I’ve watched as coffee lovers become entrenched into brand camps. At first blush, this would seem to work to our advantage. We have a great brand, fully backed by the finest coffees that we can find. We have our own approach to sourcing and roasting, and those differences appear beautifully in the cup. People enjoy Metropolis coffee, and many have become fiercely loyal to our company. No complaints – we are fiercely loyal to our customers as well.
However, we feel that we are part of a new movement to move coffee forward, in a way that is both accessible to newbies, but also challenging, even for the nerdiest among us. Our peers in coffee are a small sub-set of the specialty coffee industry.
Roasters, Importers, Growers, Enthusiasts, and Retailers. You will find us hunched over workbenches modifying espresso equipment, in the fields in Rwanda checking out a crop of coffee, scraping down a roaster’s blower housing, and working with restaurateurs to tweak the brew. We work collaboratively in so many ways, but then, paradoxically, we compete viciously for wholesale and retail business. There is something about vicious competition that doesn’t sit quite right with me. It occurs to me that, if we work together, we can win more converts to our small but growing sub-set of coffee, and we can reach a tipping point in our coffee revolution.
Brewers Do It. Why Not Roasters?
Coffee nerds are often beer nerds, and I am no exception. I love beer. No, I mean, I REALLY love beer. I am inspired by strong flavors, by nuance, and by the language of beer. When i visit brew pubs, I am struck, almost without exception, that brew pubs throughout the land sell other brewers’ beers. Not as an homage, but because there are different approaches to beer build craft beer as a whole. In beer at least, collaboration is the new competition. As it should be with coffee, I believe.
That is why we have decided to offer exceptional coffees from other roasters at Metropolis Coffee Company Cafe. We will begin on Thursday, June 2nd, with two coffees from our sister to the south, Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea (of course!). Intelligentsia is perhaps our most famous peer, and deservedly so. They have pushed the envelope for over 15 years, and we owe a lot to their ground breaking work in the coffee industry. The two coffees are new crop coffees from El Salvador and Panama, and they will be available both as retail, and on our single cup brew bar. In the future, you will be able to taste coffees from the finest roasters throughout the land. Go ahead. Buy it. You won’t hurt our feelings!
Does this mean that we believe that our coffee sucks? That we believe that other roasters are better than Metropolis? Absolutely not. It means that a lot of roasters are doing great work, and that if we highlight that work, then more people will be more inclined to seek out great coffee wherever they go. This can only help our tiny industry.