At consumer-level, Zurich is not a trend-setting place. The Swiss have built a world class reputation perfecting products of enduring quality, not flash fads. In my opinion that’s a good thing. In such a culture, innovating profitable products, or commodities, especially those that already work so well and satisfy so many, without apparent reason, can hardly be seen as a worthwhile venture. Unlike hugely populated markets hungry for the next big thing – places where creating novelty is a relentless thirst, here in established Zurich it’s a difficult proposition. Yet Zurich doesn’t lack for creativity. In fact, the creativity that succeeds here might just be the kind that matters.
For instance: coffee. An essential, mostly overlooked daily ritual, your cup of joe is what it is, and as long as it performs and tastes in the manner expected, who cares? A perfectly valid viewpoint. Food and beverage snobbery is often tiresome, borderline offensive, in a world where there isn’t currently enough nutrition, let alone quality, to go around.
However, for creative people who work in F&B, something as mundane as a cup of java is also an unexplored opportunity for creativity. This isn’t simply about ego or one-upmanship, it’s about enhancing a daily experience and improving one’s handiwork. Also, responsible trade as well as individuality in the end product, created in partnership with growers, can better the good fortune of those undervalued but essential people who cultivate and collect our daily sustenance. Moreover, smaller outlets and producers offer an alternative to the massive bargaining power (hegemony) of corporations that can crush small growers and producers.
To Shem Leupin, the affable, approachable, creative mind working with Swiss heritage brand, STOLL KAFFEE, coffee seems an opportunity for a welcome change. A conversation with Shem, whether it’s about your morning cup, finding the right brew for your customers, the supply chain, or developing yourself as a barista, is refreshing. His enthusiastic, unpretentious view of what goes into a daily habit, is as eye-opening as the strongest diner coffee, without the bitter aftertaste. There’s a transparency about Shem and Stoll demonstrated by the fact that you can walk right into the roastery to pick up your coffee. A visit I highly recommend. You can choose from a whole range of different coffees for both espresso and pour-over methods and see where the magic is made. Perhaps I’ll bump into you there.
The Stoll roastery at Austrasse 38, 8045 Zürich, is open for walk-in sales from 08:00-17:00 Monday to Friday. If you’re curious about coffee, it’s a great place to start. Shem is also responsible for an ace coffee shop, simply called COFFEE at Grüngasse 4, 8004 Zürich, open 08:00-18:00 Monday to Friday and 09:00-17:00 Saturdays.