A tryst with coffee

A tryst with coffee

By Armaan Reet

A tryst with coffee

For the last couple of years, I've been consuming copious amounts of coffee in its different facets. From the humble espresso from the Coffee Day machine at the Uber office, to the Cold Fashioned from Third Wave during my time at Dunzo and back to Blue Tokai from the machine they had at the WeWork location we used to work out of at CRED. I used to drink coffee to keep my energy levels up at all times, and soon got to a point where I couldn't do with out my two cups a day. Be it the first cup in the morning, to the last one I would forcefully have to stay awake. Thus began my tryst with coffee. 

When I started BONOMI last July, I knew coffee would be a big play for us, eventually. We were already using it in all of our cocktail boxes. My personal bias had crept in. However, I had limited understanding of it. It's process. It's complexity. How it be handled. How users were drinking it. I did not know where to start. At the same time, there seemed to be a lot happening in the coffee space around me. Every second advertisement on Instagram was a new coffee brand, coffee shops were raising large amounts of $$ (they even started subscriptions - I was truly amazed), brands were no longer pushing out the same old communication, but were truly pushing the envelope on product and communication via storytelling. In conversations, I was hearing words such as 'speciality', 'chemex', 'single origin', 'cold brew' and more. I did not understand them at the time, and still continue to learn with the help of some amazing folks who work at BONOMI and other specialists (more on the same below). 

I immediately got to work, read as much as I could, spoke with as many people who were active in the industry, and continued to consume ridiculous amounts of coffee (still have a long way to go). This led to us launching our cold brew at BONOMI earlier this year in April. Amongst all the people I spoke to, three of them significantly contributed to the cold brew coffee we now sell today. 

  • Sarath, a barista I met at Third Wave, CMH Road who would peak over my shoulder and ask me a minimum of 10 questions each day I was there. He joined SLAY Coffee post Third Wave for a short stint, post which he joined us in December 2020. 
  • Vardhman, an ex colleague from Uber. I remember while most of us would carry laptop chargers to meetings, Vardhman would carry roasted coffee beans, filter papers, a small manual grinder and a weighing machine to accurately measure the amount of coffee per cup, and would brew a pour over in the midst of it. 
  • Suhas, the founder at Benki Brewing Tools and Speciality Coffee Academy of India. Sarath and I did a detailed course at the Speciality Coffee Academy of India to understand all things coffee, with a focus on speciality coffee in January 2021. We continue to work with him to roast our beans and buy equipment from Benki Brewing Tools. 

We launched our cold brew coffee in a Classic, Jaggery & Roasted Almond cold brew. We've heard from everyone who has tried it that the roasted almond cold brew is an absolute winner. We have a long way to go, and still feel like it is only day 0. As I write this, I am sipping on a classic cold brew on a warm, still Sunday afternoon, itching to get back to the grind once this lockdown ends.  

Thank you for reading. 
Kanpai,
Armaan