Getting to know the team at The Miners
What's the story behind The Miners and how did it all start?
Egor, co-founder of The Miners: When we first launched The Miners, the majority of specialty coffee shops were intensely passionate about coffee, catering predominantly to coffee nerds and aficionados. While they ensured a quality brew, the overall experience wasn't necessarily conducive for those seeking a spot to work productively. Recognising this gap, we set out to create a specialty coffee shop tailored for individuals aiming for focus and productivity, all within the ambiance of enjoying a fine cup of coffee. This unique blend of productivity and ambiance is something I believe is distinctive to The Miners.
Can you share more about The Miners' approach to sourcing and roasting coffee?
We typically discover partners at festivals, and as our reputation grows, many approach us directly. While we initially collaborated with industry giants, over time, our longstanding relationships have given us priority access to coffee samples, and we've earned some flexibility in pricing. Upon receiving these samples, which can be either roasted or unroasted (green), we roast the green ones on our sample roaster. This roaster has a capacity of about 100 grams, which is sufficient for a cupping session. During these sessions, we discern our preferences and then procure the choicest beans, either through advance contracts or immediate purchases.
Many of the lots we come across might be limited in quantity, say, 40 bags. We then determine whether to buy the complete lot or only a fraction, like 10 bags. When it comes to filter roasts, we usually get just a pallet, but for espresso, the quantities are substantially larger. If a particular coffee captures our heart, such as our Papayo and Gesha from Colombia, we make it a point to buy it directly from the farmer.
What prompted The Miners to venture into the capsule coffee format?
Ilya, The Miners Roastery Director: I think capsules present a brilliant solution for individuals to relish coffee at home without investing in high-end equipment. With the vast array of espresso machines available at varying prices, acquiring one can be as affordable as 60 euros, making great daily home coffee within reach for many.
When we unveiled our pioneer batch of specialty capsules, we were trailblazers in the Czech Republic. Not only were they biodegradable, but they also boasted high compatibility. The caliber of our coffee transitioned seamlessly into the capsule format, standing out impressively even among other specialty capsules.
When delving into capsules, two elements are paramount: the quality of the coffee and the specific bean selection. We have always favoured the natural coffee process over the washed one. This is because the swift water flow in capsule machines doesn't allow ample extraction time for washed coffee. To ensure consistency, we engage in rigorous testing, often multiple rounds. We provide the roasted beans to the capsule producer, who then supplies us with varied samples based on grind size, weight, and TDS (solubility) levels. They grind the coffee right before encapsulation, ensuring minimal air exposure, preserving the freshness for up to a year.
Capsules have democratised specialty coffee. Previously, capsules were synonymous with subpar quality. Now, for just 16 crowns, one can enjoy a flawless espresso. What's even more remarkable about our capsules is the ability to discern the nuanced flavours, far removed from mere earthy, salty, and mineral tastes.
Everyone has their own morning rituals, with coffee often playing a pivotal role. What does your morning routine look like?
Azat, CMO of The Miners: I simply can't envision starting my day without a pour-over. Ever since I lived in New Zealand, I've been enamoured with black coffee and flat white, which are highly popular there. Whenever I travel, my Aeropress accompanies me, ensuring I can enjoy a different brew wherever I am. A day without coffee is inconceivable for me!
Ilya: I jokingly say, "I wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy." But in reality, my morning begins with an immediate shower. I then relish a delightful home-cooked breakfast with my wife. Once dressed, I head to work, and the first order of business is to indulge in an espresso.
Egor: I must admit, I'm profoundly reliant on coffee. If I don't start my day with it, a nagging headache ensues. After waking up, my first stop is the coffee shop, where I typically consume about three coffees before lunch. This ritual jump-starts my day, priming me for work. I might indulge in another cup in the late afternoon. However, my weekends are a different story. If I miss out on my regular coffee shop visits, it throws my entire day off balance. My blood pressure fluctuates, and I just don't feel right.
What are you most excited about right now and for the future of The Miners as a brand/business?
What truly thrills me is that as we grow, we're branching out into unique ventures, such as launching our own skateboards in partnership with professional skateboarders. Some of these skateboarders are even set to participate in this year's Olympic Games. On a lighter note, we're also considering introducing some tennis-themed merchandise. While this isn't our core business, it reflects another enjoyable facet of our brand. In terms of our cafe, the prospect of establishing our presence in major European cities and expanding into Middle Asian countries is exhilarating. This expansion ensures that wherever we travel, we're never too far from a quality cup of our coffee. Receiving photographs from friends who discover our coffee on shelves in countries like Poland, Lithuania, or Italy—sometimes in places I wasn't even aware we had reached—is a testament to our remarkable growth, and it's a sight that never ceases to amaze me.