Coffee subscriptions, they're kind of all the same, right? All around the world, they exist in different incarnations with slight variations depending on how often you want coffee delivered to your door or if you are loyal to a specific roaster. So how does any single brand stand out? What makes any service better or more interesting than the others?
Melbourne-based coffee subscription service Three Thousand Thieves takes a multi-pronged approach to answering this question. Started by Athan Didaskalou in 2013, the project moved to a full-time operation in 2015 and is focused on curating the very best of coffee roasting in Sydney and Melbourne. Didaskalou and his team hope to deliver much more than coffee to their subscribers, clients, and collaborators—they see themselves as delivering coffee culture itself.
Each month 3TT provides you with a different coffee from a different specialty roaster. These coffees range from the roaster's seasonal offering to limited edition lots. Along with the subscription, you are also provided with a story about the roaster and the coffee they have chosen, presented as a series of postcards photographed each month by different photographers from around the world. The project is visually compelling and engaging; the items shipped to your home serve a dual purpose, as both something to brew and a bit of coffee table reading.
In addition to their home subscribers, 3TT does a brisk business providing coffee for a number of leading Melbourne creative spaces, including the new Asia Pacific headquarters for Slack. The team sees their office work as much more than just a pick-up and drop-off sort of situation; 3TT instead provides a full coffee setup for the office, complete with “Cultural Custodians”, baristas who not only are there to make coffee but also provide education and training to office staff. There are monthly tasting sessions and tutorials organized for corporate accounts. The end result is a unique hybrid model for Three Thousand Thieves, one that sees them in some of Melbourne's smartest offices along with the homes of their direct-order consumers.
Up next for the brand is straight retail, which has its first form at MPavilion, where 3TT operates a curated kiosk providing coffee, picnic kits, and food from some of Melbourne’s favorite local sources. The kiosk is part of MPavilion's annual architectural commission and design event in the Queen Victoria Gardens, which runs the length of Australian summer from October to February. There 3TT will provide coffee service alongside a robust MPavilion program of talks, workshops, performances, and installations from a wide variety of artists and organizations.
Mail order, curated office service, education, and now retail—it's this hybrid approach that elevates Three Thousand Thieves beyond the same-old subscription service vibe. And it's not shocking to learn the brand has more projects up its sleeve for 2017. This is what Melbourne coffee looks like in late 2016: interdisciplinary, adaptable to any environment, and delicious.