When Voilà Coffee first launched on Kickstarter back in 2016. I was a little skeptical on the whole instant coffee. However, I decided to keep an eye on it. I contacted founder Kent Sheridan and asked him for a few samples of the worlds best instant coffee. To his word and once the Kickstarter was backed successfully, Kent sent his instant coffee down under.
I was really surprised with the clarity and flavour. It was like I had brewed up a pourover that had lots of body. I tasted it with the roast crew and they were astounded on how nice it was.
The more time I spend in this industry the more I realise that convenience at home is becoming a big ticket item. However, no one wants to lower the quality of their morning coffee. Voila Coffee has really hit the spot with their one cup instant coffee sachets.
I had the pleasure to interview Kent about Violà Coffee. I hope you enjoy the interview.
1. Tell us a bit about Voila Coffee and how did you come up with the name?
Voilà is specialty instant coffee. We partner with only the top specialty coffee roasters across the US that we feel are setting standards the industry, and use them to source all these awesome coffees that we brew up and turn into amazing instant. All you have to do is add water.
The name Voilà is pretty funny - I think that accurately reflects who we are as a company. Voilà is an exclamation that means, "there it is!" as if you’d just made a killer cup of coffee in seconds and yelled out, “… & Voilà!” Our mission behind Voilà is to represent uncompromising quality while having an approachable attitude and lightheartedness in the coffee industry by providing the World’s best instant coffee.
2. I'm sure the process is a secret. Can we get a little insight on how you make instant coffee?
Well, what I can say about the process is we dial in each coffee individually to the extractions that best represent all of its components. We then brew in large batches that allow for a drip or filter taste profile while maintaining consistency. This is completely different than how others trying to produce specialty instant right now, and really unlike anything that has ever been done in the coffee industry.
3. Why did you choose to do Specialty instant coffee?
I grew up in the Atlanta suburbs, so the only option I had for coffee was Starbucks. I naturally assumed all coffee tasted harsh and bitter. Once I moved out to the Pacific Northwest, I really discovered what specialty coffee was all about and immediately dove head-first and learned everything I could. It got to the point where I would go camping for days on end with my wife and in-laws, and I would be packing entire crate of my scale, gooseneck kettle, filters, hand-grinder, and another crate of just coffee. Fortunately, I married into a family of coffee snobs, so I got to wake up before everyone else and make it least eight cups, as long no one wanted seconds.
It was clear to me with the success of the Aeropress and other “travel solutions” that there was a huge potential in specialty coffee to have something much more simple and accessible. As soon as I had the idea for specialty instant coffee I became obsessed – I quickly Googled to see if anyone had done it before and there was no one. The potential to enjoy amazing coffees in seconds is what pushed me to purchase my first piece of equipment and put months, almost years now into developing Voilà. I'm lucky that I've always approached coffee with my own perspective. It's what has allowed me to break the rules in creating our proprietary processing methods.
There’s nothing like having someone make a cup of specialty coffee for the first time and falling in love with it without having to spend $200+ on brewing equipment first or educating them on grind size and ratios. It just starts with taste. That's how you actually convert consumers to specialty. We break down the stigma and barrier of entry and simply let anyone enjoy coffee with full transparency from farm to roaster to cup.
4. Has it been hard to change the mind set of the Specialty Coffee Industry? What are some of the challenges you have faced?
You know, recently, I ran into a colleague who worked for a roaster I used to serve when I was working at a café. He asked what I was up to, so I told him about making good instant coffee and gave him a cup of Voilà, he smirked and skeptically said, “Sure, we’ll see about that.” I didn’t hear back from him for two months or so until I got an email saying their whole crew tried it and he followed with, “It kind of blew me away. Definitely exceeded my biased expectations. Well done man.” So yes, sometimes we get a few skeptics, but overall we feel that the specialty coffee industry is so ready for a product like this. And really the proof is in the cup. We don’t claim to be the World’s best instant coffee for nothing haha!
5. What are the plans for the future?
We only a few months away from fully launching Voilà for sale on our website. As we grow, we will continue adding more awesome roasters to our partnerships, but we also have big plans for partnerships across various industries like travel, hospitality, gastronomy, and more. Hopefully, we can nail down some great distribution partners in Australia and elsewhere shortly after we launch so everyone can have free shipping. The main focus will, of course, be always improving the product though. We are really happy with the quality of Voilà right now, but we still feel we've only scratched the surface with what's to come.
Thank you Kent for your time. I can't wait to experience more instant coffee.
For more on Voilà Coffee click here.