Playful is the word for Amir Gehl. He’s a man whose face is seldom without a grin, who relishes life and its pleasures.
He likes the good stuff and, as part of a family that’s operated a tobacco factory in Israel for six generations, that includes cigars, Cognac, wine and food.
And it's why the founder of Difference Coffee may well make an impact on the cups of your lives in 2017, at home or dining out. And that’s a bit of a surprise, even to him.
“A few years ago, I wasn’t drinking a lot of coffee because it tasted burnt and bitter and I didn’t really like it that much,” he said.
“Then my wife said maybe we should buy a Nespresso machine and I asked her what the point would be because I didn’t really drink coffee but it was for her, not me and that was fine.
"So we got the machine and I started drinking more and liking it more.”
As his interest grew, he started to seek out better products, discovering speciality grade coffees on a trip to Harrods.
Having purchased some Hawaiian Kona, he put some in a self-fill pod for his home machine and, while the results weren't perfect, it was “pretty damn good”.
He said: “I went online to find someone to buy this product from. I thought somebody must do it.
“But there was nobody. I thought it was an interesting opportunity – a chance to start a small business.”
His theory was the better the stuff you put in the pods, the better the cup you get out of it so he began looking for top products.
“I found coffee was graded on a 100-point system, which makes it easy,” he said. “I said all I need to do is find some way of rating the coffee estates and then we’ll use the highest rated ones.
“Then I discovered it’s even easier – in most countries there are regional competitions. For example, every year there’s a Kona coffee competition. I call the winner and I buy the beans.
“It’s more about the coffee than the Nespresso pods – the machine is just the mechanism that most clients would use to brew the drink reliably and consistently.
“But it’s more interesting to me to be the seller of the finest coffees on the planet.
"Almost by coincidence I’ve created a company that procures, packages and sells the highest graded coffees on Earth.
“In most restaurants you can’t find exotic coffees. We spend so much time reading about wine and cigars but when it comes to coffees there’s very little – how come?
“It’s about creating a product for any person who is discerning enough to go to a Michelin star restaurant or open a good bottle of wine.”
At present the company sells Kona for £25 per box of 10 Nespresso capsules, Jamaica blue for £35 and Wild Kopi Luwak for £50.
It also supplies beans and capsules to restaurants with an ever-growing client list that includes
The Wellesley, Harry’s Bar, The Langham, The Four Seasons and The Square. Amir’s intention is to target high-end venues in Canary Wharf and east London but, until then, readers can get access to his coffees by approaching him online.
He said: “I wanted my private sales to have the feel of a private club. For those who really care, all people need to do is drop me a line via firstname.lastname@example.org .”
Need a machine to brew up your pods? Why not invest in the Nespresso Inissia Coffee Machine with Aeroccino by Magimix (£69.99), available from Waitrose in Canada Place.
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