A pioneering Alaskan specialty coffee company rebrands and revitalizes their flagship space in Anchorage in this, our latest entry to the 2015 Build-Outs Of Summer feature series. What was once Cafe Del Mundo is now Black Cup, with a spiffy new interior and high-end brewing equipment. Let’s learn more.
As told to Sprudge by Terri Coker.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Originally known as Café Del Mundo, Black Cup opened its doors as Alaska’s first specialty coffee roaster in 1975 and has been serving fresh-roasted coffee across the state ever since. The past four decades have fostered a great sense of community at our cafe, which has become known as an Anchorage landmark.
In our upcoming remodel, we are debuting our Black Cup Cafe—a more efficient and open space for both customers and baristas. We believe that our upcoming changes will allow us to keep providing the same quality and warm, friendly environment we are known for while at the same time holding true to the company’s original spirit of pioneering specialty coffee in Alaska. We plan to continue growing the industry while introducing our state to new and exciting developments.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Influenced by early 20th-century glamour, elements including dramatic window curtains, Parisian-influenced floor tiles, pendant lighting, and chandeliers centered above large tables will help create a beautiful space for customers. To pay homage to our history, we are replacing a very large world map that has been a customer favorite in addition to restoring and repurposing many beloved pieces of furniture. We are also want to encourage a sense of community by including additional bar seating and communal tables.
What’s your approach to coffee?
Our approach to coffee is simple: buy the highest quality beans available and allow the coffee to speak for itself.
We focus on roasting to highlight the origin characteristics, typically meaning a lighter, gentler roast profile. We appreciate coffees with a well-balanced acidity and the complex fruity or floral qualities of expertly processed micro-lots.
The new bar layout is designed to focus on the coffee that is being served and the baristas that are preparing it. The idea is to provide a highly efficient and seamless work environment that flows naturally from the point of order to pick up. We hope to accomplish something just as intuitive for customers—from the moment they walk in the door, they will naturally fall into line and know how to proceed. By eliminating any elements of customer flow that make them have to think about what to do or where they need to go, they are able to enjoy a more engaging atmosphere that allows for more dialogue between customers and baristas.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
The equipment we’re most excited to see in our cafe includes a four-group Steampunk machine from Alpha Dominche, several Baratza Forte grinders, a built-in brew bar featuring various manual brew methods, and a Marco undercounter water boiler.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
We’re hoping to reopen July 2015.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Our owner, Brad Bigelow, has extensive background and a Master’s degree in Architecture and Design and designed the interior of the cafe. We are also working with Sean Salyer, who is the general contractor of The Builder’s Collaborative.