"Coffee has always been in my hand, and in my cup."
Fergus Brown, owner + roaster
The story of Roasted Brown has been brewing ever since I was a child. I had fantastic and tremendously irresponsible parents who allowed me to drink tea and coffee for almost as far back as I can remember. There are photos of me at the age of 3 with a little off-red sippy cup which apparently was always in my hand and always full of a caffeinated substance!
Throughout my life – from the years at school to leaving school at the age of 15 to clean cars, from travelling the world and working in the slums of India, to then later becoming a sound engineer in a recording studio in Dublin - coffee has always been in my hand and in my cup. That said, it wasn’t until 2006 while working in Perth, Australia, that I had my first ‘drip’ coffee - made for me by my friend at 5am one morning. I had never had coffee this way. I was immediately sent on a journey of taste, and began discovering there was a vast spectrum, from the terrible to the great, through every link in the coffee chain.
While living in New Zealand between 2003 and 2007, I realised that coffee and coffee shops were better over there, and this helped me rediscover my hidden and romantic idea of a coffee shop in Dublin. My wife, Sarah-Jane, and I moved back to Dublin to start a café, in which two things would happen: one, it would be a place of artistic community, and two, the coffee would be brilliant.
Up until this point, aside from a few quiet shifts a week in a social enterprise café in Perth, I had barely made coffee. So I got a job in a café in my hometown of Greystones, called The Happy Pear, and worked there for 4 months trying, in every cup, to improve my shots and perfect my presentation. Following this, I decided to find some money and open up a coffee cart to sell coffee at train stations and markets. My first real gig was a small farmers market in Dalkey village where I sold maybe sixty coffees a day – mostly to my friends! From here we got an epic pitch at The Point Village Market in Dublin City, and this is where my journey of really discovering what good coffee was, began.
I ended up working right next to Brock from Badger and Dodo Coffee Roasters, and although we were competitors, Brock taught me some of the most valuable things I know about coffee to this day – from the bean to the cup. I thought I was selling great coffee, and this guy would keep coming over with shots from different origins that, at first, I hated until my taste buds eventually caught up and I realised that what I was selling was pretty terrible stuff.
Brock then became my coffee supplier for a time, and the Roasted Brown coffee cart started to get a pretty good reputation for coffee, travelling around the country doing events. Over time, we started to get a bit frustrated at the lifestyle of selling coffee this way – going around the country, feeling like we were setting up a shop and stripping it down again, every weekend. So we decided that this was the time to start looking into opening a brick and mortar shop of our own.
The very day after making this decision, I got a phone call from Colin Harmon from 3FE, asking if I’d be interested in opening a café in Temple Bar – he knew of a place becoming available. Four days later we had a deal with the landlord and the real coffee journey began!
By this stage I had grown to love what Colin and Steve were doing with Hasbean, so it seemed like the right time to start buying our coffee from Colin, and here started the next leg of our wonderful journey into coffee.
It had always been a part of the plan for Roasted Brown to roast our own coffee, so I pursued a roasting course in London where I made friends with Fabio Fareiera, one of the owners from Notes Coffee, London. Both of us were looking to start roasting our own coffee, so we agreed that whoever got set up first would help the other. It turned out Fabio beat me to the post!
In November 2013 we began roasting our own coffee in London every couple of weeks, and supplying our own shop, and a growing number of wholesale customers around Dublin and Wicklow.
Having used my time in London to both learn how to roast and build up a wholesale business the time finally arrived for us to set up our very own Roastery in Ireland. Since September 2015 Roasted Brown has been roasting locally in our very own beautiful Roastery in Delgany co.Wicklow.
This is a very exciting season for us as we aim to supply the best coffee we can and share it with coffee lovers throughout the country.