Gold Coast Roasters
100% Ghanaian-Owned Coffee
Cillian Walsh is proud that Gold Coast Roasters was one of the first Ghanaian coffee brands to explore the untapped multi-million dollar market potential of West African coffee. Since setting up a coffee farm in Ghana’s Eastern and Volta Region five years ago, Cillian and his Ghanaian partners transformed their hobby of planting coffee to protect farmland from encroachment into a successful agricultural enterprise. The result is an environmentally-conscientious practice that ensures a green, bird and insect-friendly production process throughout the entire coffee value chain. Cillian, who was born in Ireland but is now a Ghanaian citizen, and Gold Coast are also working to encourage local consumption of this indigenous, value-added product. While Ghana does not have a coffee drinking culture, the growth of coffee houses in Accra is enticing adventurous locals to explore new tastes.
Gold Coast Roasters
When did you start your business?
In 2015 the farming happened and in 2017 we set up roasting. Now we’re getting decent crops from our farm. We’ve only been selling since January 2019, but by July 2019 we were already getting investor requests.
Why did you start?
We saw it was ridiculous to be importing really bad coffee and why not start exporting coffee? It was also a way of preserving land. There is a problem with encroachment in Ghana, but if something is growing on land people are less inclined to encroach because they can be sued.
What motivates you to keep going?
The challenge to succeed. When we started, there was only one person roasting. It started off as a small hobby and we rapidly realized the big market. The domestic market is about $8M and we wanted to service the West African markets. We wanted to bring good coffee to African markets.
What do you wish people knew about your business?
We have the single best coffee produced in West Africa! Coffee has had a bad connotation and we knew we had to sell a coffee culture and break down the myths surrounding coffee.
What's the first thing you do when you wake up?
I drink coffee. I drink everyone else’s coffee to see where ours is. This morning I drank Ethiopian. I’m spending lots of money drinking coffee to see where ours is.
What are you most grateful for?
Family. I’m big into family. I have a 9, 7 and 5 year old. With the kids we’ll swim, bike ride and things like that. Or I’ll bring them to the farm.
What’s the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
Blend coffee for the morning and thank my amazing and talented wife for putting up with me.
What makes you awesome?
I trained the Ghana national shooting team for the Olympics. They didn't do well, but we're still working on it!
How do you have fun?
I am a storyteller of Irish folktales. Usually to my family or if I'm drinking with friends.
Do you have a favorite mantra?
Coffee makes the world go round.
What do you love most about Africa?
Farming. I come from a farming background and Africa gave me the opportunity. Buying a farm in Ireland is next to impossible. You don’t buy a farm in Ireland you inherit them. That’s important for me because it’s an Irish thing. I get a great sense of solitude, of peace. If I’m up in Aburi at 6 in the morning, it’s great. It’s how I detox. It gives me a sense of grounding.
What frustrates you most about Africa?
Farming. It's so frustrating because the climate pattern is changing; there's a lot of different challenges now around agriculture. The farm is a challenge, but it's the greatest joy.
Cilllian meets with his Gold Coast Roasters team in Ghana.