In the modern coffee world, with the age of the internet and epic globalization, collaboration is king. Whether it’s Blue Bottle bringing in Tartine, Mikkeller brewing beer with Koppi Coffee, or even Paramount Coffee Project sharing a space with Tokyo Bike, it’s been proven: coffee pretty much goes with everything.
This collaborative movement makes a lot of sense: coffee is an important part of billions of people’s everyday lives, and so-called coffee people tend to be an ambitious and diverse group who enjoy working with other equally ambitious and diverse groups. In this vein, the upcoming involvement of Sydney roaster Artificer Coffee at Saturdays NYC‘s brand new store in Bondi promises to be something quite special.
Slated as a men’s fashion/surf-inspired lifestyle brand, Saturdays NYC has built quite the reputation over the years, opening two stores in New York and four in Japan, retailing high-end apparel, home goods, a spectacular magazine, and surfboards. They’re also no strangers to the coffee world, housing beautiful coffee bars in their Japanese and New York stores, as well as collaborating with La Colombe Coffee Roasters to produce their own unique Saturdays NYC blend.
Artificer, opened in Surry Hills in December of last year by Dan Yee and Shoji Sasa, is no slouch in the reputation department either. Yee and Sasa are equally accomplished in the coffee industry, with Yee formerly the head roaster for Air Coffee before moving on to co-found Salvage Specialty Coffee, while Sasa previously roasted for the likes of Single Origin Roasters and Mecca Espresso. Both Yee and Sasa have a fierce focus on quality, and in setting up Artificer decided to serve nothing beyond pure, unadulterated coffee—no milkshakes or cronuts to be found here!
Yee explained to me that Artificer always intended to keep its wholesale to a sustainable minimum, which at this point means supplying only Salvage, Neighbourhood BSM, and soon, Saturdays. As Yee elaborated, “The coffee program will be similar to our main Artificer bar. Seasonal blend and singles always changing, and there is also a co-branded cold brewed coffee in the works.” Espresso coffee and filter coffee will be served, using a La Marzocco Linea PB and FETCO batch brewer, as well as Victoria Arduino Mythos One and Mahlkönig EK 43 grinders.
Chatting to Quentin Sale of Saturdays NYC, it was clear that in the beginning, the incorporation of coffee bars into their stores happened largely out of necessity, “When Saturdays first opened on Crosby Street in Soho [New York City], the rationale behind offering coffee was simple—you really couldn’t find a decent cup anywhere in the neighborhood,” Sale asserts. Since then, the cultural crossover between coffee and Saturdays has flourished into a unique opportunity to collaborate with like-minded people, as well as an avenue for anyone to walk into a Saturdays store and engage with the lifestyle, even if they aren’t interested in getting a surfboard or an Oxford shirt.
The first Australian Saturdays NYC store, slated to open mid-November, is located on Gould Street in Sydney’s iconic beachside neighborhood of Bondi. With four-meter-high ceilings and a northwest aspect, Sale says, “It’s ideal for Bondi’s sidewalk culture and for us to create an environment for our customers to hang out in.” The space itself is being designed by Kelvin Ho and Linda Tjaturono from Akin Creative, drawing inspiration from Saturdays stores in Japan, and including locally sourced materials such as Australian black butt timber. The retail environment will incorporate the coffee bar at the front, with a window to the street, and benches out front for customers to sit and enjoy their coffee.
For Yee and Sasa, keeping a close relationship with their wholesale customers is hugely important, and for Saturdays this is no different. Staff who work the coffee program at Saturdays NYC Bondi will also do shifts at Artificer, which, as Yee puts it, will help “maintain intimacy with the coffee and service values.” All in all, it’s a nice combo—an establishment where you can purchase a complete and stylish outfit, a surfboard, and a fine cup of locally roasted coffee—all at the same time.
Eileen P. Kenny (@eileenpk) is a Sprudge.com staff writer and the publisher of Birds of Unusual Vitality, the coffee interview magazine. Read more Eileen P. Kenny on Sprudge.
Photos of Saturdays Surf supplied by Saturdays NYC, used with permission.
Photos of Artificer Coffee by Elize Strydom.