By Muhammad Riaz Usman Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Anna Tsfasman founded "Double B" coffee in 2012 in Russia with just three people. Now it operates more than 80 coffee shops in Moscow, St Petersburg and other cities around the world including Dubai.
While working as a general manager at Koffein, a coffee shop chain in Russia, Anna Tsfasman conceptualized the idea of Double B, an international premium coffee brand.
Koffein was similar to Starbucks in terms of concept and its treatment with coffee. At some point, its investors realized that great coffee was not the key issue for a coffee shop and that they should start working with a lower-priced option.
"Then I decided to start a new chain with a very distinctive concept for our market: all types of coffee, tea, signature drinks and croissants," Anna says.
She founded Double B in 2012 in Russia with just three people. Now it operates more than 80 coffee shops in Moscow, St Petersburg and other cities in Russia, as well as in Prague, Barcelona, Tbilisi and Dubai. Double B is the first Russian coffee company to have entered the global market.
Talking exclusively to Khaleej Times after the inauguration of Double B Coffee and Tea's first Middle Eastern store at City Walk Dubai, Anna claims that Double B is the first outlet in the emirate that serves the famous Russian coffee drink, Raf.
Raf started as an espresso shot, cream and sugar steamed together, a legendary concoction that has since been adopted by all specialty Russian coffee shops.
Talking about her plans, Anna discloses that she is building a confectionary factory in the UAE with one of the best French chefs, which is expected to be completed this month.
Discussing the UAE's business environment she says: "We had our ups and downs, but the environment as a whole is very friendly. When you realize the way business is done here, it goes smoothly from there on."
"Some startups may think there is too many rules and regulations and paperwork, but this is good for them to run things smoothly and transparently," she continues.
Anna opened the chain with the goal of being one of the world's best coffee specialists, serving high-quality coffee sourced from the best plantations and roasted to perfection.
"Our main goal is to change the way customers perceive coffee. Most of them realize that coffee is a cheery and that it should never be bitter only when they start going to our coffee shop," she says.
Scouring the globe for the best plantations, Double B supports farms in Columbia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda and El Salvador. Working with the farmers allows Double B to experiment with cultivating and processing coffee to guarantee the uniqueness of its brand.
"Another goal is to help the farmers and preserve the variety of coffee trees that exist at the moment. Coffee as a commodity is extremely underpaid for, farmers should start getting much more for their hard work," she asserts.
Double B holds a record of winning the Russian coffee brewing championships multiple times and is currently vice-champion of the world in coffee roasting. The coffee chain has two full-scale roasting facilities in Moscow and Prague, enabling the team to deliver premium coffee throughout the world.
"First and foremost we share the opportunity to try amazing coffees from various farms all over the world roasted by our award-winning team and brewed by great baristas. The passion we all have for the product drives not only us, but our guests as well. Another game-changer is our signature drinks, which are basically sweet liquid coffee deserts in a cup that you can try only at Double B. We make all the caramels and ingredients ourselves from the very best spices and fruits that we can find, then we integrate them into our coffee," Anna explains.
Like most businessmen, Anna also admires Richard Branson and all the new leaders.
"But I do realize that without true insights it could be just a great picture. All businesses go through hard times and uncertainty and only when you have a close look at the decision-making processes you can see the true story," she says.
Anna is a huge opera fan, "so I will make sure that every time I visit Dubai to get tickets".
As a part of her job Anna has to try out great restaurants and some of them are her favorites. But the most enjoyable place is, where she would love to go again and again is the sea. "It gives you the sense of rest and calm and allows you to think through all the decisions," she says.
For young entrepreneurs, Anna advises to believe in themselves "and always remember your bigger goal, never get lost in small things that come and go".
Each barista at Double B attends the Double B Academy, a full-fledged educational center offering vigorous training by authorized SCA (Speciality Coffee Association) trainers, developed for deep methodological and theoretical knowledge. The baristas are all devoted coffee enthusiasts, making patrons instantly feel at ease and taken care of.
Anna attributes her success to her team. "Baristas and farmers are the ones who work the hardest and are the key to our success," she concludes.