ReAnimator: what’s all the buzz about?

Fishtown's new Re­an­im­at­or Cafe is of­fi­cially open­ing on Au­gust 10, of­fer­ing a vari­ety of de­li­cious cof­fee brews made with beans roas­ted in Kens­ing­ton.

The staff at Re­An­im­at­or hard at work brew­ing their own sig­na­ture cof­fee. SEAN KEAR­NEY / STAR PHOTO

Cof­fee roast­ers are no strangers to the Phil­adelphia area. Loc­al folks like Re­An­im­at­or Cof­fee Roast­ers have their beans brewed in a vari­ety of caf&ea­cute;s around town, and can be found on the shelves of many of the area’s su­per­mar­kets. 

Go­ing bey­ond roast­ing and selling bags of their cof­fee, the people at Re­An­im­at­or have opened their first caf&ea­cute;, at 1523 E. Susque­hanna Ave., to show­case their spe­cialty, pour-over style cof­fee. 

The pour-over style is one of the most tra­di­tion­al ways to brew cof­fee. The grounds are placed in a wet fil­ter, and then on top of the spout of a large con­tain­er. Then, a kettle of wa­ter is heated up and poured over the grounds. 

Ac­cord­ing to Re­An­im­at­or co-founder Mark Capri­otti, the founders want to present their cof­fee in the com­munity that helped grow their at-home op­er­a­tion in­to a full-blown small busi­ness.

Re­An­im­at­or cer­tainly comes from humble be­gin­nings. Capri­otti and co-founder Mark Cor­pus hatched the idea to try their hand in cof­fee brew­ing dur­ing their col­lege days at Drexel. Both Cor­pus and Capri­otti were in­ter­ested in brew­ing beer, but it was not un­til Cor­pus in­tro­duced Capri­otti to the craft-cof­fee world that the two friends began en­ter­tain­ing the thought of roast­ing cof­fee to­geth­er.

“It def­in­itely changed my cof­fee drink­ing habits,” Capri­otti said.

The roast­ing star­ted off small.  Capri­otti and Cor­pus had a five-pound roast­er and two bags of cof­fee beans, and began roast­ing from home. Neither of the two friends had an idea of where they ex­pec­ted their small op­er­a­tion to go.  

“We didn’t even have a busi­ness plan,” re­calls Capri­otti.

Once the roast­ing was fin­ished, they went to mar­kets around Phil­adelphia and handed out their cof­fee.

“We went to the Al­man­ac Mar­ket in North­ern Liber­ties and [they] would say, ‘Yeah, we’ll buy your cof­fee, what are your whole­sale prices?’  And we were like, ‘We’ll get back to you on that,’” Capri­otti said, “That’s how un­pre­pared we were.  We didn’t even really think people were go­ing to buy it.”

Giv­en that many spe­cialty roast­ers at the time were mi­grat­ing to New York, Cor­pus and Capri­otti felt they had dis­covered a hole in the mar­ket for their cof­fee.   

While the early suc­cesses were sur­pris­ing, Cor­pus and Capri­otti still kept their day jobs and roas­ted at night.  Cor­pus did not ac­tu­ally quit his day job un­til Oc­to­ber of 2012 and Capri­otti fol­lowed a few months later.

“Some­times we would be up roast­ing at my house un­til two in the morn­ing.  Near the end of it, it was to the point where I would be de­liv­er­ing cof­fee be­fore work,” Capri­otti said.

Soon, the two pur­chased a new, $35,000 roast­er to keep up with volume, and the roast­ing moved from Capri­otti’s house to a ware­house near 2nd Street and Cecil B. Moore Av­en­ue.  

Not long after that, plans for the caf&ea­cute; were tak­ing shape.

“I de­cided after all the zon­ing was done and all that, I would quit my job,” Capri­otti said, “This all happened in­sanely fast.”

Fast enough that the very next day after quit­ting his job, Capri­otti was on site of the new caf&ea­cute; do­ing elec­tric­al work and fix­ing the build­ing’s plumb­ing.  

The Re­An­im­at­or caf&ea­cute; is cur­rently open, but the grand open­ing will be re­served for The Forks Crawl, a fest­iv­al hap­pen­ing Au­gust 10 at the in­ter­sec­tion of Nor­ris Street, Susque­hanna Av­en­ue, and Ce­dar Street — known as “The Forks” — fea­tur­ing the food and drinks of loc­al busi­nesses such as Loco Pez, Ce­dar Point, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Pizza Brain, and Re­An­im­at­or.  

There, Re­An­im­at­or will be col­lab­or­at­ing with loc­al busi­nesses such as Pizza Brain to make a cof­fee-braised meat pizza, and Phil­adelphia Brew­ing Com­pany to in­fuse their cof­fee in­to their pop­u­lar Love Stout.

Timothy Pat­ton, own­er and brew­mas­ter of Saint Ben­jamin Brew­ing Com­pany, said he’s a fan of Re­An­im­at­or.

“I have used some of their beans in my home brews.  I plan to do the same with my pro­duc­tion brew­ery, Saint Ben­jamin Brew­ing Com­pany, come this fall when I open,” Pat­ton said. “I also want to serve their cof­fee at the pub I plan to open in the late fall or winter.”  

With loc­al busi­nesses of The Forks and the sur­round­ing area already fea­tur­ing some of the most in­nov­at­ive craft food and drink in the city, it seems Re­An­im­at­or will be good com­pany.

“We’re work­ing harder than ever now, we’re both full time now,” Capri­otti said. “But it’s great, man.  We’re solv­ing prob­lems every day, we get to do cool design… you might work a 15 hour day, but you get to build something.” ••

Check out Re­An­im­at­or on­line at re­an­im­at­or­cof­

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