Interview: Anna Tsfasman
With an economics background, how did you end up in the coffee business?
I don’t see any contradictions; my economic background helps me to manage the business and the core of that business is my love for coffee. This is just one of those stories when a hobby has become a business.
Double B offers speciality Russian coffee. What can customers expect?
They can expect the same high level of quality we have throughout our entire chain. We pay much attention to all the production stages, ranging from selection of beans, to roasting and brewing. To get the best coffee cherries, which we scrutinise thoroughly, we work directly with farmers from all over the world.
Speciality coffee needs special treatment, that’s why we believe that, along with the beans, there is another integral part of high quality coffee, namely, the people working with the product. We make high demands on our staff. There is also a special training system for both roasters and baristas.
How important is it to work directly with the farmers who grow and supply the coffee beans you use?
This is the only way we can be confident that our customers would eventually get the very same flavour they are so fond of.
Why did you choose to open in the Middle East?
First of all, Middle Eastern people are famous for their love of coffee and therefore, we hope they will appreciate the efforts we’ve put in order to offer them something really special. The second reason is economic, and relates to the Middle East being a fast-growing, lucrative market with relatively high purchasing power.
Were there any adjustments you had to make to the concept or the menu for the Dubai-based venue?
We serve our traditional beverages both hot and cold. In Russia, cold coffee is not really relevant even during the warm season. The second thing is our desire to use the local ingredients. For instance, we’ve recently released a new beverage based on za’atar.
What is your favourite item on the menu?
I like to try new things, but cappuccino is my favourite casual, everyday beverage.
Do you plan on expanding further in the region?
Of course, we have pretty big plans for the UAE and, in particular, Dubai which we consider a very special place offering tremendous opportunities for development and advancement. We are determined to expand into the Emirati market, with our first City Walk coffee shop being an initial step in the strategy. There are two more coffee shops opening soon in the Bay Gate and the Emirates Financial Towers, in addition to the DIFC Gate Avenue branch, which is under construction. We are also going to open up a confectionary factory to serve our own pastry along with coffee. It is Double B’s ambition to take this further to establish even more branches in the coming year.