At Volum8, our first meeting with a client always begins over a cup of coffee. That is because we believe in conversation over presentation; even before any proposals have been drafted or contracts signed. We are coffee enthusiasts (or coffee geeks depending on who you talk to), so preparing an amazing cup of coffee is kind of our thing. But even if they have no interest in the complex flavor profile that a quality cup of coffee can offer, everyone can appreciate the outstanding client experience that nurtures organic conversations. We believe this is the perfect starting point for a successful engagement.
The Client Experience
When a new client walks through our doors, they are greeted immediately by someone they will be working with over the next few months, as well as the smell of freshly brewed (and sometimes freshly roasted) coffee. Before brewing some coffee, we take them on a quick tour of our office, showcasing things like our Manifesto wall where they can read about our culture and philosophy, which begins with the words “coffee first”.
When they arrive at our coffee bar, they are given the history of our building, starting in the late 1800’s when two tin smiths first built a shop to make and sell their work. They are then brought up to 2014 when Volum8’s founder and Creative Director, Charlie Graham, moved his new startup into the building and saw the opportunity to build a one-of-a-kind coffee bar to serve clients, friends, family, and those who are brave enough to walk in and ask for a cup. We explain the whole process of how we select our coffee, why we hand grind it fresh before brewing, and how we brew each cup special for the client.
Our clients can go to any other design company and have a quick cup of generic coffee, but we have a knack for doing things a little more intimately. By putting such time and effort into our coffee making process, we are metaphorically communicating to the client the time and effort we will be putting into their project. They are getting a glimpse into the way we work and how we do things differently. This is an important piece of our core values; the way we differentiate ourselves is with the expertise, knowledge, and care we put into everything we do.
By starting each project from scratch, whether that’s building websites or brewing coffee, we have total control over the pieces and can customize everything in any way they want. Seeing this process they will understand the craftsmanship, effort, and detail put into this experience and how these same principles shape everything we do.
The Coffee Process
Research & Strategy
After meeting and speaking to the client, as well as using what information we have already gathered about them, we select the coffee beans we think they will enjoy best. Whether it’s a light or medium roast, fruity or chocolatey flavors, Central American or African beans all depends on the client. We do our research and make sure they will enjoy their coffee to the fullest. Once we carefully weigh out the appropriate amount of coffee, we look through the batch and pull out any defects. This is a lot like how we handle our client’s projects – researching their company, industry and market, and then digging out the small, often overlooked details that could be contributing to the bigger problems they are currently facing.
Once we are sure we have only the best beans to brew the coffee with, we begin grinding the beans. We always hand grind our beans to ensure uniformity in grind size and to avoid preheating (and thus pre-extracting) the beans. This resembles our design process; our designers are the ones who use the research and strategy to plan out how a website or web application should look and interact with the user. They need to make sure their designs are great, to eliminate any confusion or miscommunication with our development team.
After we have ground the coffee, we get ready to brew it. All our coffee is brewed using a Hario V60 or Kalita Wave which allows us to fully control the extraction of our coffee. We pre-wet the filter (akin to our developers setting up their environments to build in), add the ground coffee and a little bit of water which allows the coffee to degas, and then finish pouring the water in small concentric circles, allowing for all the coffee to be evenly extracted. Similar to how our team works on our client’s websites, meticulously coding with modern best practices in mind. In turn, ensuring quality and value.
Each cup we brew for our clients is always taste-tested before being handed over. We always make sure to brew enough coffee for ourselves as well as for our clients, which we taste to make sure it is the best we can do. The same is true for our websites and web applications. Although there is client input and feedback throughout the project, we always make sure to quality assurance (QA) test the finished product before being handed over for final review. This is done to make sure they are seeing our absolute best work, and to save them some time and headaches finding bugs that we should have caught ourselves.
By walking our clients through our coffee making process, we are exemplifying our careful attention to detail, the time and dedication we pay to our craft, and the overall quality we expect out of everything we produce. A new website or web application can be a hefty investment, we alleviate our client’s concerns by demonstrating our dedication to quality.