Fishtown company aims to reanimate coffee drinkers
A blend of passions is making for an interesting brew in Fishtown.
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 Café 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 cafés 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 cafés.
“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, visit www.reanimatorcoffee.com and follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.••