SLAY Coffee - The Why

Building SLAY Coffee — The Why

Much before a virus made everyone a homebody, social-distancing a common phrase and all the different “waves of coffee” somewhat obsolete; we had started our journey of building a new kind of coffee experience. Imagine a place with professionally certified Baristas handcrafting your favourite Latte or Americano from freshly roasted and ground premium coffee beans using state of the art equipment aided with technology and crafting an experience that is designed to delight. Now imagine that such a place has no storefront and exists only in the cloud.

The idea and the effort for this started 5 years ago when the entrepreneurship bug bit the 4 of us- regular professionals with happy jobs in New York City. After relocating to India, exiting an online education startup, we realised a glaring hole in our daily routines- a good cup of handcrafted gourmet coffee that can be picked up on our way to work or just ordered online. Sounds basic, but this was in the heart of Bengaluru’s food district where every coffee brand worth its name had set up shop. Yet, the coffee was not ready to be taken out beyond the confines of the cafe or to be ordered online for drinking at the comfort of your desk or home.

This was the beginning of DropKaffe- an online cafe that introduced the city to a good cup of coffee at their desk, at their home or wherever else they wanted. Our coffee angels carried hot and cold coffees in temperature retaining flasks and poured them into a cup in front of the customer- an experience that many said reminded them of home. But, the operational model soon became unfeasible. India’s poster child of online delivery Swiggy had just started their operations from the same neighbourhood. The economics of delivery outweighed the cost of coffee, thereby forcing a change in strategy to bottled beverages.

4 years, 2 co-founder exits and a few pivots later, the “coffee outside the cafe” space was still wide open. Maybe it was in our destiny to have a go at it again.

Thus, was born SLAY.

Coffee isn’t just a beverage.

It takes skill and craftsmanship to grow, to roast, to grind, to brew and to pour.

Coffee is both social and personal. Coffee is a way of life.

At SLAY we have a simple vision — to grow, roast, grind, brew, pour the best coffee and to bring this best cup of coffee TO you, anytime, anywhere.

It is an uncompromising vision. The vision to build India’s Best Coffee brand. A coffee that is delivered to YOU — Anytime, Anywhere.

The way forward for coffee is all about the “outside the cafe” experience. At SLAY, we are excited about it’s possibilities. Here is how we are crafting the new on-demand and on-the-go coffee experience beyond a café:

A 5 star cup of coffee: The ultimate truth lies in the product. Our entire effort is on sourcing the finest coffees and brewing & serving them in the freshest way. The time between roast to usage is less than 15-days on average, keeping the taste and aromas of the coffees to their best. We innovate on our offering based on what our customers demand of us. We serve coffees for every mood, lifestyle and occasion including Skinny Coffees for the calorie conscious customers to SLAY-X to strong coffee lovers (SLAY-X is a 100% Robusta blend which is India’s Strongest Coffee by caffeine %)

That can travel: To make the on-demand and on-the-go coffee possible, we have to provide for an experience especially with packaging that suits the purpose. The biggest barrier to a hot cup of coffee crossing the thresholds of a cafe is packaging. We designed a case (SLAY Case 1.0) to not only retain temperature but also avoid spills, leaks and tampering of the beverage inside. 100% reusable & recyclable, the case is layered with insulation material inside keeping hot beverages hot and cold beverages cold. The shape allows the case to sit easily inside a delivery bag and be carried till the customer without any contact with the beverage inside.

Handcrafted by certified Baristas: The craft of the coffee lies in the hands of the Barista. Through SLAYACAD (SLAY Online Barista Training Academy), we train our baristas on everything that is needed to make them the best in the craft of coffee making. How do we tell our customers that the coffee was handcrafted and not extracted from a machine? We took inspiration from Canadian cosmetics brand Lush and put the name and photo of the Barista on each cup. This not only made the coffee human, but also facilitated the age-old tradition of customers’ favouriting their Barista. Today, many of our customers ask for a specific Barista to handcraft their coffee.

By joining hands with the world’s largest internet restaurants company REBEL foods, we have accelerated our availability and benefited from their best in class operational excellence. This paved the way for us to make SLAY available across 100+ locations across 6 cities in less than 12-months since our inception. Rebel came on-board both as a strategic partner by opening up their massive footprint of cloud kitchen network to SLAY but also as an investor. SLAY would not have been possible without the belief and support of Rebel. We are also thankful to all our prior investors who supported us including Fireside and many others.

Even prior to the outbreak of the current epidemic, our belief and vision for SLAY was rooted in the ideas of better quality, affordable and accessible coffee that’s not limited to the confines of a typical Cafe. This is inline with the changing behaviors and lifestyles of our customers. In the post Covid world, this behavior will only become more mainstream where customers will become more Conscious. Conscious about what, when and where they want to spend their money and time. We exist to cater to the coffee lovers for whom coffee is essential and part of their lifestyle. If a cup of SLAY coffee makes our customer’s day a little better, we’ve done our jobs!

Lakshmi & Chaitanya
Co-founders, SLAY Coffee