A high-tech retail experience squarely focused on coffee has opened in Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood. Huge X Brash is a collaboration between local roasting company Brash Coffee Roasters and the design and marketing firm Huge.
The third retail cafe bearing the Brash name, Huge X Brash creatively incorporates technology into the retail experience, while also introducing some related tech brands.
For customers who menstruate, the shop offers Hooha, a “smart” tampon dispenser launched by Huge earlier this year as an effort to lead by example in the male-dominated tech industry.
Responding to current payment trends, Hooha skips a coin-op system and allows users to send a text message to trigger the dispensation of a tampon from a machine that holds up to 60 of them, which is way more than average. It also has a window for monitoring its stock level.
In the coffee department, HXB gets “smart” on both sides of the counter. In-ear audio headsets inform baristas of new orders received via mobile app and forwarded by custom iPad software. A projector then shines a visual placeholder onto the countertop for that customer’s drink.
Around the cafe, patrons can scan QR codes printed onto augmented reality (AR) coasters, which then provide an immersive educational experience about a particular coffee’s farm and processing.
A representative of Brash Coffee Roasters recently told Daily Coffee News that so far all these bells and whistles have actually succeeded in not only attracting more humans through the door, but also at starting more conversations.
“We’ve noticed that the technology is actually enhancing customer interaction with barista staff, and heightening their overall experience when visiting us,” said the representative. “People are gravitating towards the shop because the technology is actually creating interactive touch points for customers.”
Before becoming Huge X Brash, the coffee shop was originally known as Huge Café when it opened in 2015. The shop now showcases both businesses in a simple and uncluttered space, allowing the coffee to shine.
White walls and ceiling enclose the wood floors and surfaces. A white La Marzocco GB5 espresso machine anchors a straightforward coffee program that also features cascara tea and manual Hario V60 pourovers performed with Fellow Stagg kettles. Coffees for all Brash shops and wholesale customers are roasted in an Atlanta facility on a Diedrich IR-12 machine.
“Brash takes a meticulous approach to our coffee program, just as Huge does with design and innovation,” said Brash. “Together we plan to create a totally unique experience that elevates how customers enjoy their coffee.”
The company said it will depend on customer feedback as to whether or not these new technologies spread to other existing or future Brash cafes.
Said the rep, “Our main priority is making sure our customers are getting the best experience possible when they visit our locations.”
Huge X Brash is now open at 1375 Peachtree St. NE in Atlanta.