Ally Coffee unveils its new global specialty headquarters, an open-space office housing the company’s purchasing, sales, and education teams in an abandoned textile mill in Greenville, S.C.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Tony Abbott
Ally Coffee officially announced the opening of its new global specialty headquarters office and education lab in Greenville, S.C. The company, which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, operates satellite offices across the U.S. and Europe, including Los Angeles, Kansas City (Mo.), New York, Portland (Ore.), Atlanta, Berlin, and Gothenburg (Sweden). Ally opened its first specialty office in a smaller space in Greenville in 2014, and the opening of this space marks a new chapter of growth and development for the specialty division.
The new headquarters has over 7,000 square feet of space, and will house all of purchasing, management, and education under one roof with room to grow. Conceptually, the space is designed to be open and fluid, reflecting the teamwork encouraged among members of different departments. In the roasting room, you’ll find an Ikawa electric fluid air roaster and Probat BRZ to roast new samples, and Diedrich IR-2.5 and Brazilian Atilla 5kg roasters for production roasting and educational purposes.
“We offer a range of classes and customized programs blending online learning with practical classes in green coffee, roasting, brewing, and food safety compliance,” says Ildi Revi, director of education for Ally and the subject of the “Master Q&A” article in the February + March 2018 issue of Barista Magazine. “We also are developing company retreats for roasting and retailing operations that combine specialized sensory learning and business issues in an enriching atmosphere allowing coworkers to collaborate in different ways,” Ildi shares. The space will also house a Specialty Coffee Association-certified lab and a Coffee Quality Institute Q-style cupping room.
Ally built their space out to host events and public facing classes, notably hosting one of eight preliminary events as part of the United States Coffee Championships. “We had a great time hosting the first Southern preliminary event in September, and we love how this space enables us to host many more community-focused events in the future!” says James Tooill, U.S. sales manager. Competitors prepped and performed their routines at Ally’s service-ready bar, which includes two Mahlkoenig grinders, a La Marzocco Linea, and a Nuova Simonelli Eagle/ClimaPro combo. The bar features stadium seating for both students and the public to learn at one of Ally’s coffee classes and for spectators to watch coffee events.
The space is a mix of old and new, boasting state-of-the-art coffee equipment in the former Steel Heddle Manufacturing property. “It is important to use resources that are already in place. Building our new lab in an old mill is in keeping with Ally’s role as a partner in local communities,” says Global Director of Specialty Ricardo Pereira, who has lived in Greenville for 17 years. Greenville used to be a hub of textile production in the early 1900s, but much of that industry declined in the 80s and 90s, leaving many buildings abandoned. Ally’s new space also represents a push to turn these old buildings into community spaces and job-creating businesses.
Ally’s new space is open now, and the best way to check it out is to look at the class list and see what education initiatives you can participate in!