A Roast Odyssey

18 December 2014
A Roast Odyssey

As most of you are aware, we began roasting this year in Dublin port and set off on what has been one of the most challenging and rewarding tasks we’ve ever undertaken at 3fe. Having spent 4 years building a wholesale business to the point where we had enough customers to warrant roasting ourselves, we then faced the daunting task of meeting the standards set by our hitherto coffee supplier, the indefatigable Hasbean.

It took us over 6 months to actually get our roastery set up and working, encountering problems with bagging machines, burners, electricity supply and countless other unforeseen problems. Our roasting team were sent to Hasbean towers to learn how to do what we do, and Steve and his team have been regular visitors to Dublin ever since.

Our first wholesale customer was in fact our own cafe on Grand Canal Street and from the 5th of December 2013 (which was coincidentally our 4th birthday) all the coffee that was made there was roasted in Dublin, whilst Hasbean kept roasting for our wholesale customer base. We had envisaged this lasting 3–4 months but by the end of the year we knew it was time to switch everything over. When January 1st hit, all of our coffee was roasted and bagged as 3fe coffee and we haven’t looked back since.

Things have gone incredibly well but not without a few hiccups along the way. The roasting team and the wholesale team are former baristas themselves and by cupping every coffee we produce we can ensure the highest standards are met at the roastery. We’ve binned (i.e. donated to charity!) a lot of coffee this year at our own expense because we know that every bag we send out will have the highest expectations of it from both our wholesale and retail customers.

Such was the success of the roastery, we met out annual roasting target by early August and are on course to exceed it by almost 60%. Steve has always been adamant that we would improve in every aspect by roasting more and that seems to have rung true over the last 12 months. We’ve also had the opportunity to now work with businesses outside of Dublin and have been lucky to work with some incredible folks like Established in Belfast, Urban Grind in Galway, Suas in Ennis, The Arch in Waterford and Alchemy in Cork.

Coupled with this we’ve seen our existing wholesale base get busier and many of them have even opened new locations, making us busier still. Nothing of what we’ve achieved would have been possible without their support and we feel very fortunate to work with some of the best businesses on the this island. This growth presented Steve with a few sourcing headaches as we ran through lot after lot but we managed to make it there in the end without compromising on our offering.

As 2015 fast approaches we’ve learned a few lessons and feel incredibly excited about the coming year. We will continue to grow 3fe in 2015 with like-minded quality-focused businesses and by also  improving our retail postal offering. Our new website will soon be selling individual bags of coffee to be shipped directly to your door which we’ve been waiting a long time to get going. We’re incredibly grateful for all of your support over the years and look forward to making you excellent coffee in 2015.

Happy Christmas and New Year,