The New Black, situated next to the “Walkie Talkie” building on Philpot Lane in London, is a revolutionary new coffee experience. Conceived and founded by Malaysian-born British design consultant Phoa Kia Boon, it offers an exclusive collection of artisan coffees from the world’s most renowned coffee roasters in a highly-designed, business-class environment. Everything encompassing the barista workstations, guest seating, graphics, packaging, cups and clothing has been designed to create an engaging, modern and premium experience. Materials such as steel, wood and granite lend the environment an understated yet refined ambience.
The outlet breaks with the tradition of bulky espresso machines on high counters which separate the baristas from guests. Instead, stainless steel benches house Modbar and Alpha Dominche brewing systems, some of the most advanced coffee-making technology in the world, where the main machinery is hidden out of sight. These systems, never before seen in the UK, provide the highest quality coffees and teas swiftly, with precise control over recipe parameters. Behind the benches, ergonomic steel and glass cabinets provide the grinding and tamping areas, and feature a unique custom-designed programmable milk dispenser. The cabinet doors house every tool the baristas need, whist also holding the takeaway cups. Beans are pre-dosed in rows of small steel cups.
The steel aesthetic extends to the tables and seating, which are crafted from a combination of stainless steel, glass and gently contoured British ash. Raised steel cup holders are a feature of the more informal bench seating. A steel and wood ‘bean counter’ near the entrance doubles as an informal lean bar and sensory/self-discovery experience. Individual roasts are displayed with accompanying information, organised according to roaster and coffee brewing style. Customers are invited to smell the individual coffees on display, read about their origins, the roasters, production processes and taste characteristics. Granite flooring, complemented by grey-green walls, is juxtaposed against orange felt panels behind the cabinets. A diagrammatic Taste Wheel has been designed to express the different flavour characteristics in each roast. Apple iPads throughout the outlet, meanwhile, present the profiles for every coffee, plus the entire menu and biographies on each roaster in the collection. A seamless order is rounded off by cashless payment too.
Commenting on its decision to launch in the UK, CEO and Founder, Kia Boon, said: “The New Black is raising the bar by creating a premium coffee brand for the corporate world. We cater to the likes of prestigious banks, boutique hedge funds and corporate lawyers, serving them exceptional coffee from the world’s very best roasters in one place. We have perfected the art of delivering a service that oozes style and efficiency. We feel that London is on the cusp of the new wave of coffee and becoming increasingly discerning and that now is the right time for city corporates there to be offered a truly special experience beyond the mass market brands and bohemian, hipster cafes.” Clifford Hiscock, Creative Director at The New Black, added: “From the outset we aimed to reinvent the coffee experience in every way. Every aspect has been designed from the ground up to create a truly unique coffee experience, that breaks new ground and sets itself apart from the mainstream and independents - the curation and quality of the coffees, how they are crafted, served and explained, and the environment in which they are enjoyed.”
The New Black was set up by Kia Boon after he was inspired to create a premium coffee brand when visiting his lawyers’ offices in Singapore, where lawyers were forced to drink from instant coffee machines or leave the office for a mediocre cup. With the rise of artisan coffee shops alongside the mass-market chains, Kia Boon felt there was a gap in the market for a design-driven brand that curated the best of the artisan roasters from around the world. It took a long time to convince all of the rockstar roasters to part with their beans, but with a strong team of award-winning baristas and coffee ambassadors, The New Black has curated the ‘Impossible Collection’ of the best coffees from around the world.
The New Black’s “Impossible Collection” features the following artisan roasters on the London launch menu:-
Counter Culture Coffee, North Carolina, USA
Small Batch Roasters, Melbourne, Australia
Workshop Coffee Co, London, UK
Verve Coffee Roasters, Santa Cruz, USA
Emilo Spezialitätenrösterei, Munich, Germany
Square Mile Roasters, London, UK
Single Origin, Sydney, Australia
Tim Wendleboe, Oslo, Norway
George Howell, Massachusetts, USA