Outside the box
WAKE ME UP AND FUCK ME UP
As we creep into another lockdown we are on the brink of launching our new product - coffee concentrate. A product that came about from the growing demand for an alternative for fresh espresso in an Espresso Martini. For bartenders and home consumers alike. Once we had created the concentrate, we realised that its versatility stretches far beyond Espresso Martinis. But before we talk about that, I thought I’d give a brief history of the relationship between coffee and alcohol and why we’ve taken interest.
First and foremost the appeal of coffee is in its function. The undeniable reason for drinking coffee is for a dose of the most widely used recreational drug - caffeine. We drink coffee to wake up. Not the typical pitch from a coffee company I know. We have a deep appreciation for every aspect of coffee consumption, from sourcing, to roasting, to brewing. We can talk about coffee in the nerdy way, but in the interest of understanding macro consumption trends, the main appeal of coffee is its function.
Like other recreational stimulants, the UK can’t seem to get enough — with London being the main driver. As much as my mum tries to tell me otherwise, traditional and habitual tea drinking will eventually be overtaken by its much stronger sibling. And as our tolerance for caffeine goes up, so too does our disregard for etiquette and convention. Our grandparents may only drink one cup a week (usually espresso ground illy in a cafetiere), but you’ll find young commuters three cups in before they’ve even got to their creative co-working sustainable workplace. Hence Pret’s five-coffees-a-day subscription model. So with the younger drinking more coffee, at increasingly regular intervals, and in less typical situations, it’s no wonder that coffee consumption is smashing through the watershed and finding its way into our cocktails.
The Espresso Martini is sexy, edgy and mysterious. The drink’s growing popularity is obvious. It’s delicious. It has mainstream appeal because it’s sweet, flavourful and functional. Unlike other mainstream cocktails, the enthusiasm for this drink can be found at both a Wetherspoons and in The Groucho. Its fairy-tale beginnings sound like a plot for a perfume advert — which helped catapult the coupe into the hands of taste makers. The demand forced traditional cocktail bars to keep up and put their twist on the modern, non-conformist beverage. It helped that most of these traditional cocktail bars were run by Italian people (who are the self proclaimed kings of coffee) — the Espresso Martini being the perfect fit.
Coffee and Alcohol are a partnership that are here to stay. And for many bartenders and restaurateurs this has resulted in a steep and painful learning curve. Mainly because they’re used to sourcing the finest ingredients and then making their signature recipe cocktails with those ingredients. The issue is that sourcing a “good” coffee is only half the battle, they then need to learn how to prepare the perfect coffee consistently. And so do all their staff. The issue with lighter roast speciality coffee is its volatility, it can taste sweet and aromatic one minute and sour and insipid the next. I think for this reason high end bars and restaurants have been the last to make the transition from Italian roast bitter and ashy coffee. At least Italian roast coffee tastes bad ALL the time.
This is exactly why we created our Coffee Concentrate. To give bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts the opportunity to have speciality coffee without the faff. We’ve focussed on making great coffee more accessible by eliminating as many variables as possible. By offering the finished product ready for use. We didn’t want to create a ready-to-drink Espresso Martini as this completely undermines the bartender’s skills, we just want to offer them the finest ingredients so they can consistently serve delicious Espresso Martinis. Their recipe, their abilities, our ingredient. We know that the hospitality industry wants to modernise and up their coffee game, and don’t know where to start. This is why our product brings contemporary taste preferences and coffee expertise in the most accessible form.
What we didn’t realise, is that it’s not just bartenders that are looking for speciality coffee without the faff. And that a perfectly brewed espresso is the base of much more than an Espresso Martini.