Fishtown company aims to reanimate coffee drinkers

A blend of pas­sions is mak­ing for an in­ter­est­ing brew in Fishtown.

Mark Capri­otti roasts Re­An­im­at­or Cof­fee, Thursday, Au­gust 4, 2011.

While cof­fee is a ubi­quit­ous pres­ence in most people’s daily routines, two Fishtown cof­fee afi­cion­ados are work­ing to show java drink­ers some new ways to think about their brew. 

Mark Capri­otti and Mark Cor­pus launched their own mi­cro-roast­er com­pany, Re­An­im­at­or Cof­fee, late last year, a ven­ture that grew or­gan­ic­ally from their love of cof­fee and pas­sion for in­de­pend­ent pro­duc­tion.  

“We both brew our own beer and Mark was very in­to good, fresh cof­fee — spe­cific­ally lightly roas­ted, single-ori­gin cof­fee — and he star­ted roast­ing his own be­cause you couldn’t really get that in Phil­adelphia at the time,” Capri­otti said.

“Around Novem­ber of last year, he in­vited me over to watch him roast and we got talk­ing about turn­ing it in­to a busi­ness and the next thing you know, we’re buy­ing a roast­er and get­ting it go­ing.” 

Once the pair, both 28, got their roast­er, they began ex­per­i­ment­ing, buy­ing beans from an im­port­er and cre­at­ing in­di­vidu­al­ized “roast pro­files.”

“The pro­file is ba­sic­ally how you roast it, how long and at what tem­per­at­ure and stuff like that,” Capri­otti said. “We try to find the pro­file that we think fits the bean and brings out its best fla­vors.” 

They hook a laptop up to the roast­er and plot com­pon­ents like tem­per­at­ure vs. time and, when they come upon a roast they like, save it for re­pro­duc­tion. 

The roasts the pair con­cen­trates on are con­sidered “Third Wave,” a light­er product that usu­ally fo­cuses on single-ori­gin beans, as op­posed to a blend, which, Capri­otti noted, helps bring out the “nu­anced fla­vor” of the bean. 

Cur­rently Re­An­im­at­or’s beans are im­por­ted from such loc­ales as Hon­dur­as, Costa Rica, Guatem­ala and Ethiopia. 

The com­pany sells its roasts at the Over­brook Farms Farm­ers’ Mar­ket, Greens­grow Farm Mar­ket, Circles Caf&ea­cute; in New­bold, Green Aisle Gro­cery in East Passy­unk and, since Ju­ly 31, Quince Fine Foods in North­ern Liber­ties. 

Cus­tom­ers can also or­der on­line and have their fa­vor­ite roast de­livered — via bike — dir­ectly to their home, with Re­An­im­at­or avail­able for de­liv­ery to most places in the city. 

Capri­otti and Cor­pus both have non-cof­fee-re­lated full-time jobs — as an en­gin­eer and at a fin­ance com­pany, re­spect­ively — so their Re­An­im­at­or work is just be­gin­ning after their day jobs wrap up.

“We’re really spend­ing pretty much all of our free time right now on Re­An­im­at­or,” Capri­otti said. “Of course, we’d want this busi­ness to be our main in­come but we have no de­lu­sions about how long that’s go­ing to take.”

This month the pair is mak­ing an en­hanced push to reach out to area caf&ea­cute;s and gro­cers to en­list them in selling Re­An­im­at­or products. 

While Capri­otti and Cor­pus are eager to share their products, they’re also look­ing to share with cof­fee drink­ers, both vet­er­an and new, the idea that a true cof­fee ex­per­i­ence is of­ten not avail­able with­in the large, chain caf&ea­cute;s. 

“Real cof­fee doesn’t taste like the cof­fee that most people are used to,” Capri­otti said. 

Capri­otti noted that one Re­An­im­at­or cus­tom­er sug­ges­ted that the products were more re­min­is­cent of a tea than a cof­fee and, while he doesn’t ne­ces­sar­ily share that sen­ti­ment, he said it il­lus­trates that many mod­ern cof­fee drink­ers aren’t ac­cus­tomed to real, fresh cof­fee. 

“I don’t think it’s like tea at all but I think ba­sic­ally that idea is com­ing from the fact that it has all these fla­vors and people are sur­prised by that and not used to that,” he said. “We want to edu­cate people like those who are Star­bucks drink­ers who think they’re drink­ing really great cof­fee but they may not see that there are a lot of oth­er op­tions out there where you can taste a lot more of the nu­anced fla­vors.”

The pair is also seek­ing to im­part their know­ledge of brew­ing tech­niques with a new audi­ence.  

On the com­pany’s Web site, Re­An­im­at­or de­tails the ba­sics of such brew­ing tech­niques as pour-over and French-press, as well as best prac­tices for iced cof­fee and the ins and outs of grind­ing equip­ment — guides they’re also plan­ning to dis­trib­ute with their products.  

“We’re try­ing to edu­cate people on the taste of the beans, brew­ing meth­ods and the equip­ment it­self,” Capri­otti said. “Every­body’s tastes are dif­fer­ent, but we ba­sic­ally want to open people up to a dif­fer­ent way of brew­ing cof­fee so they don’t just go home and grind it, dump it in a drip ma­chine and push a but­ton. There can be a lot of oth­er ways to en­joy it.” 

For more in­form­a­tion on Re­An­im­at­or, vis­it­an­im­at­or­cof­ and fol­low the com­pany on Face­book and Twit­ter.•• 

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