Perhaps one of our most intriguing interviews at Brewtoria has been this chat with Admiral Coffee House's Beth Williams, @misshgtraveling Beth, and the team at Admiral Coffee House are passionate about coffee, but what came across during our twitter conversation was their focus on delighting their customers and patrons. Sit back, relax, pour your favorite coffee and enjoy!
Brewtoria: Tell me a bit about Admiral Coffee House
Beth Williams: ‘Admiral Coffee House’ was originally conceived as the private, high-end reception service for a boutique financial planning firm. The firm found a need for a reception service after outsourcing their office work of filing, taking calls, etc.. Although outsourcing picked up efficiency in their offices, when they were meeting with a client, it appeared that the office was closed! So they decided that although a coffee shop of this quality wouldn’t cash flow without being subsidized, they would commit to it fully because they ultimately wanted this fantastic experience and involvement into their clients. The clients LOVED the quieter atmosphere, the service, and the products so much, they began to use it themselves beyond having a meeting with the firm! Now we have grown so much from demand, that we have the ability to serve more than just the clients we originally intended to serve. We are still primarily a reception service, so we aim to serve 30-50 extraordinary cups of coffee each day and are offering only 100 memberships to our ideal customer: the “discerning adult”.
BW: We serve both! During our normal hours, we serve a proprietary, 4 bean blend for our “slow bar” brewing methods and an 8 bean blend for espresso, created by our roaster who is located 100 miles from the Boise area. We are very proud of these blends! We work with single origin roasters here in the Boise area for our monthly held (and always sold out!) cuppings where we teach about coffee origins, new blends, tasting notes, and of course: brewing methods!
Brew: In addition to having great coffee, Admiral Coffee House seems to have connected strongly (from an experience standpoint) with customers. Can you talk about what you do in an effort to connect with people to enhance their experience at Admiral?
BW: “Experience” IS our product. While you’re here, we attempt to emulate our belief that every day is a special occasion to enjoy the “finer things in life”. Be that a beautiful coffee, a good book, a vinyl record, or especially, good quality humans to be in a community with. We “sponsor” several groups that come in simply to share in a hobby and to experience a relaxing afternoon together. Coffee is the medium we use to create a “good excuse to get together”. When it does come to serving coffee: we (the staff of Admiral Coffee House) set out to create a “20 minute vacation” for our customers by providing, for example, table-side service and table reservations. Life is too busy and rushed these days. We want to assist in slowing down, taking a minute for yourself, maybe visiting with a friend, and then set out on your journey ready to go. We’ll be here for you as a safe harbor.
Brew: Some of your reviews mention that you like to develop new coffee drinks. Do you experiment during slow times, or are you always thinking of new drinks to concoct?
BW: Most of my creations are actually inspired by my members! Along with a membership, I personally meet with the new member to create what we call a “My Menu”. I’ll go through and show them what they have available to them as products and get to know THEM and what flavors, drinks, and tastes they like (It’s by far my favorite meeting!). You’d be amazed at what we come up with in that time together! Past that, I’m greatly inspired by seasonal changes and, oddly enough, alcoholic cocktails.
Brew: Did your love of coffee change after you started Admiral? I am curious when a passion turns into a career, does it change the way you feel about it?
BW: Yes, dramatically! I started in the industry because I loved how coffee brought people together.. I still love that about coffee, but my personal love for coffee developed into an appreciation of it forcing me to be present. And, I brew everything manually because of that reason. Change is a constant, inevitable part of life and that’s very obvious in brewing coffee: pressure changes, moisture changes, dosage, and even my mood are all factors. I HAVE to adjust to what the coffee, water, and air is doing right NOW, not 10 minutes ago. Ultimately, I now understand and love that coffee is best when you are enjoying it presently. Let everything else go.
Brew: Who’s the most interesting person you’ve shared a coffee with?
BW: I’ve met some amazing people while working in the specialty coffee industry. I’ve created lifelong friendships with customers who have changed me forever! The most interesting though, last year I had the honor of the 6th generation of Italian coffee roasters, all brothers, in just to try my 8 bean blend. It was beyond an honor for me to serve them!
Brew: When you’re out of town and away from Admiral what kind of coffee do you order at a coffee shop?
BW: I’ll typically order a doppio espresso to taste smell and assess the beans, a latte’ to experience the quality, skill, and understanding of foaming milk from the barista, and a signature drink (usually I’ll ask the barista for their recommendation) to see how creative they are!
Brew: Have any of the guys from Built to Spill came in for a coffee?
BW: I had no idea who that was until you asked! Had to Google them. So, no, not to my knowledge...I’m not certain I’d recognize them if they did! My preference in music is rather “vintage” (classical, big band, old Broadway, and stops at about Billy Joel..I was a vinyl collector before it was “hip”!)
Brew: Lastly, if you could have coffee with any baseball player who would that be?
Beth can be found on Twitter at @misshgtraveling and when in the Meridian/Boise area be sure to check out Admiral Coffee House. As always Brewtoria is looking for more people to share their love of coffee. If your story needs to be heard, feel free to contact us at email@example.com or on twitter @brewtoria. Enjoy your coffee!