The first Revelator Coffee opened in Birmingham, AL, in 2014. Next came shops in Chattanooga, New Orleans, Nashville and Atlanta. Just last year, the company opened its 15,000 sq. ft. roastery in Birmingham.
Meredith Singer, Executive Director of Marketing, and Sarah Kluth, Executive Director of Coffee, discuss sourcing specialty coffee and Revelator’s special brand of Southern hospitality.
Paste: What’s the design look and feel for your flagship shop in Birmingham?
Meredith: We chose a historic location in the Theatre District. There’s definitely been a resurgence downtown. As far as the design, our aesthetic is very clean and bright with open spaces. Minimalistic, but not antiseptic. We don’t want it to be a cold experience when people come in. We really rely on our baristas to greet people when they enter the space and warm it up. We definitely want the space to be a respite to the hustle and bustle of people’s day-to-day lives.
Paste: How much do you roast and where do you sell your beans?
Meredith: We roast for our shops and we also have a handful of wholesale clients everywhere from Texas out to the Carolinas. We work with boutique hotel groups down to people who just want a good supply of coffee on a regular basis and the tech support that comes behind it.
Paste: What issues matter to you when sourcing beans for Revelator?
Sarah: Number one, I want the relationship to be mutually beneficial. For some of our coffee growers, what’s most valuable to them is knowing that I’m available to talk about experiments they’re doing on their farm. They get to brainstorm with me because I’ve been on their farm and I see what they want to accomplish and we can work together towards that.
The second thing is looking for high quality coffee. No one who knows agriculture can tell you that you can achieve quality without sustainability. What the soil requires; what the trees require; what the fruit requires — to produce truly beautiful quality, you cannot achieve that without sustainability; you cannot achieve that without loving the Earth and loving the process because if you don’t you’re not going to get good quality.
Then, whatever country we’re sourcing from, we look at the history, and we look at the context and we look at the sense of place. Every place is individual with the soil, with the types of coffee trees, with the types of processing and that all will be expressed in the cup.
Paste: Where do you see Revelator Coffee in relation to the coffee scene in Birmingham?
Meredith: There’s a number of really excellent shops in town. We love working with other people in the coffee community. We participate in the throwdowns [barista competitions]. I would just say that we’re another option for people that are into coffee. There’s a little something for everyone here in Birmingham.
Paste: I’m new to your store. I’ve walked in. What do you want me to experience?
Sarah: Hospitality. And good coffee. For us, it’s all about Southern Hospitality. Let’s make you feel at home and let’s also serve you a phenomenal coffee.
Revelator Coffee’s flagship store is located at 1826 3rd Avenue North, Birmingham, AL.