Van’s the man... Coffee on go, all the go

Van’s the man... Coffee on go, all the go

Owned by husband and wife, Alan and Michelle Cashman, Cortado was originally a catering company for the business world, providing coffee and treats to office staff in Dublin and in Cork, specifically Navigation Square on the quays.

FROM brothers to cousins and couples to father-daughter dynamics, it seems coffee in Cork is becoming a family affair and with the fine weather getting finer, The Echo checked in with some of the people behind Cork's coffee stroll culture, providing caffeine kicks and sweet treats.

Owned by husband and wife, Alan and Michelle Cashman, Cortado was originally a catering company for the business world, providing coffee and treats to office staff in Dublin and in Cork, specifically Navigation Square on the quays.

While Michelle looks after the behind-the-scenes work, the finances and HR, Alan is the face of the business, greeting customers early in the morning and late in the evening with a cheery smile.

Alan Cashman at Cortado coffee dock at Lee rowing club on The Marina
Alan Cashman at Cortado coffee dock at Lee rowing club on The Marina

“I opened in Dublin in 2016 and then in Navigation Square in 2019. Unfortunately, due to Covid, these offices closed in March, 2020.” 

Alan said their business model had been speciality coffee in offices, but then offices closed.

“We sell Columbia coffee — roasted in Dublin.

“We were coming from the corporate side of coffee but we decided to follow the people and set up down the Marina. We bought a second trailer and left the other one in Navigation Square.” 

They originally thought interest would be from members of the rowing clubs and then the Marina was pedestrianised in June, 2020.

“We have had huge community support from the start, we are very lucky,” Alan said, “I think Covid has changed people’s perception of the work-life balance. It’s part of the routine now to take time for yourself. Get some headspace, look after your wellbeing. People see the value of getting out and about.” 

Cortado has three Cork suppliers that provide sweet treats for hungry walkers and runners.

“Monday to Saturday we have Cameron Bakery goods and on Sunday’s Roots Kitchen provide the treats.” 

Alan said he and Michelle met in Granada, Spain in 2013 and the plan was always to open a coffee place together.
Alan said he and Michelle met in Granada, Spain in 2013 and the plan was always to open a coffee place together.

Alan said he and Michelle met in Granada, Spain in 2013 and the plan was always to open a coffee place together.

The Marina base is doing well, with everyone out and about, catching up in the fresh air and Alan said he has inadvertently become a part of the local community.

“The relationship between the barista and the customer is special. You become part of people’s lives. You get told bits and bobs. We’ve all sorts telling us all sorts.” 

Alan said there would be pregnant women visiting for a coffee and next thing you know they have a pram with them.

“You hear things, there are a lot of tragedies in the community. I wasn’t expecting this element of the job, but I’m embracing it, I was surprised by it.” 

Alan said his family received Christmas cards and presents from customers, something he described as “bananas”.

“Cortado at the Marina kept my family going, put bread on the table, and it’s seen as a valuable asset to the community.” Alan said the business has a no-contact approach at the moment due to Covid, and they add the milk and sugar for people. 

“It is not always appreciated, you might have a closet sugar addict who takes eight sugars in his tea and doesn’t want anyone to know. But we are doing our best to look after everyone’s welfare. We are very conscious of it.

“We can’t wait for the day when people can add their own milk and sugar.” 

Coratado on the Marina is open 8am to 6pm, seven days a week.

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