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How Grind Turned a Single Café Into an 8-Figure Direct-to-Consumer Coffee Brand

David Amrahamovich the founder of Grind.

David Abrahamovich’s London-based coffee business, Grind, has been meeting its customers where they are since its inception.

There’s the company’s original café, opened in 2011 in a bustling part of Shoreditch, with plenty of proximity to tech businesses (and their caffeinated employees). There’s the coffee, designed specifically to cut through milk and appeal to the majority of coffee-drinking palates. And there’s the ever-evolving business model: Grind’s first location was an early pioneer in the coffee-by-day, cocktails-by-night trend (designed to appeal to customers who wanted to stick around after-hours), a move so popular it helped the company expand and reach customers in locations all across London.

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And expand Grind did—to almost a dozen cafés and online.

The latest evolution of the business aims to reach customers beyond brick-and-mortar, with a bet on ecommerce, something David invested in before the COVID-19 outbreak, ultimately saving the company in the process.

David Abrahamovitch in an olive shirt and black pants sit on top of pink boxes of Grind coffee in Grind’s roasting facility.
Even before opening Grind’s first location, David Abrahamovitch and his team decided to invest in roasting their own coffee and finding coffee beans that fit most palates. Grind 

“In the summer of 2019, we did this final round [of fundraising], which was £3.5 million,” says David. “I felt quite strongly by then that we needed to invest some of that money into something other than just more High Street stores.”

Wanting to make that Grind-at-home experience convenient, consistent, and environmentally friendly, David and the team developed compostable coffee pods, a product Grind is still iterating on today.

A pair of patrons sitting at a Grind café out of focus while the signature pink tins of Grind coffee are in focus and in the background.
Grind’s concept worked so well that it was able to expand to close to a dozen cafés.  Grind 

“It’s been a massive process, and we’re still working on it every day. It’s not something which is finished,” David says. “We just launched the next generation of our pods, which are certified as home compostable. The previous pods are classified as ‘industrially compostable.’ That means they will compost, but only in special facilities, which is a huge step forward, but it’s not perfect.”

A couple of models in a living room setting using compostable coffee pods by Grind with a breakfast spread in the foreground.
Tackling the waste that coffee pods cause, Grind created compostable coffee pods to offer a convenient and environmentally friendly way for customers to enjoy their coffee at home. Grind 

This dedication to constantly iterate and evolve is the foundation of Grind’s successful journey over the past decade. David’s evolution of Grind is just one of the topics he shared on our Shopify On Location edition of the Shopify Masters podcast. Tune in to the whole interview to learn how he navigated multimillion-dollar fundraising rounds, built his own coffee roastery, and established key partnerships with Soho House.

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