This 1830s Coffee brewing technology still amazes us with its pristine characters and the ability to make great and awesome coffee. Here is where vapor pressure and vacuum produce coffee. (Photo Courtesy ete_coffee@Instagram)
There is something passionate about drinking coffee- the process of brewing the grounds, enjoying its aroma and flavor afterward. Drinking a cup of coffee is in itself a ritual that either preludes or concludes an activity. It indicates a new day before rushing to work, it is also a good companion when you want to spend time alone, read a book or watch a movie, not forgetting that it also caps off a hearty meal shared with friends or loved ones.
Lichan Humtsoe of Ete Coffee has some insights to share about coffee and what his new coffee bar has to offer the community. He and his wife started a roastery and coffee bar that exclusively source all the coffee beans from four districts in Nagaland- Kohima, Mokokchung, Mon and Wokha.
“Coffee is more of a culture than just a drink,” Lichan states with a resolute note to offer customers a different café experience.
“We call this a roastery and coffee bar because here we roast and brew the coffee. There is not many in India as well, maybe just four or five roastery cum coffee bars India and in Northeast and we could be the first one doing this. We would really encourage people to start looking in the spectrum of how we can look at coffee as a community building and not just as a business,” says Lichan, who aspires to take Coffee to the next level.
‘Justice a cup’
Ete Coffee is the first coffee roasting company in Nagaland with the tagline – ‘Justice a cup’ established in the year 2016. The word ‘Ete’ comes from a Naga word meaning ‘us’ or ‘ours.’
“Inspiration came from more of a burden for our society, apart from our love for coffee. Justice is one of the reasons that pushed us to start this business,” says Lichan.
“I did not intend this to be a business. I would roast and brew it for myself and the family and friends started requesting me to make coffee packages for gifting purposes and that is how we came out with our own coffee product line. Later on we decided to venture into the coffee bar and roasting business, with a vision of providing sustainable employment to our youths,” he shares.
Leaning the art of
making great coffee
Lichan understands very well that every cup of coffee is important. “It is vital that you and your staff know how to make good coffee. Making good coffee is not rocket science but it is very important to receive quality barista training before you work behind a commercial espresso machine Barista training also gives you and your staff confidence in coffee making,”
Lichan explains, “Over the years we have sponsored our team including me to get trained on roasting and how to brew coffee. We had barista training from various institutions; however, it is still a continued process.”
Endorsing Nagaland grown coffee
The fact that Lichan has been testing and drinking local coffee, he is familiar with the local coffee industry making it easier to establish contacts for getting local products. “We source only from Nagaland. Four districts so far- Mokokchung, Mon, Wokha, and Kohima,” Lichan asserts with great delight. He adds that “for those who still doubt the quality of homegrown coffee, everyone must be adventurous once in a while and to be discerning consumers. It pays to know where the beans are sourced from.”
‘Local coffee shops are promising’
He also shares that “Small, local coffee shops can establish a solid reputation in their communities, attracting large volumes of highly loyal, sometimes daily patrons. Marketing a coffee shop requires more subtlety than other local businesses.”
However, Lichan also says that as these establishments provide a highly social experience, one should greatly relay on word-of-mouth advertising and personal recommendations from existing customers.
“But is it not scary to stay agile and fast-moving to stay relevant?” he adds.
“I do not see any loopholes. Right from day one, we had our online shopping site so we sell our products across India. One product that aggressively sells is the local stores and to be honest, we are in fact unable to supply and meet the high demand of the consumers. Marketing wise we are doing exceptionally well so far,” he testifies.
Ete- More than just a store
Ete coffee is strongly committed to promoting the local coffee industry, something Lichan had always intended to foster from the beginning. “Developing a personal taste in coffee means trying out different variants, so do not be hesitant to ask the barista about the flavor profile of the coffee you’re ordering,” he says.
Lichan also shares that Syphon is one of the most popular drinks for the reason that it is dates back to the 1830s. But generally it is like a corrector. “We serve 21 plus types of coffee. Everyone is wired to appreciate certain things in different ways so people drink their own choice of coffee. The reason why I mentioned Syphon is because of the fact that we normally brew it on the table and walk through the entire process for the customer to see and we use a vacuum to extract the coffee so people get excited to try the coffee,” he stated.
As Ete coffee crosses two-year mark in the industry, Lichan looks forward to further promote Ete’s own coffees. As Ete coffee begins to roast their beans in-house, enabling them to supply to other coffee establishments as well, this also means better control over the quality of coffee that they serve their customers, and with good-quality local coffee comes more demand.
Empowering local coffee farmers
Lichan affirms that their future plan is all about justice. “We want to give justice to the farmers and we strive to achieve our goal. The coffee that we are buying today was planted in the 80’s and for a very long time now outsiders are buying at a throwaway price by manipulating the farmers by telling them that the coffee business is a failure. Now we buy from them at the international price and we even give an extra fee as a partnership fee and not exploit them.”
Further, he discloses that there is a network called EML (Educate Motivate and lead) network. “We not only educate and motivate them to grow coffee plantation but also lead them to develop proper marketing strategies. We save 10% of our company’s proceeds for EYF (Employability of Youth Fund) to sponsor local youths who are willing to undergo skills training in order to become employable at all sectors and the last but the very important thing is not to exploit the resources.”
Ete coffee is able to further support local farmers by working with them directly. An end-to-end supply chain may help ensure fair returns for everyone involved. Lichan believes that expanding the business might be arduous, long and expensive but more investment on the local coffee farmers means we will see a bigger expansion of Ete coffee.
“We really hope to make this a place for education and research center and next are to have a chain of coffee product line so people can enjoy our authentic Naga coffee,” Lichan states hopefully.
For all those who are anxious to visit the distinctive place can reach Ete Coffee at Billy Graham Road, Kohima. It opens from 12noon to 8:00pm from Monday to Saturday. Ete Coffee can be also found in Instagram @ete_coffee or visit www.etecoffee.com for more details.