Java Republic is inviting you see inside the walls of their unique roaster, and to learn about the process behind its premium coffee experience.
Java Republic was founded by David McKernan 20 years ago. Having been inspired by a number of cafés that he visited in San Francisco in the 90s, he set out to create a coffee experience that was unparalleled in its quality, transparency and commitment to sustainability.
“There are no shortcuts to good coffee”, says Managing Director Grace O’Shaughnessy. “All our coffee beans are hand roasted individually, and every single batch is taste tested before it leaves our building to ensure that the quality is consistent. Within our walls we have the top industry experts working hard to make sure that our coffee and tea is of a premium quality, always. From the roasters and the coffee quality consultants, to the baristas and the service team, no stone is left unturned when it comes to guaranteeing the best product and the best service to our customers.”
Visitors to Java Republic’s café and roastery in Ballycoolin can see the process for themselves. The Roastery opened to the public in 2008 and since then every design feature, from inside to outside, has been done with David’s vision in mind.
The roastery underwent a major refurbishment in 2013, however to this day many of the initial features of the building still remain. First spread over 1.75 acres, the facility was later expanded to 2.2 acres and a total of 25,000 sq. ft. When you first visit the Java Republic Roastery, you will be struck by the unique shape of the building, which boasts a height of almost 9 metres and a distinctive triangular front which instantly catches the eye. It was purposely built south-facing so that during the winter months the sun would help heat the building, thereby minimising energy consumption. Take a stroll around the perimeter of the building and at the rear you will find our wood pellet burner which was installed in 2008. This overrides our commercial boiler and heats the whole building as well as providing us with all of our hot water.
Our Roastery Café was refurbished and relaunched in 2013. For the design, we wanted to capture our commitment to the environment by utilising minimal concepts and natural materials. The café itself is used by us as a testing ground. Through it we can get a better understanding of the challenges our customers face, as well as test new products and innovations. Every day we serve an approximate 800 customers, allowing us to stay on top of consumer trends and feed these back to our partners.
Within our walls we also have a specially designed corridor tour for visitors who are interested in the full story of the coffee experience from bean to cup. It offers visitors a walk-through of the origin of coffee, the history of Java Republic and why we do things the way we do. Our customers can lose themselves in an experience that they can’t get anywhere else in Ireland. The coffee roasting itself is done behind floor-to-ceiling glass walls which were specifically built as part of our commitment to transparency. All you have to do is simply look through a window and everything is there in front of you, we have nothing to hide. Every stage of our process is visible, making our commitment to quality obvious to everyone.
The coffee roasting team is led by Peter Laird and Jolanta Turowska, the first female roaster in Ireland. “We are passionate about what we do”, says Laird. “We work together to create something that brings pleasure to people – a proper cup of coffee.”
Innovation and training are also critically important. The Coffee Lab is a hive of activity with coffee tastings, cupping sessions or training groups constantly in progress. In addition, the facility was recently awarded the title of Premier Training Campus by the Speciality Coffee Association (SCA). The SCA promotes excellence in quality coffee, and only awards Premier Training Campus status to facilities that consistently meet all requirements set out by its programme and demonstrate a teaching environment which meets specified standards. We are delighted and immensely proud to be the first Irish roasting company to receive this certification.
Sustainability plays a central role in our philosophy: ‘Coffee with a Conscience’. This means that we go deeper than anyone to respect people and respect the environment. Indeed, our facility is the world’s first purpose-built carbon neutral roastery. We achieved carbon neutrality in 2009 and since then have worked closely with Carbon Clear, a world leading provider of carbon and energy management and sustainability services. We purchase carbon credits from Carbon Clear to offset the impact of our activities in Ireland. As a result, we are currently supporting a project in Peru which preserves 1,000 hectares of Peruvian Amazon from deforestation. The project has already saved plant and animal species, the habitats of 35 endangered species, as well as the livelihoods of indigenous tribes.
Our commitment to the environment goes far beyond our carbon neutrality however. We give away our hessian sacks free to customers for school projects, council projects, garden centres and more. We also bag our coffee grinds (5 tonnes per year) and offer them free to the public to use in gardens as a natural fertiliser and slug repellent. In addition to this, 100% of our coffee chaff goes to compost. Not only that, but our cafés were among the first in Ireland to introduce 100% compostable and biodegradable cups.
On May 3rd 2019, the announcement was made that Java Republic has joined forces with the Spanish family-run coffee company Cafento. The partnership is set to see the Java Republic expand into international markets.
So why not get in touch with us and arrange for you and your colleagues to come and visit our Roastery in Ballycoolin? Call us on 01 880 9300 and we would be delighted to arrange a tour for you to show you the process behind creating Ireland’s most premium coffee. Alternatively, pop out to our café and enjoy a casual lunch or breakfast while watching Ireland’s best experts at work.