Getting from A to B
May 5, 2014
Posted by: David
What a journey. Nearly two years its taken to
go from Arden (Coffee) to Beanworks. There’s
been a few bumps and even a few roadblocks
along the way. But, with steely determination
and the help of some new friends, we’ve got
there. So we thought you might be interested
in reading about it.
Arden coffee had been going along nicely for a few years. We had some great customers, good coffees and everyone was happy. But a day out in London early in 2012 changed everything. After going round some of the capital’s best coffee shops it hit us. We were tasting coffees in environments like we’d never before. Exceptional flavours in superb coffee shops. We came home that night feeling very sober. We realised that we could do better and had to do better.
What was the challenge?
Source and roast even better coffee. Develop a new brand, new packaging and effectively re-invent ourselves. Not much to do then.
We sat down and came up with a plan – we could sort it all out and be done within 6-9 months we thought. Little did we know!
We started with the coffee – we stripped everything back to basics. Where were we sourcing the raw materials from, how were we storing it, how were we roasting it and what did it taste like. So, we made some changes in each of these steps and expected to taste awesome coffee.
But it didn’t really taste that different. We tried again. Same results. We stopped and thought. It was now mid to late 2012. We needed some help. A few recommendations later we tracked down two very helpful chaps. John (it is his real name) from Coffee Nexus
and Paul MJ from Coffee Community
came on board to help us.
These two were a revelation. With their help
we all came up with a new plan and we took on board their recommendations. Sourcing new coffees to work with and developing new blends was the easy bit. The biggest changes we had to make we in the roasting process. Our lovely vintage coffee roaster with it’s old world temp dial wasn’t giving us accurate enough control of the roasts. Also, we needed more power than it was currently capable of. So we upgraded our gas supply (that took two months itself!) and Malcolm from Coffetech (another new friend) installed a spanking new bean probe that would give us uber accuracy in monitoring and controlling our roasts.
We sourced some new coffees and devised some new blends and roasted them. We were starting to notice improvements. But they still weren’t singing like the ones we tried in London. It was now mid 2013. So John then introduced us to the world of roast profiling. This was the final piece of the roasting jigsaw. It wasn’t easy getting to grips with it but some trial and error and a quite a few roasts later and boom… great coffee.
During all of this we were trying to come up with a new brand name. Cant be that difficult? 6 months and around 50 ideas and we finally agreed upon Beanworks. We thought it best epitomised what we do best.
In the meantime, a friend recommended we should talk to Paul Belford and Martin Brown
– two design gurus. Straight talking, no nonsense, creative geniuses. A little out of our league. They were used to working with global brands such as Aston Martin, Orange, Microsoft and Guinness. So we sheepishly approached them and told them our story. They didn’t say much for the first hour or so (that’s what they do – they’re thinkers) but they got us and what we wanted to achieve right away and loved the challenge and offered to help. After a few false starts – mainly thanks to poor briefs from us and us changing our minds – they came up with a brand identity and packaging designs that blew us away. Oh and did I mention that during this they left their old design company, set up their own one and took us with them! All very surreal.
Then it was time to start producing the new packaging. Paul and Martin were insistent that we had to use authentic printing processes for our new labels etc. We were in their hands. This proved to be a big challenge. Finding printers who use authentic traditional printing press techniques wasn’t easy. We had to engage a company called Nirvana Creative Productions who's client list includes Diesel, Nike, Levi’s.
These guys specialise in world class print and production techniques. They found a proper artisan printer who could do the authentic print work that Paul and Martin were pushing for. Two months later and the first labels arrived. They were perfect. Authentic, artisan but with a sprinkling of modernity.
Back at the Roastery we were ready. But it was too close to Christmas 2013 to make the changes. So, Finally on 3rd February 2014 Beanworks was born and Arden coffee was laid to rest. A long journey. But actually, we’re now only at the start of an even longer one. We’re in a much better place than 2 years ago. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Paul, Martin, John, Paul MJ and Malcolm. Our customers have noticed a real change in our coffee and they love our packaging. Bring on the next chapter. Come and see us if you think we’re right for your coffee shop.