Craft Coffee Revolution Branches Out: Can the Artisanal Survive Turning Commercial?February 18, 2019
Craft Coffee Revolution employs several award-winning baristas to make their coffee.
Craft Coffee Revolution (formerly Craft Coffee Workshop) is a coffee shop along Broadway Avenue that serves an array of artisanal coffee-based beverages. Craft takes pride in their baristas abilities, many of whom have won numerous awards and gained recognition for their skill in making what is supposedly one of the finest cups of coffee in Metro Manila today.
In general, the word “artisan” is used to describe any skilled worker who uses his or her hands to craft a certain product (usually furniture and other woodwork). Now, though, it’s a term that’s more loosely used, especially in the food industry. The word artisan has been linked to describe various products such ranging from bread and chocolate, to yes, coffee, that have been crafted by people specifically trained in their individual areas of expertise.
The charm of something labelled “artisan” lies in the customer’s belief that that product was lovingly and expertly made by hand, and not something that was just churned out or processed by a machine. Think of it as receiving handwritten “snail mail” compared to an email. But what happens when an artisan coffee shop decides to branch out to other locations?
Craft Coffee Revolution has opened three stores in less than a year.
Currently, Craft Coffee Revolution has three stores in Metro Manila. There’s one in Broadway (the flagship store), The Podium, and a newly-opened one along Esteban Abada in Katipunan. I assume this might be a strategic move on Craft Coffee Revolution as each area caters to different crowds, from yuppies, to corporate folk, to students, respectively.
The one in Broadway features a cozy vibe that’s perfect for catching up with friends. The Podium branch is stiffer given that they only have a kiosk and a sitting area set up in the middle of the mall. The one in Katipunan boasts of couches, shared tables, and a simpler interior with plugs hidden in almost every nook and cranny.
As for their products, friends who have been followers of Craft Coffee Revolution since its inception have claimed that not much has changed. The Flat Whites and Mochas are still quite consistent at all three stores, as well as the preparation of the “textured milk” used to top off each beverage. The food in Katipunan though has a wider selection of cakes, pastries, and even salads compared to the one in Podium.
But perhaps, the main question here is does the commercialization of their business negatively impact the artisanal experience they offer? Could Craft Coffee Revolution—just like your favorite hipster song before it got overplayed on local radio—be turning mainstream?