I have an entire folder on my iPhone dedicated to a dozen or so different coffee-related apps. Over the years I have downloaded a number of free & paid-for apps and most of them don’t end up getting used more than a handful of times.
Recently I found out about an app called Firstbloom and decided to give it a go. And I have to say I have really enjoyed it. So after a few weeks of playing around with the app and its features I decided to reach out to the people behind Firstbloom.
I contacted Alex & Stef and they were more than happy to do an interview with me to share more about their app and the story of Firstbloom.
Q: So tell me, where’s home for you?
STEF + ALEX: We live and are based out of Montreal! It’s a good spot to be in right now since the craft coffee industry is really starting to get its legs.
Q: Do you have a background in specialty coffee? If so, what? If not, how did you fall in love with it?
ALEX: My background is in technology, design and photography. I’ve been a web developer for around 10 years now with a strong focus on the user interface side of things. My love for coffee came about just over 2 years ago because of my close friends the CafeClimbers (Instagram: @cafeclimbers) who properly introduced me to craft coffee. After diving further into the rabbit hole, I’ve come to fall in love with how much care goes into producing a single cup of craft coffee.
STEF: I don’t have a background in specialty coffee either! My original background is in communications, but I have been working as a user experience designer for the past few years. I was actually not a coffee drinker at all until Alex introduced me to specialty coffee a year or two ago. He started brewing it for me and it took me a while to develop my palate (it’s still developing!) but now it’s become part and parcel of my everyday.
Q: So tell me what was the inspiration for The Firstbloom app?
ALEX: The inspiration came from catching ourselves wondering what coffee should we buy next, every week. When you’re paying $16-$25 on average for a bag of coffee, it’s nice to know that what you’re getting is something you’ll enjoy for the next week or so.
STEF: We did also take some inspiration from Vivino and Untappd along the way. They confirmed for us that a food & drink app was a totally doable thing and actually in demand for people who love niche products.
Q: What sets your app apart from other coffee brewing/experience apps out there?
STEF + ALEX: Most other apps tend to focus either on your experience at a café (or finding one) or act as a log book for your brew recipes. What we think sets us apart is that we’re coffee focused. We’re after the detailed information of where a coffee comes from so we can give our users the most accurate picture of origin as we can, which usually turns into a good amount of research!
We feel that as an industry there’s a shift towards transparency, but there are still quite a few steps to be taken. We think gathering all this data is a good first step and we want to do our part to help change that.
Q: What are some of the user-features that someone who hasn’t tried Firstbloom should be excited about?
ALEX: Right now I think the detail we can give you on most coffees is helpful in choosing what to buy next. It’s also a really easy way to keep track of what you’ve had and get a sense of what types of coffee you like. We have some exciting stuff coming in the next few releases that are focused more on exploration and really being able to find coffees with specific flavour profiles.
STEF: For myself, I think the crowdsourced tasting notes more specifically is a fun one. We wanted people to be able to contribute together to a general portrait of what a coffee tastes like, whether that actually reflects what a roaster might put on their bags, or not.
Q: Your app seems to feature many amazing Canadian Roasters. Any ones you’re really enjoying lately?
ALEX: It’s so hard to choose! There are quite a few that are doing amazing things for the industry in Canada and in general. I can’t pick a favourite roaster, but I can list a coffee that I’ve had in the last weeks that really stuck with me. The CM Jasper lot 0818 from Hatch Crafted in Toronto, ON.
STEF: We also just went through a bunch of coffees from Kaito, a roaster from Hudson, just outside of Montreal. They recently added new items to their lineup so we just had to try them all. I really liked the Guatemala Hunapu and I think Alex especially liked the Kenya Gaturiri.
Q: Can users submit suggestions to you about roasters they’d like to see added to the app? If so, how?
STEF + ALEX: We’re working on adding a specific suggestion feature! Like we mentioned, we do put in some elbow grease to make sure we have as much info as possible about specific products so we do want to do a pass on coffees before they get added to the app.
Q: Anything else you want to share with thebloom.coffee’s audience?
ALEX: It’s easy to take coffee for granted, especially when you’re so far removed from the process of the final product. I think it’s important that we take time to reflect on how what we buy affects others all over the world. Spending that extra $10 on a bag of coffee from a roaster who pays a fairer price-per-pound of coffee is what is going to keep coffee—all coffee—alive.
STEF: About us specifically; we have big ideas about what features we want to have in the app in the future, but we also really enjoying hearing about what other people would like to see. So we love when people reach out with anything really, critiques, comments, haikus. 🙂
I really want to thank Alex & Stef for taking the time to do this interview with me. They are such a great team and I am really excited to continue using their app and to see what new & exciting features are on the horizon.
This is really why thebloom.coffee was created. To connect coffee lovers with great roasters, gear distributors, and tech like Firstbloom. I hope that you’ll head on over to the Apple App Store or Google Play and download it. Let me know what you think!