Amir Gehl World's Rarest Coffee: Difference Coffee
Tomer Ben, CEO & Founder of Solomon Mines with Nancy Spielberg
“I only get about six hours sleep a night, but you don’t get much choice when you have got a 20-month-old child. Maybe that is why I got into the coffee business - to keep me going!”
Amir Gehl laughs at the notion, but his passion for crafting only the very finest coffee is clearly derived from more than just the challenges of fatherhood.
“You know when you wake up and you say ‘What am I going to do today?’ You realise that you spend at least eight hours a day at work and if you do not enjoy what you’re doing, or the work doesn’t excite you in some way, then what use is it?”
Amir Gehl bubbles with excitement and enthusiasm, rather like the Nespresso machine we are standing around in the aromatic cigar room of Dunhill’s at 1 St James. He has chosen this luxurious location as the ideal place to meet and talk about his dedication to his company, Difference Coffee.
Born in Israel, Amire came to the UK when he was just eleven years old and while he loves to go back to see old friends and family, his heart is very much in the UK. “I like what the UK has to offer and I hope I have something to offer it,” he says as he carefully cleans the machine to ensure nothing can pollute the very special coffee he is about to put in it. His attention to detail would rival any culinary expert, as would his commitment to only drinking the best, be it wine or coffee.
“I got into coffee a bit late in life,” he tells me, slipping in a capsule of his rare Wild Kopi Luwak coffee. “I didn’t really like it when I was younger, but because we entertain a lot, my wife Natalie and I bought a Nespresso machine for home and its ease of use and cleanliness of delivery helped convert me. But although the coffee was better than most restaurants serve, I felt there must be a better coffee experience out there.”
So he bought a luxury bean-to-cup machine for home and 100g of very expensive Kona coffee from Harrods and tried to do better. “I wasted most of it,” he says with a rueful shake of his head. “It’s all too easy to get it wrong with those machines. So many variables.” His breakthrough was finding that you could fill Nespresso-style capsules with your own coffee, thus ensuring consistent quality with no fuss. “So I said to myself, how expensive can it be to take the best coffees on earth and put them into capsules? Why try and create cheap versions of Nespresso capsules when you could create the ultimate terroir-led coffee collection ever?”
Passing me a gold cup “designed for serving our coffee at Harry’s Bar”, he tells me that ‘Specialty Coffee’ was a term he hadn’t heard before but found out was a precise denomination of the utmost quality and standard.Only 1% of the world’s coffee is titled Specialty Coffee and I am delighted to offer this within our capsules.”
Amir now sells four varieties; each selected and roasted for him by experts. “You don’t need to take my word for it,” he says, “take Jonny England’s, the youngest Licensed Q Grader and a world-renowned coffee judge.” These experts select his Hawaii Kona, Jamaica Blue Mountain, Wild Kopi Luwak (civet coffee) and Panama Geisha. “The last is so special. So little is produced that it’s sold by auction once a year but we got some. It has been compared to hallowed wines from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti,” he says with triumph.
Where can his coffee be bought? “Through the exclusive club, to people who value good taste and also on board luxury private jets and yachts.”
His knowledge of what customers expect has led him to ensure his coffee capsules come in exquisite presentation boxes, each a joy in itself with the coffee’s CV inside. The limited edition boxes even boast gold hinges along with quiet efficient magnetic catches. “Respect the ingredients. Respect the experience and tell the story,” he insists.
“If I am going to do something, I have to do it properly,” he says as he selects a fine cigar from Dunhill’s collection. “I want to know all about it, where it comes from, how it’s produced. It took me one and a half years to prepare to launch Difference Coffee. I wanted it to be just right.” As I sip his coffee nectar from my gold cup, I know Amir has succeeded in creating something special and I envision his product will make waves in the coffee industry worldwide.