Coffee. Concept. Convenience. These three ideas will coagulate into one indoor storefront proffered by a barista from Cleveland whose making coffee in the nation’s capital of Washington. The idea, one of many hatching by Adam JacksonBey, a barista of color, whose current twitter handles claims an ode to the magic of a moment. Coffee is magical. And it is so because of the hands that turn the method of crafting the flavor of a coffee cherry into a drink of art. Today, I share with you an Interview with Adam JacksonBey about his new coffee concept within a convenience store. Come along.
chérmelle d. edwards.: You’re creating a coffee concept within a convenience store. I love it!
It feels like your concept could be something out of a T.V. show, like a multi-melanin Cheers, or the vibe of a secret store, Virgil Abloh style but in the back of an east coast bodega, or something like the Cereal and Such idea happening alongside Virgil Normal – the menswear store, near a ‘corner in Los Angeles.’
Is it culturally safe to say your twitter handle currently takes a music cue from The Drifters ‘This Magic Moment’?
Adam JacksonBey: Hahaha, yes, it does. I change it every month or so, I have a file in the Notes app with some idea of names I want to use, but this one came in my head and I felt it would work.
c.: It does work! Tell me, why did you choose to do a GoFundMe versus a Kickstarter? Do you already have the funds you need to start up?
ajb: I don’t really have an actual preference between GoFundMe and Kickstarter but I have a friend who had a Kickstarter not hit their goal, and they didn’t get any of the money, so that shook me from doing it. I have a lot of the funds that I need, and a few back up plans in case the investors that I have fall through.
c.: This is true about the platforms. I like the idea of some versus all or nothing. When did this idea hatch for you? And, when did you decide to take a leap of faith and just go for it?
ajb: I’ve had this concept for about 5 years, and I’ve been tweaking it for a while. This is really a combination of two different concepts that I had: I have a concept that could/would work for an entire convenience store, and one of my first concepts was basically a coffee cart, but on the streets of DC that I couldn’t figure out how to get it right.
I have 3-4 other concepts that I’m working on as well and hopefully I’ll get a chance to execute some of them as well.
I kind of decided to go for it when I felt myself stagnating in life at my old job. And, I tend to like to take on new challenges when I have these phases.
That would be lovely to see. I’ve found that people with a concept usually have more than iteration of it or multiple concepts. Design wise, what will be its trope or the aesthetic that it will take on?
ajb: The idea right now is very utilitarian, just a coffee machine, grinder and one person making coffee 6 days a week. The space will probably change as I change so it’s cool.
c.: You competed in this years’ specialty coffee competition in Austin this year. There you said something that resonated and was true, “Nothing worthwhile is created without love.” Did competing influence your desire to have a space of your own?
ajb.: I think that competing was a natural end for me. I am a naturally competitive person and I love coffee and creating. It did influence the idea to open a shop some, because I got kind of addicted to making and creating signature beverages and wanted to play through that idea more, but I wanted to have a place of my own for about 3 years now.
c.: Fist bump to progressing to ownership. You’re very vocal and expressive on Twitter, often sharing your opinions in coffee and beyond. Will your space be a place for the same? Will your coffee shop be like a pulpit for you to expound upon current ideas, topics and waves in the industry but without judgment and a gavel, lol?
ajb: I honestly don’t think I’m that vocal or expressive because I tone down who I am on Twitter a bit from who I am in real life. So I think that my space, or any space that I occupy in a professional way, will be a place for discussion and thought and expanding any current ideas. I have feelings and thoughts about the industry for sure, but some of those aren’t appropriate for work.
ajb: But the ones that are, will definitely be discussed in the shop.
c.: Can you talk to me a little about your menu? It’s multi-dimensional, including drinks outside of coffee and tea “hot chocolate in the winter, and lemonade and fruit punch in the summer– and rotating signature espresso beverages as well.” What were the reasons behind this?
ajb: I know a lot of people that are not fans of coffee yet, so I wanted to give them a reason to come into the shop to begin, and hopefully move them into becoming coffee customers. If not, multiple avenues of income are not a bad thing.
c.: That last remark is how the entrepreneur wins, even in coffee.
ajb: Also playing with and developing non-caffeinated drinks will help me with creating more sig bevs.
c.: Lastly, it looks like you’re aiming to bring some new-new to D.C. What’s ‘old’ if we may say, that requires a brand new experience that will be delivered by the moments you’re conceptualizing?
ajb.: I think coffee is moving forward rapidly, so you kind of have to take control of opportunities and moments when they happen. I think coffee is something that is very dynamic, so there isn’t anything “old” per say, but there is an opportunity for new things to be done, so that we can move forward as an industry.
Forward and Upward.