DublinTown Meets Brother Sister
Someone said to me dreaming is for free so dream big, because some day your dreams might come true’.
That dream has so far led Toure and his sister Yvonne Kizza to transform an empty entrance way at Pygmalion and Powerscourt into the coolest coffee bar in town. We sat down with Toure for the chats about his journey to opening a coffee shop in the Creative Quarter and how specialty roasted coffee for only €2 in the city centre is now here.
What’s the story behind Brother Sister?
This is my 14th year living in Ireland. I am originally from Uganda but grew up in Sweden, so I have taken business ideas and inspiration from many sources. The original idea to set up a coffee bar came about 3 years ago when I moved up to Dublin from Maynooth. I originally had coffee training in a small independent coffee bar in Celbridge, called Espresso Project, and learnt that in order to implement your own understanding you need to find your own space to do it. It took me three long years to find a unit in Dublin to try out my coffee shop idea before I found this spot on South William Street in the Creative Quarter. I came up from Maynooth as a stranger, networked and eventually found investors and a great spot. Brother Sister was born. The name ‘Brother Sister’ came naturally from the close relationship I have with my sister living in Ireland and feel like it represents us as a team.
Where do you source your coffee and what do you look for?
Great quality coffee was what I sought out to get from the very beginning for Brother Sister and was delighted when I met a supplier in Wicklow who uses ‘direct trade’. The owner actually goes to farmers across different continents to source the coffee and buys straight from them. This cuts out the middle man and also means that everyone gets their fair share of the trade, the farmer is dealing directly with us. It’s important to me that not only is the grade of coffee beans excellent but that it is also ethical.
Our roasted Mojo coffee brings out natural sugars in the beans with an amazing flavour. Keeping it local, Brother Sister have also used other Irish roasters such Two Fifty Squared and The Happy Pear, who roast beans in collaboration with Baobab Coffee Roasters in Celbridge. We also serve up healthy food like protein balls, vegan friendly Goji berry & chocolate flapjacks, acai powder chia seed truffle and treats from the Happy Pear, Firehouse Bakery and Aungier Danger.
Having a community feel is a huge part of the Creative Quarter. Consumers would be attracted to the type of personal service you provide at Brother Sister.
It’s well appreciated, any place you go it’s nice to be welcomed as a person with a smile, with vibrant energy. They come for the €2 coffee but stay for the chats. The way we interact with customers, the vibe we give, ‘it’s all Gucci baby’. Everyone is acknowledged with a smile and a joke. This place sells smiles and coffee where customers turn into friends.
Do you socialise in the Creative Quarter?
I DJ a lot in evening times in Bernard Shaw, Bull and Castle, also I’m resident DJ at Pygmalion, here. I love the vibe of the Creative Quarter, it has a great energy. There is always a buzz on South William Street.
Coffee at €2 is a great price, what is the catch?
No catch! One time I had an espresso and it cost me €3. Nice coffee but not everyone can pay that, you know. If you can get a nice coffee for a good price then that it’s much better as it can educate the individual on the coffee – ‘this is sweet, this has a nice flavour, etcetera, and I can get it for only €2’, that is what will appeal to more people and the customers keep on coming back. I want to give people a chance to try a higher grade of coffee for less than the high prices normally charged in any big city centre. If you fancy a large then it is only €3. We also have a college discount card where you get 10% off.
What’s the plan for Brother Sister moving forward?
As the summer time is approaching we are looking to give the coffee bar a new lease of life by decorating the walls, bring in some plant life, more bright colours, jazz the place up a bit. Introducing a new brand of coffee from Rocket Bean Roastery in Latvia. It’s a blend called Magic Pussy and the branding and packaging is dynamic, no one else sells it here, so it seems fitting to try something new and see how our customers like it. Planning to shortly introduce juices, grow wheatgrass on the counter and offer some healthy summer treats over the next few months.