Bean & Leaf Coffee House, The Story So Far
Opening in August 2016, Carrigaline’s first dedicated coffee house, Bean & Leaf Coffee House, has proven to be a popular new addition to the town. Though others had been selling coffee locally, nobody had filled the gap in the market for a spacious, warm, dedicated coffee house that Carrigaline craved and speaking to any of Bean & Leaf’s by now loyal customers, they’ll tell you that Bean & Leaf has done exactly that. Beginning in 2004 with a juice bar, Fruit Boost, in Cork’s English Market, business partners Eddie Vaughan and Bill Twomey expanded to Mahon Point with a second Fruit Boost a year later before opening their first coffee shop, Bean & Leaf in Mahon Point Retail Park in 2012. Eddie, a Bishopstown native who has been living in Crosshaven with his wife and three children since 2007, has both a Food Science and I.T background. He says he always had a passion for business and finding a partnership that worked with Bill was a good base to expand from the juice bars to the first Bean & Leaf Coffee House and then their opening of Bean & Leaf in both Carrigaline and more recently, on the corner of Grand Parade Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork. “It took around a year”, Eddie explains, “for the first coffee house in Mahon Point Retail Park to find its feet but after around a year it started going well and it began drawing customers from all around, people were coming from Bishopstown, Carrigaline, many different areas and it was in observing this that we began thinking about expanding the brand to other areas”. “Carrigaline”, says Eddie, “didn’t seem to have any dedicated coffee options. With so many people passing through, a high population base, a centre for many surrounding areas and a local workforce, we did spot a gap in the market for a good, dedicated coffee house. “We see ourselves as being at least 60% coffee focused and 40% food focused so we try to make our coffee really good and consistent and provide good food as an add on”. Arbutus bread sandwiches using locally sourced ingredients, cakes and pastries are made and delivered daily.” Located centrally in the Owenabue Carpark, Bean & Leaf Carrigaline boasts one of the area’s best locations. “With free parking outside, a large passing trade, people on the school run nearby etc, the premises seemed the perfect location for us to open up”, says Eddie. ‘Thankfully the rent was reasonable so we signed up for a long-term lease and though the initial investment for kit out was large, we’re happy with it and see it as a long term commitment”, he says.
“Using a locally roasted Coffee, says Eddie, has allowed Bean & Leaf to build a consistency of brand. “We use what I’d describe as the Rolls Royce of coffee machines, a La Marzocco, and our coffee supplier provide great service ensuring the coffee is always produced to a consistently high standard”, he explains.”
Bean & Leaf, the name, as well as logos, graphics and branding is all the brainchild of Eddie and Bill. “We aim to deliver a recognisable brand”, says Eddie, “based on a reputation for good coffee but with a local angle that ensures a welcoming space, welcoming staff and an environment that any of our customers would want to be in and enjoy”. “We had been looking at options in the city for further expansion before we signed the lease for the Carrigaline shop”, says Eddie, “and it’s funny how things worked out, shortly after we signed up in Carrigaline the premises on the corner of Grand Parade and Oliver Plunkett Street where we recently opened became available. We had invested significantly in Carrigaline but this was a good opportunity also so we decided to go ahead and sign the city lease and go about fitting out the unit, a great two-story premises and very centrally located”, he explains. Employing 8 people between the two juice bars, and a further 22 between the three coffee shops, it is fair to say that the Bean & Leaf brand is more than making its impact on the local economy and while for now the owners are focused on developing their exisiting locations, who knows what the future will hold for the Bean & Leaf brand as Ireland’s appetite for coffee is growing rapidly. Exciting times ahead for a truly exciting brand.