Latimer
Ireland's most northerly barista, Bauke Roof, pictured at Banba's Crown serving up fresh coffee and pastries. (0206SL02) Photo: Stephen Latimer
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When Ireland’s most northerly barista left his life in Brighton and job in London behind him to move with his wife and children to Malin Head, many people thought he was mad!

But in the years since he moved and set up the now famous Caffe Banba, Dominic McDermott and his wife Andrea, have never looked back.

Now part of the stunning Malin Head coastline, Caffe Banba, located neatly at Banba’s Crown the northern tip of Malin Head (and Ireland), once a simply three-wheeled coffee cart, is now a fully operational van selling gorgeous cakes and coffee.

“The local people thought we were loopy when we first started going around Malin Head and Inishowen in our coffee cart, but it was always something we wanted to do, so we just though why not? And now look at us, we’ve no regrets whatsoever,” said Dominic.

Dominic and Andrea left Brighton to get away from a family tragedy and since then the couple and their now growing family are now fully fledged ‘Inishoweners’.

“Before we left England, we had a baby son, Evan, who died after childbirth so we just wanted to get away from that and the memory of the sadness. Malin Head is a world apart from our former life, but we are happier for it and it is much much better.

“When I lived in England I would commute from Brighton to London every day. I’d leave before the kids got up in the morning and come home when they were in bed. We’re learned a lot in the past three years. It’s been a liberating experience”

Regular visitors to the Inishowen coast for the past 17 years, Dominic admits it hasn’t all been plan sailing.

“It has been tough, the recession has hit us all and we are no exception. When we started up in May 2008 we would have ideally wanted to open our own shop as my wife has a background in the restaurant and hotel industry but it just wasn’t the right time.

“Even still there are always people around, but there are so many days you can’t work because of the weather, May was a terrible month for us. But it’s great meeting so many different types of people. You could have tourists who you might see once and never again, then there are the regular visitors or the people own holiday homes who would just come down for a walk and a coffee and of course there’s the local people who we see more often. It’s great.”

Unfortunately the original three wheeled cart could not withstand the strong Malin Head weather and it was soon time for an upgrade, but we’re told it still makes an appearance in the summer months.

“We are open everyday at Banba’s Crown - weather permitting. Usually 10am - 6pm but later in the summer evenings. You can have a hot chocolate to keep warm watching the spectacular sunsets.”

The family also embrace the new wave of social media and encourage their customers to follow them on twitter to tell them where they are and let people know about what is happening at the tower - especially basking shark sightings.

Caffe Banba also supplies cakes and buns to the local community.

“We thought we wanted to develop the business, and so baking became a natural choice. It was just banana bread at the start, but it has grown since then. We built the bakery at the end of last year to be fully compliant with environmental health and food safety regulations, and now we supply a full range of freshly baked items.”

Their quirky business idea have attracted attention from all over the world, and recently food journalist Richard Johnson visited them when writing his new book “Street Food Revolution: Inspiring new recipes and stories from the new food heroes”.

Said Dominic; “At the minute coffee carts aren’t very common in Ireland, never mind having one at the end of the world. So I guess he thought it was quite interesting... but for us the most important this is being happy and having fun.”

For more on Caffe Banba see www.caffebanba.com or follow them on twitter @caffebanba or facebook: www.facebook.caffebanba.com