Companies like Sudden Coffee, Swift Cup, and Voilà make instant coffee an art. Giving consumers the convenience of flavor crystals with an elevated taste experience, these modern solubles are changing the instant coffee game.
Voilà kickstarted into the world in 2016. Since then, a lot has changed for this multi-roaster instant purveyor. Like the 2001 promotional Madonna single of the same name, this Impressive Instant has worked with fourteen roasters, all who find their logos emblazoned on Voila's clever packets, tucked into a handy little flip-box.
To find out more, we talked to founder Kent Sheridan.
We last wrote about y’all when Voilà was a Kickstarter in 2016. How have things changed since?
Back then Voilà was running super super small. Small as in just myself in a shop with notebooks full of ideas, recipes, measurements, and plans to take over the world. I haven’t quite conquered the last one, but now Voilà is a team of four with a really dialed product. Right after we last talked, a dude named Nick Holmboe joined Voilà and became my co-founder. Last year we had the former VP of Stumptown, Eric Hoest, join as a strategic investor, we finally launched in November of 2017, and as of this month, we’re officially on version two of Voilà, which has been tasting pretty damn good. We’re really focused on where we’re headed over the next year and are really stoked to actually be able to provide something amazing to our customers. It makes the whole process to get off the ground worth it when you get to make someone's morning routine, flight, camping trip, or day better by allowing them to have a cup of great coffee in seconds by just adding water.
We love the design of the box and packages. What was the inspiration?
Honestly, the only goal in mind while creating it was to provide the most functional packaging possible—that just happened to be a cigarette box. Which is just great and plays on so many correlations between coffee and cigarettes. It’s cool, it’s kinda funny, it suits Voilà’s brand perfectly. With the cups of coffee, we had to create something that was small enough to fit in your pocket or wallet, but wide enough to display all the information about the coffee. I’m obviously really proud of how everything turned out.
Who designed it?
I developed the concept and rough idea, then worked with my friend Andrew Walsh, who also designed our logo, to create the final product. I think over time we’ll have different iterations for special releases or unique offerings.
How many roasters have you worked with?
What’s next for Voilà?
We want to immediately tackle international distribution. It would be amazing to start offering free shipping to a few other countries like we do for the US. But our big picture goal is to eventually make instant better than a fresh cup could ever be. I don’t think it’s possible quite yet, but it’s amazing what you can do with coffee when you don’t have a time or size restriction on preparation like in a cafe. There’s a world of technology that is instantly available when you don’t have a customer on the other side of the counter waiting. We’ve got some really interesting concepts to play R&D with, so we’ll see where it ends up taking us…
Where is it available?
We offer boxes on our website, voila.coffee, as well as our Voilà Subscription where you can choose how many cups per month you’d like, customize your taste preferences, and get price breaks with quantity. A few of our partnered roasters are also beginning to carry their coffees as Voilà in their cafes. We also have a few really rad companies and cafes outside of our partnered roasters that will start stocking Voilà boxes soon. (If you’ve got a cool shop hmu)
How much is it?
A box of five cups is $20 with free shipping. So if you divide by five, carry the two, add the free shipping… *Siri what’s 20 divided by five* … it's about $4 per cup to start and goes down to $3 per cup with quantity.
Is instant the future?
Accessibility and approachability is the future of specialty coffee. I think instant will be the leader in that.
Will you please make a decaf version?
Yes. It’s long been on the to-do list and we just started running test batches this month. It’s so good. It’s hard not to have a cup every night. I think I have a problem.
Thanks for the interview Zachary!
Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.