Back in 1993 my father was faced with a dilemma: keep the business as a specialty food store and continue to sell specialty foods like cheeses, meats, grains, bulk coffee and tea, or focus more on coffee roasting. Starbucks and Peete's were changing what people thought of coffee and were creating an experience of the "The Third Place" where you could grab a cup of coffee and hang out. To my father's credit he felt that his experience in coffee roasting would set him apart from the other coffee chains and so he decided to slowly transition away from specialty foods and emphasize on coffee roasting. In 1995 he remodeled the store to its current look and never looked back.
It has now been 20 years since the last remodel, and with our new rebrand we need to start thinking about some cosmetic changes as well. As I think about how I want to remodel the store I thought it would be interesting to see what the store looked like back in 1993 before any major changes were made. Enjoy the show.
The House Of Coffee uniform. Cream colored shirt, red tie, and of course the name tag. My father says this was his idea to convey a professional appearance.
Starting from the back of the store, our old roaster. She roasted 10lbs of coffee at a time, compared to our current San Franciscan which cranks out 25lbs per batch.
The old display refrigerator housed olives, cheeses, and meats. If you look behind the counter you can see that a Cappuccino was selling for $1.50.
A better view of the House Of Coffee uniform modeled by Henry himself. The old espresso machine sits at the back wall. There are two handles sticking up leaning against the map. Back then you had to manually apply the water pressure for espresso shots by pulling down on those handles.
Moving closer to the store center, chocolate covered cherries and espresso beans, licorice candy, and mints. This was my favorite part of the store. In 1993 the concept of a store just selling drip coffee was rare. The small table at the front of the counter was where drip coffee was served.
In the 80's and early 90's coffee was roasted light. Notice how only the first bin has dark roasted beans. It was only when Starbucks and Peete's started focusing on the rich, dark roast that we noticed a trend and slowly shifted our roasting profiles.
And now a view from the front entrance. The wall on the right side is filled with canned food items like jams, tomato paste, vinegar, and rose water. A large fan directly above the old roaster was necessary to cool down the store after a roast. The small white coffee pot on the left side was the extent of our coffee service.
A familiar smile and iconic coffee scale. Welcome to House Of Coffee.
As we transition to a new look and feel, I am excited to be a part of it this time around and look forward to many more memories.