ALEX GRAPPO: DRIVE COFFEE GETS YOU GOING!

22.11.2018

When you think of Motorsport, you think of oil, hot rubber, carbon fibre, the smell of barbecues in the infield. Coffee, on the other hand, is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. But Alex Grappo, founder of Drive Coffee wants to change that.

 

Alex, motorsport and coffee are not such an easy blend. How did you come up with the idea of combining the two?

Motorsport doesn’t have a lot of good coffee and I wanted to change that. I’ve always been a petrol head at heart, so I thought it would be a good way of combining the two and bringing premium boutique coffee to a new audience.

 

Alex, motorsport and coffee are not such an easy blend. How did you come up with the idea of combining the two?

When did you come up with the plan to start your company?

It seems like a long while ago now, but I actually had the idea two and a half years ago. We only started selling in January 2017, and things really started booming in April this year.

 

When did you come up with the plan to start your company?

Did you already know a lot about coffee when you started out?

I come from a very different background, mainly in private equity, but I had a few good contacts and experiences in the food business. And as for coffee, I knew what I liked but I didn’t really know all the technicalities of coffee itself. When you really look into it, you discover that it’s actually even more complicated than wine. So, I started buying all kinds of coffee from the cheapest to the most expensive and just learned everything I could. I had to figure out what cupping was, which devices worked best. During the whole process, my kitchen was pretty much turned into a coffee lab. For the fabrication process itself, I sourced the best roasters and specialists to join my team so that we could deliver a really good product.

 

Did you already know a lot about coffee when you started out?

What sort of coffees do you serve?

We try to make some of the finest premium coffees out there and we’re very careful about our processes and our producers. Most of our coffees come from farmers who we know or co-ops that we know. We keep very tight control over our product. Our coffee is also seasonal, so we use the current crops because we want our coffee to be fresh. A lot of roasters use last season’s crop which has been sitting around for six months to a year and they just give it a darker roast, but we really don’t want that. We want the most interesting flavours. That’s one of the reasons we don’t offer a dark roast. Dark roasts flatten the flavour of the bean and just add the taste of the burn. We are looking for a richer, more authentic product.

 

What sort of coffees do you serve?

Your coffees have roaring names such as Le Mans, Dakar, Imola and many others. How do you match the names with a particular coffee blend?

The names of our coffees really tell you something about the product itself. For instance, take our “Le Mans” coffee. Le Mans is synonymous with endurance and reliability, and that coffee is our daily drinker. It’s the most accessible and robust coffee we have. On the other hand, you have our “Monaco” coffee. If you’ve ever been to Monaco, you’ll know that it’s a special place, very premium, a bit more expensive and definitely not for every day. And that’s exactly what our “Monaco” coffee is. It’s our most premium product and it’s a very special blend but maybe not for every day and probably not for everyone.

 

Your coffees have roaring names such as Le Mans, Dakar, Imola and many others. How do you match the names with a particular coffee blend?

What has the response been from the motorsport world?

They love it. Since we started, we’ve done a lot of partnerships with brands such as Petrolicious, Porsche and we have a few more coming up. Our business works both ways – obviously we sell our product, but we also try to create a network and a community around our products. This creates interaction with the industry and the community, not just selling cans of beans. We deliver much more than sales.

 

What has the response been from the motorsport world?
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