As Zurich’s nano coffee roaster Birchbach tells it, every coffee is a story. See how they pair these beautiful stories with illustration and a passion for precision.
Ray: I’m Ray
Kandace: I’m Kandace.
Ray: Welcome, to Unpacking Coffee. This week, Birchbach.
Kandace: From Zurich, Switzerland.
Ray: Sorry, you haven’t seen us in a while. We had a little disc problem. My hard drive had a problem.
Kandace: But it’s back and working again. Okay then.
Ray: Kandace, why don’t you tell us a little about Birchbach?
Kandace: Well, this is a nano roastery. They have two coffees. No, they just doubled. I just went on their website to just check things out. They now have four.
Ray: Was founded by Flavio Lissandrello.
Kandace: Just last year.
Ray: Who we had a chance to talk with.
Kandace: He’s been in coffee for about a decade. 2018 Barista Championship…
Kandace: Finalist over in Switzerland.
Ray: Apparently he was going to be an architect and he decided instead he wanted to get into coffee.
Flavio: Birchback is a nano specialty coffee roastery driven by idea of quality over quantity. Hi guys, I’m Flavio. Flavio Lissandrello and I’m the founder as much as roaster of Birchbach.
Flavio: During my time spent in Italy, I’ve actually studied to become anarchitect one day, but my interest and love of coffee has left me to reflect and change my mind and so I decided to start working as a barista.
During the last ten years, I’ve spent most of my time learning about coffee thanks also to a good friend of mine, Philipp Henauer, who, apart from running his own roastery, has introduced me in to the Barista Competition Awards, supporting it coaching me year after year, competing in national championships.
During this time, I also started roasting just formyself, my parents, and some friends. The results were actually pretty good. That led me to consider to start doing it in a more serious way.
And now, after a long time I, understood that this is a actually something I really like and I want to improve and share. At the end of last year, I decided to start my own little project, which I launched at the beginning of this year.
What is it mean to be a nano coffee roaster?
Flavio: The term nano refers, of course, to the size of the project (which is a one person project) as well as the amount of coffee which is sourced and roasted. The real idea behind is to keep everything as small as possible—under control—and trying to focus on improving, learning, experimenting, and progressing. I believe that thinking this way is the right way to improve: just step-by-step without any pressure, just doing what I like in the best way I can without having to think about any future goal to reach.
Kandace: This is a very new, small, roaster. How did they end up on the show?
Ray: Flavio must be a fan, because he tracked us down and set up some coffee, and we liked it.
Kandace: When these coffees come in, we try really hard not to look them up until we try the coffee and see, “Is this coffee delicious?” And if it is, then we want to have them on the show. We looked it up and was pretty impressed at how new and small this roastery is and how phenomenal their coffee is.
Ray: I was impressed by his name.
How do storytelling and coffee relate?
Flavio: I look for producers who maybe have a long history behind, or maybe something unique to tell about personal experiences or special farming techniques. I like the idea to not only offer to my customers simply a product to consume, but to share also information in an approachable and non-pretentious way.
Kandace: So what they focus on is the idea that every coffee has a story, and then really telling that story on the back, and also through the illustration.
Flavio: Right now I have four coffees and they are all coffees with a story behind, like the one Kenya one which is the result of a project of eight fantastic farmers who joined forces to improve, year after year, the quality of the harvest. Or, like the Costa Rican one produced by a family with a long history in coffee farming that, after five generations, still commits to producing distinctive coffees, while at the same time making large effort for nature preservation.
Kandace: There is a volcano with a warm, ancient taste, gentle as its fertile soil. 1650 meters of pureness, crisp, and smooth with an eruption of honey and mandarin fragrance. The explosion has just begun.
Let’s talk packaging design…
Ray: We definitely love the packaging, and Flavio did talk a bit about the two folks who designed and illustrated it.
Flavio: For the packaging design, I’m a big fan of the works of two friendsof mine, Antonio Sortino and Daniele Morgant. They both are illustrators and graphic designers based in Italy, in Milan. They also love good coffee. So, for me, it was pretty easy. I loved their minimalistic, yet detailed style, as well as the use of bold colors they use in all their works, and I’ve trusted them blindly from the beginning.
Ray: It’s nice they’ve got the little mark off the date, the little details on the side.
Kandace: So cool. Thank you and this coffee is a story. Oh that’s right, it’s not every coffee has a story, it’s every coffee…
Ray: Is a story.
Kandace: – is a story.
Ray: Fact, whenever we’re brewing this in here we always just ask if you’d like a cup of story. It’s nice to share a story from halfway around the world, and if I find myself there I knowwhat I’ll be drinking. Birchbach coffee, nano roasters of Zurich, Switzerland
Kandace: Nice. You are going to make a song, right?
Ray: Yeah. Every coffee is a song, would you like to sing along?