1004 Gourmet CEO Chang Sup Shin discusses Kaffe Bloom‘s UAE market presence, products and more.
What makes your coffee product special?
Our products include high-quality coffee beans from The Barn, an award-winning roastery based in Berlin. The unique single origins to try are Volcan Azul from Costa Rica with notes of dried fig and vanilla; Ivory PB from Kenya with a sweeter jammy taste of blackberry and cane sugar; as well as Elida Estate Geisha from Panama with flavours of peach, black tea and floral.
Blot Coffee is another well-known coffee brand that’s imported from Seoul. The single origins they have are once a year, limited-edition roasts. Must-try combinations are Damarli Estate Anaerobic from Panama with notes of tropical fruit, red plum and watermelon; Shakisso Natural from Guji Ethiopia with a hint of lavender, grapes and blueberry; lastly, La Riveria Geisha from Colombia with a floral essence with black tea and orange.
What innovations have you introduced to the UAE market?
We’re not reinventing the way coffee is brewed, but are trying to enhance the experience the consumer has before drinking the coffee. We like to work with a variety of roasters who work directly with small farms that grow very special coffee with incredible flavours. Providing six to eight different varieties or origins of coffee beans on a monthly basis is a challenge, but we love learning about and selecting the beans every time.
By doing so, our customers can try different flavour profiles of the farm and the roaster, and every month it will change. If the beans are out of season, they will have to wait until next year as every batch is limited.
We also make sure the beans are calibrated to optimal quality, so that we can make the most out of the brew. That means testing different grind sizes and the volume of coffee and the temperature, as well as the extraction so that we can maximise the flavour that comes out of that cup. Learning about our ethos and processes from farm to cup is what our customers come to Kaffe Bloom for and this is how we innovate the experience of drinking coffee.
Tell us more about ‘going green’ and what it means for the brand.
Sustainability is one of the foundations of specialty coffee. Whether it’s making sure the coffee we buy is at a price that’s reasonable for the roaster and the farm, or ensuring that the roasters take an approach to reinvest in the farms to improve their technology is some of the ways we approach sustainability.
We also believe in creating a sustainable local business environment by working with ingredients and products from homegrown local concepts and even collaborating with them for a one-time event.
What are some of the main challenges you’ve faced in the wake of Covid-19?
The lower capacity to seat customers is the first challenge, which leads to lower sales. In response to this, we have focused more on marketing on online platforms. Also, Covid has led to a lot of customers being more selective about their spending, which has resulted in less dining out and ordering in.
So, we have made affordable meal options for people who want a healthy meal at a reasonable price. There are also extra added costs of serving food on disposable plates and cutlery which adds to our bottom line.
What’s in the pipeline?
We’re always trying to come up with new, interesting ideas to retain customers and capture their attention on a consistent basis. One of the best ways since April has been our cooking classes. We have created a great educational platform for our customers to learn how to cook Asian food in their homes by sending ingredient kits and doing cooking classes over Zoom.
Besides that, we’re continuously developing new dishes such as our soy-cured salmon and popular side dishes we’ve been selling since our new Korean chef joined us in August.
Finally, we hope to collaborate with local chefs and brands to create interesting events and dishes for our customers.