Effort, experiments, elation, and exhaustion — here’s a snapshot of an extremely exciting month of August at BONOMI
As we approach the close of the year, and find ourselves at the cusp of some major leaps, there’s also been plenty of learning for our founders, especially on the fronts of the dogged effort to be better every day, without burning out, while also ensuring that we are able to match pace with the growth we’ve been building towards, here at BONOMI. In fact, they jokingly claimed that the pair have switched places in mindset since July — where Vardhman was grappling with challenges and Armaan was in an enthusiastic space, August has been a flipped scenario.
For Armaan, in his own words, he’s championing the value of “taking time off” and “recharging batteries” as consistently as he can, given that the month of August really took it out of him. “It’s been tiring both in a bad way and a good way. The bad way being the physical exhaustion, but the good way is in knowing that we have so much more distribution to do, now! And just the thought of how much effort goes into achieving that distribution is exhausting, but in a good way.”
Within the month of August, Armaan’s biggest learning as a founder has been to understand and respect the value that everyone in the team attaches to their time that they invest in BONOMI, and he hopes that the month of September brings more product hygiene and hiring-based hygiene, so that the team that comes together then champions the distribution agenda from July, and takes it forward for the rest of 2022, with the hope that the growth is more a function of efficiency rather than just pure hustle.
Vardhman understands that exhaustion, and echoes it, but knows that it doesn’t get to him. “I am still excited about doing this, and working with coffee, and I think we have lot of exciting things happening, whether it’s the upcoming developments that the production team is working on, or the fact that we’ve successfully launched our specialities for the year in the form of HomeGround, with the Mooleh Manay Estate coffees launched, and two more to go within the month of September,” he says, adding that August has been a month of “celebrating small wins” for him.
Grateful to the hardworking production team that’s working to crack experiments for scale and improvement of the product, Vardhman’s hopes for the month to come are that they’re able to follow through on major plans that are being laid out behind closed doors. But his greatest gratitude now goes to the internet as a “free and available resource” where he’s managed to learn the power of networking and research. Recounting an instance where Vardhman reached out to someone via Reddit to understand their research on cold brew coffee better, he says, “people are very willing to share information through the internet, and if you just reach out, ask the right questions, and are obsessed with finding a solution to the problem at hand, you will find a way.”
And that, if nothing else, is the kind of optimism the whole team at BONOMI hopes to carry into September!
The Brew Gone By…
We kicked off the month of August with an exciting collaboration to take us into the month. Partnering with Arbor Brewing Company, we launched their 2022 edition of the Espresso Love Stout, which was a beer brewed with our cold brew coffee in it. This isn’t the first time Arbor has collaborated with an up and coming coffee brand, with Third Wave Coffee and Blue Tokai being previous participants. But for us, it was not only a way to take our partnership with Arbor to another level, but also a way for Vardhman to realise a dream — that of brewing a beer with coffee in it, combining two of his greatest loves.
The process was delightful and easy, with two chief brewers, Vardhman and Hollis Coats, coming together to realise a limited batch stout. And launching it on International Beer Day (August 5) only felt apt. The evening was nothing short of euphoric, with friends of BONOMI and Arbor, all together in a room, sampling the stout, and sharing the love, in an exclusive event. Speeches were made, and the dream team of Armaan, Vardhman, Hollis, and Gaurav Sikka, who owns Arbor Brewing Company, were all smiles all throughout.
It still makes us rather joyous, if we’re ever at Arbor and spot someone at a table drinking the stout, and enjoying the “Cold, Dark, and Brilliant” brew fresh off the tap. And we hope that this is only the first of many such collaborations, that bring dreams to life, and bring friends together for a celebration for the ages.
And closer to the end of August, we found ourselves in yet another fun collaboration with panel quiz wizzes, India Wants To Know, headed by Sai Ganesh. On August 21, we tried our hand at hosting a pub quiz at Arbor, with BBQ - BONOMI Brunch Quiz. With 17 teams of 3 each, and a raucously entertaining session of old-style pub quizzing on pop culture, it was great to interact with the quizzing community, and have them fuel up with cold brew coffees, as they quizzed the day away. Needless to say, it was a great first run at trying something new!
Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about the graft that went behind bringing our speciality cold brew coffees to life for 2022. And this year, as part of HomeGround, which is our endeavour to celebrate Indian coffee estates with limited release cold brew coffees, we kicked off the proceedings with coffees sourced from the Mooleh Manay Estate in Coorg.
Vardhman had tried the Naturals Sun-Dried coffee from the estate and fell in love with it, instantly. The fruity notes of the sustainable shade grown coffees had him bowled over, and he waited for years before he could collaborate with Komal Sable and Akshay Dashrath over at South India Coffee Company, and bring their Mooleh Manay Estate coffees to BONOMI.
For the speciality cold brew coffees, Vardhman brought in the naturals sun dried processed coffees, and the honey processed coffee, and created two stellar variants. In wanting to honour the fruity nature of the naturals, it was critical that Vardhman got the brewing bang on, once our Roaster, Nirupam Ranjan (from BerryCo and Shades of Coffee) was able to get the beans to the right colour and quality, to ensure that they didn’t lose their core flavour profile.
With the honey processed coffee, Vardhman’s key belief was to work to best celebrate the earthy, tea-like notes of the beans themselves, and ensure that he constantly reiterates that a honey-processed coffee doesn’t have honey in it :) The musellage from the coffee itself is called the honey, which creates a layer around the bean when dried in the sun, and bringing that eclectic flavour to the fore, while experimenting with the right grind sizes, was a task that Vardhman and the team thoroughly enjoyed. And we really hope that you do too!
Brew Of The Month
For August, we’re celebrating none other than the first of our HomeGround speciality cold brew coffees from the Mooleh Manay Estate. Within each purchase, you get 500ml each of the Naturals Sun-Dried Processed, and the Honey Processed cold brew coffees, so you can try them both! The artwork on the labels was created by the lovely Vasundhara C, whose work you can check out here. You can get your batch of the Mooleh Manay Estate Speciality Cold Brew Coffees Here.