Katie Dixon is an LCA2 student in Coláiste Mhuire in Ennis. At just 18 years of age, she has set up her own company called Katie’s X21 Coffee.
As part of her final year work experience, she decided to open a coffee bag supply company. The idea came about because her mam and dad, who both love coffee, always complain that instant coffee is boring, ground coffee is too much trouble and barista coffee is too expensive.
Katie, who lives with Down Syndrome, decided she would do something about this and so, Katie’s X21 was born.
Katie explained: “So, my solution was to produce fresh ground excellent quality coffee in a similar format to tea bags. The result was great. People can enjoy the drink without any machinery or equipment and without creating any mess.”
“The hardest part was finding a good name and I finally decided on Katie’s X21 Coffee with X21 referring to the extra chromosome that is associated with Down Syndrome. My tag line ‘Enable the Taste’ hopefully gives the nod towards focusing on the abilities of people with learning challenges rather than the traditional view of only seeing disabilities,” Katie said.
She added: “To find the right product I sampled lots of coffee from all over the world and chose a 100% single source Arabica bean for our brew bag contents. The coffee comes a long way from Columbia in South America, but the better taste justifies the journey.
To make my coffee it’s so simple. You just open one of the individually sealed packets; pop it in a mug; add just boiled water to it and ‘viola’, in just three minutes you will have a lovely rich cup of coffee worthy of any fancy coffee shop.”
Katie has opened an online store to allow people buy her coffee which is also available in retail outlets including Food Heaven in Ennis and Fiddle and Bow in Doolin. She has even sent her coffee to overseas customers including in New York, Hawaii, Chicago, and Sydney.
“My ambitions are exceedingly high and as the business grows, I hope to eventually open a shop complete with coffee roastery and coffee school along with a café that will be doggy friendly. What will make it extraordinary is that I will be able to offer friends with special talents the opportunity to work in the real world and gain super business experience keeping all my customers happy,” Katie said.
You can also follow Katie on Facebook.