This is an interview with Jonathan Strauss, co-founder of DEVIEHL, London. Makers of luxurious coffee cups.
Jonathan Strauss and Andreas Bös relaxing with a cup of their favourite coffee.
- Tell us what you do/offer how long have you been established?
I’m the co-founder of DEVIEHL, London. DEVIEHL is all about luxury coffee cups. We spent 2 years developing our product. We produce exquisite coffee cups that enhance the coffee drinking experience. The cups are hand crafted from unconventional materials including exotic woods, hydrophobic leathers, carbon fiber and marble. Each piece is entirely unique. Our cups are precision engineered and technically sophisticated. Each cup integrates over 25 separate components. The walls have built in insulation that keeps the coffee at its optimum temperature for longer, the inner form is optimised to create the perfect “crema” on ones Espresso using computational fluid dynamics – the technology used to design F1 cars.
- What is your background and how did you get into this business or what or who was your inspiration for starting it?
My background is in the luxury watch industry; in fact I’ve lived in Switzerland, since 1998. My partner Andreas Bös and I met at the London Business School, where we were studying. Both of us are passionate coffee drinkers. We were having a casual chat over an espresso and a dry cappuccino when the idea behind DEVIEHL dawned upon us. Coffee has become a luxury; companies such as La Marzocco sell domestic coffee machines costing over $20,000; there are now amazing varieties of coffee beans available yet coffee cups are, for the most part, bland and uninspired, often detracting from the drink itself. With Andreas’ engineering and my watchmaking background, we set out on a journey to develop “The Perfect Coffee cup”.
- Are you passionate about what you do? Do you like what you do?
I hope so but you’d better asked our partners! I’m a fervent believer that to succeed in business you need to be passionate about what you do. Passion and emotion are also inextricably connected to luxury. We are passionate coffee enthusiasts and passionate about creating a perfect product.
Indeed I love what I do! There is immense satisfaction in seeing the fruitions of one’s efforts; having the original idea, developing the product, working with inspired partners and eventually sharing the satisfaction that the final customer has from owning their cup.
- Working within the industry that you do, you must get to sample many types and flavours of coffee, can you tell us what your favourite is?
I’m a keen Espresso drinker! My current favourite is El Vendaval, a Costa Rican Red Catuai with a buttery toffee taste. Divine!
- Which business leader most inspires you?
I would have to say my partner Andreas. DEVIEHL is all about challenging the paradigms, bringing an entirely original concept to the market, in a unique way. We feed off each other, and that really leads to OUR creativity.
- What hurdles did you encounter along the way or what mistakes did you make when setting the business up and how did you overcome and learn from them?
It’s taken us two years to bring Deviehl to the market. Looking back, much of that time has been spent on 2 areas; firstly the engineering. Our cups are technically sophisticated, no one has ever produced anything like a DEVIEHL cup before, we really had to start from scratch. Secondly, one of the unique aspects is our use of unconventional materials. A huge amount of time has been spent finding craftsman able to create the components for us. For example, we have a range of cups covered in hydrophobic leather. The leatherwork is undertaken in France using a technique known as “Gainerie”. This is a traditional craft where a single piece of leather is hand stretched over a surface. The single seam is virtually invisible. Our wooden parts are hand turned and lacquered in Germany in a small workshop, using traditional techniques. It’s not just been a search to find craftsman in one area, because of the fusion of materials we use, we have had to find specialist in many areas. This has been a huge challenge!
Along the way, we’ve engaged with many people, engineers, potential retailers, industry experts, consumers and so on. Their objective feedback has been invaluable and really helped us to get to where we are. This dialogue and interaction has helped us to minimize mistakes.
Both of us passionately believe in DEVIEHL. Undoubtedly having positive yet objective feedback has helped us to persevere.
- Looking to the future where do you think the most significant growth will occur in the company in the next few years? What new products or services to you plan to implement?
The key luxury markets internationally, are our primary focus. If you look at the BRICS, and the fastest growing coffee markets, there is a strong correlation. We are still very much a nascent business with enormous opportunities to develop our brand internationally in these areas.
We have a number of exiting developments in the pipeline, each involving fabulous design, technical sophistication, as well as artisanal craftsmanship.
- Who would you most like to have or had as client and why?
It’s funny you ask this question. We’ve undertaken a huge amount of research into coffee and coffee drinking. I remember reading up about several famous coffee drinkers such as Bach, Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire who I think drank 40 cups a day, of course it would have been great if any of these could have been customers. More seriously, I don’t have any preference. We’ve tried to create a beautiful cup that allows the drinker to really savour and appreciate the coffee and we’d be delighted if we could deliver that experience to anybody!
Where can people buy your products?
Our collection is available at Harrods as well as William & Son in London.
Please email unique@DEVIEHL.com for stockists outside London.