Go Green with Green Beards

As the hugely popular juicing trend continues its world domination with every second person you see on the street delving into something dark, green and super healthy and sharing their homemade vegetable blend creations on Instagram, we thought it best to go straight to those who are doing it best in the hopes of learning more about this trendy wellness phenomenon: Green Beards of Ranelagh. Whether you're after an indulgent almond milk and cacao nib smoothie or a three day juice detox, these are the guys to go to.

If you've found yourself pondering why cold pressing is supposedly better for you than plain old juicing or you're considering throwing in the towel at the office and setting up your own hip juicing joint, Ray and Kev of Green Beards share some food (or should we say juice) for thought below.

So what made you set up Green Beards?
Ray - I suppose a couple of years ago I became aware of juicing and although at the time I didn't know very much about it, I was curious as to why people who "juiced" seemed to rave about it so much.

Over the last few years I began to realise that the majority of the food which is convenient had very little nutritional value. Eating food which was actually heathy and fuelling my body was not always easily accessible and it was also expensive. I found it hard to eat well consistently as there are so many tasty temptations and also it's confusing at the beginning as there are so many conflicting messages about what is actually healthy and what's not, so I decided to take the plunge and try juicing. It seemed to make sense to me, if I could just add a whole load of raw fruit and veg to my diet in the form of a juice that I could have on the go it seemed like a great way to ensure I was eating better and also adding much more variety to my diet in the form of things like raw ginger, beetroot, kale, chard etc things which I wouldn't typically eat on a regular basis.

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Once I began juicing a few things happened, I was shocked at how much I liked the taste of them but mostly how much better I felt. I had so much more energy. I became that juice person who wanted to talk about juicing. I began to get into a routine of buying fruit and veg at farmers markets and having enough produce to last me the week. It was at this point that I flew over to visit Kevin, a friend of mine from college, who was living in London at the time. Kevin was in a similar place, he had been living in Toronto before London and over a pint we started chatting about diet, health and nutrition. Both Toronto and London were experiencing a huge interest in healthier convenient food and juice options and we chatted about the lack of it in Dublin.

From that conversation we began to research juice bars in other cities and began educating ourselves on what the best juice bars in the world were doing and experimenting with our own creations and it just grew from there really.



Why do you think juicing has become so popular?
Kev - While it seems almost clich? to say it, people nowadays have a lot less time on their hands and a lot more on their plate. Juicing fills a space which marries both the need for convenience with people's increased knowledge on nutrition and their desire to lead a healthier lifestyle. When you consider that one large juice can contain up to a kilo and a half of fresh produce, it?s easy to imagine how once a person, who previously may not have had a diet rich in fruit & vegetables, begins supplementing their diet with juice, will start to reap the benefits. Ray and I often joke about ?being addicted to juice? but I do think there is an element once you begin juicing and feeling its benefits, of beginning to crave juice and healthier foods in general.

Can you explain how cold pressing works?
Kev -?Serving cold-pressed juices has been a little bit of a challenge because we've had to educate some of our consumers as to what that is. We ask people who walk into Green Beards if they know about cold-pressed juices and its health benefits. This is not the same kind of juice people are used to. Cold-pressing involves juicers slowly crushing and pressing fruit and vegetables to extract the highest yield of liquid. The juicers don't produce much heat which leaves the nutrients intact, unlike the average centrifugal juice extractors which use fast spinning blades that generate a lot of heat, destroying some enzymes.

How is business for you now?
Ray - Since opening the reaction has been fantastic. We have only begun recently to keep up with demand as for the first few months we found it hard to keep our fridge stocked. More people than we expected that came into our shop already knew what cold press juice was and appreciated that we were organic and used recyclable glass bottles. Also we were surprised how diverse our customers are.

One of the things which a lot of people don't know is that unlike centrifugal juicers which can make juices to order, the cold pressed method takes hours to extract the juice as it uses hydraulic pressure and gently, slowly squeezes the juice out of our fruit and veg, so they see our juices in our fridge and ask if we have any fresh juices, when in fact these juices are of a much higher nutritional value than juices which are typically made to order using a centrifugal extractor.

Interesting! Can we expect more expansion?
Kev - Absolutely, we want to make it as easy as possible for people to grab one of our juices or smoothies on the go and we have had a lot of interest from people asking about opening in other locations.

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We look forward to it. And lastly, for those who've yet to try something at Green Beards, what's your most popular product?
Kev - Our most popular juice is probably "Green Love" Which is combination of leafy greens, kale, chard, spinach, parsley, lettuce with cucumber, lemon and apple. We recently introduced an all vegetable dark green juice called "The Boss" which contains a gamut of leafy greens and wild nettles, and we've been blown away by its popularity.

With regards to smoothies our most recent addition, Cafe Coyote, which is a blend of our Handmade almond milk, cold-brew coffee, almonds, banana, dates, oats and cinnamon has also been massively popular.

greenbeards.ie

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Here's hoping the lads at Green Beards expand right out to Dun Laoghaire so that we at IMAGE towers can avail of our juice a day!

Where would you like to see them open up? Have you been eager to incorporate juicing into your routine? Share your thoughts below.

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Caroline Foran @CarolineForan

Photos: Ailbhe O'Donnell

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