In today’s world where everything that’s cool and hip seems to be attached to the word ‘indie’ – indie brands, indie mags, indie music, you name it – it often seems that big brands become more and more irrelevant if they don’t actively seek to reconnect with their target customers through a more local, personal and often physical approach. Just look at Amazon who recently opened it’s first bookshop in Seattle or supermarket chains like Marqt (in The Netherlands) who claim most of their products are locally sourced (debatable but you get the point).
Of course in specialty coffee most brands are local any way and even if they operate stores across the nation like in the case of Stumptown, Intelligentia or Blue Bottle in the US, they still create a completely unique character for themselves in each location.
In The Netherlands, one of the early pioneers in specialty coffee is Bocca, founded by the Simons brothers more than a decade ago. At first, like many coffee profs, Menno began roasting coffee on a small 15kg Probat roaster in his garage. Quickly, he started supplying local cafés and restaurants with his high quality and carefully roasted beans and before too long, Bocca grew to be one of the biggest specialty coffee roasters in the country.
DISCOVER THE BEST COFFEES IN THE WORLD FROM A BOX AT YOUR DOOR
Join our awesome coffee club today and receive a monthly coffee box with up to three incredible coffees from the world’s most exciting roasters. Plans start at €14 p/m plus shipping.
Menno and his brother Tewis take care of the brand Bocca and its business to business and business to consumer strategies while Menno is also involed in Trabocca, a seperate business that specializes in importing green coffee and maintains several high profile projects in places like Cabo Verde, Ethiopia and Indonesia.
Recently, the Bocca team opened in Amsterdam its own proper tasting, training and showroom. And indeed that’s what it is. Located in an unassuming garage on the Kerkstraat, the space is anything if not spectacular. High ceilings, lots of light and wood create a warm atmosphere that is completed by state of the art coffee equipment and some of the most talented baristas in town, many of whom even worked at our filter coffee bar over the summer. You know who you are guys.
During my chat with Menno the other day when we enjoyed a cup of Bocca’s very own Fogo espresso from Cabo Verde (one of the very few in the world to source small batch specialty coffee from these islands), he explained that the main raison d’etre of this space was to bring Bocca closer to its customers, be they entrepreneurs interested in serving its coffees or consumers who are keen to find out what’s behind the brand with the woman drinking coffee on its label.
Menno also stressed that him and his brother are not experts on how to create the perfect bar but they employ great baristas with decades of experience that help to advise customers on what to put where. No costs were spared to make this room superlative in every sense of the word. The Bocca store is the only place in the world where you’ll find a four group La Marzocco Strada, especially developed for them. There’s also a three group Synesso, a Linea used for trainings and every kind of slow brew equipment you can think of.
For any barista with the right ambition this place is a total playground and for any customer with any kind of curiosity about great coffee can just sit down at the bar and watch the magic unfold at the hands of local coffee legends like Vinni, Julia and more.
Oh, and I might add, the coffee’s also great!
All images courtesy of Bocca.