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  • Tomas Lee

Alfred {Coffee + Kitchen}


"But first, coffee.™"

This world- famous, 'grammable' tagline has touched the heart of many coffee chasers in So.Cali and everywhere else. Also, one of the most successful marketing campaigns I've seen in the coffee roasters community, retail-chains, and Instagram. Its logo with the antler is also very unique comparing with other roasters, well distinguished that turns into a fashionable lifestyle label. But you'll also be surprised that the founder behind the brand is not named Alfred, but a 35yrs-old commercial real estate developer named Joshua Zad. As a resident of Alfred Street in West Hollywood, he saw the "desperate need" of a local coffee shop to feed his own crave. And naturally, Joshua's real estate entrepreneurial spirit guided him to begin this unexpected Journey. Maybe, from their characteristic business model, we all can learn a thing or two.

Alfred {COFFEE+Kitchen} | Melrose Place, CA

Products Score: 80 Service Score: 80 Store Score: 85

Final {verdict}: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5

This store I visited is their first originated in Jan 2013, located along charming, tree-lined Melrose Place, with the design of the floral wallpaper, charming illustrated walls (hand-painted by fashion-faved graphic designer Blanda Eggenschwiler, bright white mantle tiling, and the signature tagline in big, white-colored "Bodoni Poster" font painted on the black wooden wall. The fashionable but cozy interior design will definitely keep you staying there the whole day long. Since launched, it instantly becomes a frequently-visit hotspot for the neighborhood residents, fashion bloggers, and celebrities like the former President Bill Clinton, Kendall Jenner and Chiara Ferrangni to stop over.

In the 4+ years of time, without any venture capital investment, they were able to expand into 7 different locations over the Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Los Angeles areas in California. And each location has its one-of-a-kind stylish design for the Alfred 1.0 non-formulated branding experience, such as 'Alfred In The Alley' punctuated by bold, monochromatic tiles. Like the 'pink' Alfred Tea Room, opened in May 2016, instead of offering coffee, customers can choose from 28 different flavor of teas categorized in Black, White, Green, Fermented, Golong and No Caffeine in addition to its matcha and boba topping offers and on-tap options.

Without a doubt, Alfred's fabulous vibe constantly gains press coverage on Hollywood publications and fashion web sites. Hype won't ever last, so Alfred must have something in its sleeves to retain customers coming back again and again. So, what's the Alfred 1.0 about? And that's the signature 'Alfred Blend by Stumptown Coffee Roasters', which made of rich, dark chocolate flavors with notes of fruit and marzipan, plus its design experience from the moment customer walks in the door.

Like the star-rated "#10dollarLatte", "AlfredCone" or fresh coconut water, you shall at least try them once if you haven't yet. The $10 coffee is an iced latte with either chocolate or vanilla almond milk from Pressed Juicery. I happened to have one in a hot summer two years back at the 'Alfred In The Alley'. The one and a half expresso shot inside was very rich in flavor, and the combination of chocolate almond milk taste was excellent. Be honest, will I go back for one more? My answer is 'yes' but not too often.

For this visit, I had my usual, the almond milk latte. Their sunny-smile staff took my order at the cashier whilst another started preparing my drink. Thru the process, I can tell their staffs were very well trained in manner and brewing skill. My cup of latte was presented with a heart-shaped latte art. Nothing's extraordinary but very simple and consistent, which can be determined from the way how the ripples of milk formed the art. Meanwhile, my latte was very frothy and rich in chocolate flavor. And I believe that's the magic they withhold in their exclusive 'Alfred Blend' coffee beans.

Besides that, please don't forget their brand name always has the "Kitchen" included. Therefore, food is always a part of their ambition and DNA. Its menu is openly approved by the healthy-foodies. Furthermore, their fresh Sourdough, Pumpernickel and Country Loaf breads are supplied by The Larder restaurants, developed by James Beard Award winning Chef Suzanne Goin and James Beard nominee Sommelier Caroline Styne.

With the endorsement of fashion bloggers and Hollywood celebrities, Alfred grows its Instagram account over 100K+ followers (Blue Bottle Coffee 255K+, Philz Coffee 33K & Starbucks 15.5M) from 2013. Their #butfirstcoffee hashtag has more than 1,172,284 posts today, comparing with the world-famous Nike's tagline "#justdoit" which has only 12M posts. The power of social media (Social Proof), particularly the Instagram, has influenced the boost of Alfred's business success tremendously.

To capitalize their brand success, Alfred also sells merchandises like Tote, Chocolates, Pin sets, "But first, coffee." mugs, and Klean Kanteen not only as an additional income source, but importantly, to retain its fan base and presence in public.

Unlike other coffee roasters designed and hosted their own web sites, Alfred's is customized by the Thirty3 Marketing. As I believe, this marketing firm may also be the brain child behind the successful branding of the Alfred Coffee + Kitchen. If by reviewing their web site, you would notice they takes a very simple design language as their approach. Also, very interestingly, their drink or food menu isn't listed on their web site, which attempts to generate customers' curiosity in mind for them to come in person witnessing the products themselves. Moreover, they heavily leverage the power of Instagram feed to attract and convert visitors into customers. Per se, "a picture is worth a thousand words."

Alfred's secret formula underlays in the consistent quality of vast details they are able to plan and manage, from its creative marketing aside the regular quality drinks, pastries, and sandwiches menu to great customer service, to the employee uniforms (apron) with the brand logo embroiled by Hedley & Bennett. Alfred doesn't necessary to be hands-on roasting their own beans or hiring the world-champion baristas, but thru partnering with different industrial elites to procure their quality products combining together with its own quality service and the invisible gravity of social media to deliver an outstanding design experience has earned the Alfred brand substantial credits among all photogenic customers, especially those works in the Hollywood fashion and film industry. And all those "good enough" have made them so successful.

Ref:

1. How Melrose Place’s Alfred Coffee Became A Fashionable Lifestyle Brand

2. Alfred Tea Room Founder Explains the Melrose Place's Pink Design

3. Alfred Tea Room Brings Rare and Artisanal Teas to Melrose Place

Thanks for reading! :) Please comment and press ⭐️ below if you liked this article. Your responses would help me to improve the quality of content and other readers.

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