Whole Foods Market and its coffee brand, Allegro Coffee, are teaming up in Brooklyn for brunch this Saturday, May 16, that will involve pairings of single-origin coffees with sweet and savory brunchy bits.
Being led by Allegro Coffee’s sourcing director Darrin Daniel and Whole Foods Chef Dan Rothman, the brunch is a marketing collaboration designed to promote the Gowanus, Brooklyn, market’s in-house roasting program. The Gowanus market is one of only two Whole Foods stores in the country with on-site roasting — the other is the Gilman market in Berkeley, Calif. — which falls under Allegro’s upscale brand, Allegro Coffee Roasters.
“We have been really well-received in the store, but not known much outside the store,” Whole Foods regional coffee coordinator for the Northeast Michelle Diaz told Daily Coffee News. “We were trying to think of ways to help get the ACR name out there.”
The roastery, helmed by roastmaster Matt Perelli, opened with the Gowanus store in December 2013, with the Berkeley roastery opening a year later. The ACR brand involves a different sourcing approach than that of Allegro Coffee, a Whole Foods subsidiary that has represented the chain’s house brand since 1997. Diaz says the ACR roasteries are working with small, micro lot coffees, which are brewed in-store at the two respective cafes, each outfitted with upscale manual and mechanized brewing equipment not found at typical Whole Foods cafes.
Packaging and hand-stamping is also done on-site for coffees to be sold on the store’s shelves alongside other Allegro Coffee offerings and bags from local and regional roasteries. The Gilman roastery, which is larger than the Gowanus roastery, operates also as a hub, with ACR-branded coffees shipped to regional stores.
While Brooklyn’s 3k drum roaster is essentially running at capacity to meet the single store’s demand, Diaz says the Whole Foods and Allegro teams are interested in expanding the regional distribution approach for the ACR brand.
“We did not think that far ahead when we opened our Brooklyn location,” Diaz says. “We are actively looking for a roaster in the Northeast region where we can use that hub-and-spoke approach and be able to have those coffees ship to other stores in the region.”
This Saturday’s brunch will include five pairings, with five single-origin coffees — Costa Rica Santa Rosa 1900, Guatemala Asuvim, Java Sunda Hejo, Ethiopia Homacho Waeno and Kenya Karagoto — either batch- or Chemex-brewed. Local suppliers such as Lucky Seven Farms, Catsmo and Black Seed Bagels will be supplying the ingredients on the food side.