Having now seen hundreds of them, I can confidently say the majority of coffee roasting promotional videos have a few key elements in common: lovely cinematography, slow-motion shots of beans hitting the cooling tray, unabashed uses of the words “craft” and “finest,” vague references to the importance of sourcing, and voiceovers fraught with self-importance.
So when I recently received an email saying “We’re proud to announce a film that celebrates the hand-crafted, artisan, boutique nature of roasting coffee authentically in East London,” I was loath to even to press play.
The author behind all those eye-roll-inducing buzzwords was Jamie Strachan, the director of coffee at the London roastery Dark Arts Coffee. I nearly aborted the viewing after a beardy rolled up to an industrial roasting space on a vintage motorcycle and a deeply reflective voiceover said, “I think the most important thing in life is to live authentic, to work with your hands, to keep it real.”
But I stayed tuned for one more line, one that made me realize this was no run-of-the-mill promo video, indeed. The voiceover said. “I love what I do, and I do what I love, and (pregnant pause) I love that I do that, too.”
What unfolded from there is arguably the greatest work of coffee irony ever produced, in my humble opinion — and coffee people tend to be a comedically ironic lot — complete with a killer punchline, which I won’t spoil for you in words here. Just watch it:
While the video doesn’t bother to mention it, Dark Arts also timed its release with the opening of a lovely new retail component within its East London roasting facility called I Will Kill Again.
In speaking with Strachan further, he gave us, unironically, details on the new shop, which was opened by Dark Arts managing director’s partner Talia Aitchison and business partner Rebecca Lever in collaboration with the coffee company.
“It’s a continuation of the brand but came from the desire to make a space for our friends to come hang out and eat — which means having a strong veggie/vegan offer on the menu,” Strachan said, adding that brunch is served on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, while coffee service throughout the week includes batch brews, pourovers and espresso drinks with a Synesso Cyncra and Mahlkonig EK43 and Nuova Simonelli Mythos grinders. “It should feel like you’re visiting our home; it’s a working roastery and it’s a hang-out spot for our crew and family, but we’ve had a really positive response from a wide range of people; there are a lot of coffee people in London who are happy that there’s somewhere with a really different vibe.”