Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us, happy birthday Dog & Hat, happy birthday to us :-)

Well there you go, it’s been a year and it feels great to reach the momentous milestone of our first birthday.  We’re more excited than ever to work in this fantastic and welcoming industry full of learning and opportunity. Every day we’re pleased we didn’t take the jam hamper route and instead wrote a list of everything we’re passionate about – which is mainly Dogs in Hats and good coffee!

We must start with a huge thank you to all our subscribers for their support and feedback over the year.  It’s really helped us improve the service – so thank you all.  An extra special mention goes out to our Founder Members – those curious souls who took the leap and joined us in our early months.

Another colossal thank you, of course, goes out to all the wonderful roasters that have supported us - without them we are nothing more than an empty cardboard box.  We currently have over 25 roasters on-board with more joining over the coming months – and now that we have our four-bag subscription, we really need them all.  Between them they’ve helped us in times of last-minute orders, lost deliveries in crazy places, and driven over 500 miles to personally deliver coffee to us… they’re 5* people and we love them all.

What have we learnt in a year?

Variety is the spice of life: Our members love the challenge of a varied range of coffee, and that for us this is the best thing about Dog and Hat.  We find it endlessly fascinating with the range of feedback we can receive on a single coffee, which is why you will rarely find us offering out our own personal opinions on a coffee - our job is to quality check all coffee and ensure it meets the exacting standards of us and our subscribers.  We’re not here to make you learn to love fruity Ethiopian coffees or nutty Brazilian coffees, just to make sure that when they turn up in your box that they are the best of the best.  To this goal, Dave has just completed the Speciality Coffee Association Intermediate Sensory Course which enables us to more rigorously quality check to SCA standard.

Roasters are exceptional: We’ve absolutely confirmed (as expected) that really the star of the show is and always will be the coffee producers and roasters - we will continue to support and promote them and their good work in any way we can.  This is why we never re-bag a roasters coffee – it has left their roastery in perfect condition, looking immense and presented exactly the way they wanted.  It always fills us with joy when a subscriber tries a new roaster with us and then heads back and tries more of their range.

What’s next for Dog & Hat?

Year 2 will see us open our HQ space for cupping and coffee talks in the local area and any subscribers and friends that want to pop in are most welcome.  We’re passionate about helping educate people about coffee, it’s origins and journey, and ways of getting the best out of it.

Dave will be taking our education forward to SCA professional level in the near future, which will enable us to offer an even better service and possibly teach the sensory courses here at our offices… but only after lots of practice and study.  Dave is buzzing after his latest course, and for any coffee lovers out we’d highly recommend it.

Our general store will continue to grow with more independent brands.  We’re currently working with Fudgin El to supply tasty artisan fudge, SkateReclaimCreate with their amazing recycled skateboard tamper handles, and there are plenty more to come.  So, keep an eye out on the General Store tab on the website if you’re on the lookout for something a little bit different for yourself or as a gift.

We are also proud and humbled to announce that we made it through from thousands of entries to be one of the final 100 businesses supported by Small Biz Saturday this year. This is a UK initiative supporting small business, with a focus on Small Business Saturday on 1st December.  This is the day that we hope to see people spending money with small businesses online and in the high street. Dog & Hat has been selected, among other things, for our support of other small businesses.

As for family life, our eldest starts primary school this September and the youngest starts at forest pre-school down the road for a couple of days a week - both with much excitement.  We suspect, however, that they will be coming home each covered in muck, and/or red and green paint - which is just how we like it.  We also have a new puppy called Charlie who is a very happy chappy and we’ve been very lucky with his chilled-out demeanour… now where’s that hat?

Onwards and upwards for year 2 and thank you all once again for your support.

Su & Dave

Dave Morgan