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Meet Angela Fomin of Sofá Café

Today we’d like to introduce you to Angela Fomin.

Sofá Café was established in 2011 in São Paulo, Brazil, from the idea of a forest engineer who could not get through the day without his dose of caffeine. Diego Gonzales, the founder, started a coffee shop in an environment resembling a cozy “home´s couch”, which is literally “sofá” in Portuguese.

Just a few year later, Sofá Café is now considered one of the best coffee shops in São Paulo (including 1 store inside Google Campus) and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with a chain of 6 stores in the greatest metropolitan city – São Paulo and 1 store in Rio de Janeiro, and awarded one of the Best Coffee shops by Magazine Veja since 2013/14/15/16/17, and Best Coffee Shop in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

In 2014 one of Sofá Café’s partners, Angela Fomin entered into one of the greatest consumer markets of coffee: United States. She opened up their first store in Boston at the famous Newbury Street and later moved the store to the town of Framingham MA (2017).

Now, the store of Framingham roasts its own specialty coffee, using a high tech latest model roasting machine, bringing coffee from Colombia, El Salvador, Brazil and Ethiopia. To be considered a specialty coffee it must reach a score of up to 80, to have a high degree of purity and very high quality.

Few producers can achieve this quality, and at Sofá Café, the coffee has to get at least 84 points to get through the doors. Besides roasting coffee in-house now, Sofá also have a full kitchen, baking their own baked goods and expanded their menu offering breakfasts, soups, salads, and sandwiches.

The new store has been completed renovated prior to opening in 2017, from top to bottom, there is a fireplace inside the store, sofas/couches around the store, a private conference room free of charge for private meetings/conferences/events, and free Wi-Fi to all clients.

Angela Fomin has been engaging with Framingham community and leaders and helping host events from book authors signing releases, first Framingham Comedy Weekend, local business events, and community meetings.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The greatest challenge we encountered when opening the first store in the United States was location. Although Newbury Street is considered a great spot for high-end companies, and maybe we will consider it again in the future, we were limited on offering a full menu and roasting our own coffee due to license permits and space.

Now in Framingham, we can offer our own menu because we have space for a full kitchen, and clients can see firsthand the coffee bean process, from seed to their cup.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Sofá Café – what should we know?
What makes Sofá Café so interesting is our special way of serving coffee in different brew methods such as French Press, Aeropress, Hario V60 and Chemex. These brew methods are served at the customer’s table, very different from the regular coffee shops when coffee has been standing there already made. This method allows client to sip and savor their coffees right there at their table, it is delicious and super fresh.

Our drink menu also offer specialties line of flavors such as: Affogato (vanilla ice cream + espresso + whipped cream), Cult (espresso + milk + Nutella + baileys coffee creamer), Ventura (iced coffee + sugar + lime). Our pastries are made from scratch, we also bake the famous Brazilian cheese bread and another version with bacon bites. We have something for every taste, from salads, sandwiches, to soups and omelets.

But coffee is our main product, we are very proud to serve only specialty coffee. What it means? The coffees, when classified, are evaluated in more than 10 sensorial patterns like aroma, sweetness, acidity, body, and others.

They can score from 0 to 100 according to their quality and thus are classified into 4 categories:

-TRADITIONAL

-SUPERIOR

-GOURMET

-SPECIALTY

To be considered a specialty coffee it must reach a score of up to 80, to have a high degree of purity and very high quality. Few producers can achieve this quality, and here at Sofá Café the coffee has to get at least 84 points to get through our doors.

Another big thing we are really proud of is our social projects in Brazil, and hopefully soon here in United States too.

The project “Coffee makers”, which works in partnership with other business, was created in 2014 with the sole objective … to do our part for a world more accessible to all. It’s a school where coffee is the focus of study! The project came up with the idea of training young people of low income, over 18 years old, free of charge, with the objective of working beyond the extraction of coffee.

“We worry about going far: we will not simply train these young people in a beverage extraction course, they will go through all the dynamics that involve specialty coffees, from the production of grains to roasted beans, and understanding the coffee business. It is a complete formation, “says Diego Gonzales, founder of Sofá Café and creator of the Project.

Along the years, the project has formed more than 40 partnerships with different local coffee shops to collaborate with Fazedores de Café in helping students with low income to learn the skill of barista and hands-on training. With this training, many other former students were already hired for full-time positions.

In July 2018 Sofá Café announced the graduation of their 5th class and announced a new partnership with Estou Refugiado (I am a refugee) which will be training refugees in Sao Paulo area on their 6th class. We hope one day to have a similar social project in the United States too.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/estourefugiado/

https://www.facebook.com/fazedoresdecafe/

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Yvonne Spicer, Yasmin DeSouza

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