This Friday, March 18, we're soft-launching the Coffee Club. It's a new adventure about a month in the making, with the mission to make your breakfasts just as bright as they were when you were digging that toy out of the cereal box.
We met with our friend and local roaster Larry Anzuoni at his flagship cafe, Leyden Street Coffee, a stone's throw from us in downtown Plymouth, MA. After years of experience repairing professional coffee equipment, he started roasting his own craft brews and opened a shop for people who legitimately love good coffee.
Naturally, we were thrilled when he asked us about a collaboration. John began thinking about Red Rose Tea's little ceramic figurines, which used to come in every box. His grandmother collected them avidly, and he got to join in the excitement of opening the boxes to see what treasure was inside. Eventually, this became one of his cherished memories of her. Couldn't we recreate something like that with our pins?
Getting into the grind
First things first: it takes only a day or two's notice to freshly roast and bag our coffee to order, but it takes far longer to make those enamel pins. So right away, I had to get started putting in a few new designs, expecting them to show up about a month later.
Next up was label designing and ordering. I got through a 3rd draft of an elaborate design featuring Rover perched on the rim of a mug, surrounded by coffee leaves, berries, and flowers, with a row of ants carrying roasted beans below. John thought the snail looking at the viewer was unsettling (he thinks their faces are creepy, and he likes it when the snail looks off in the distance). I said it didn't make sense if the snail was looking away from the coffee. A whole discussion was head on the logistics and absurdity of the scene I had created. I threw my arms up and gave myself a couple days to rethink the whole thing.
Mulling over some of the existing designs and themes from the world we've created, I came back once again to the Winter Wonder mountains. This was a design that took a lot of time, practicing and staring at various pictures of mountainsides and trying different methods of drawing them. I was always very happy with the finished result.
I imagined the start of that adventure, with the snail perched at the edge of a cliff, admiring those peaks from afar in the rising sun, with a hot beverage in foot. It came together quickly within the day, and with both of us happy at last, we got the label order in the can.
It's all in the details
A few weeks after the initial meeting, it was time to join up again and go over some of the details to be sure we were all ready for the first round of signups. The site and subscription setup was ready to go for the soft launch. We discussed other things to add in the near future, like home brewing recipes and tips.
One question that came up a lot after our announcement was whether we would offer pre-ground coffee. And we're excited to say: no! Leyden Street's core belief is that pre-ground is not fresh, and we agree. We only want the best coffee and the best pins to get to you in the mail, so it's whole beans only from us.
Pour me one for the road
One big topic on our minds, now that festivals, fairs, and trade shows are opening back up to the world again, was how to bring coffee samples on the road. Serving a little taste of the new Coffee Club is on our "must do" list when we start tabling again. We began to ask about the best portable equipment for grinding, brewing, keeping the coffee warm...
Of course, we were overthinking it completely. Larry's solution was perfectly simple: cold brew in a Cambro, bro. Well, that was a weight off our shoulders.
Hitting the road for the first time in years is an exciting thought. For now, though, summer days and milling crowds still seem like a distant dream. We're putting our heads down and getting everything ready for the soft launch this Friday of the Coffee Club. Hope you'll join us on this first little step!