Peanut butter and jelly. Cookies and milk. Thai food and riesling. There’s a lot of classic food pairings, but perhaps none more universal than coffee and chocolate. So it’s fitting that Wake Forest, North Carolina’s Black & White Coffee Roasters recently opened their second retail location inside of bean-to-bar chocolatiers Videri Chocolate Factory. We caught up with Black & White co-owner Kyle Ramage to learn more about what he and his business partner Lem Butler have been up to in Downtown Raleigh.
Congratulations on your new café in Videri Chocolate Factory. How did this project come together?
Things have a way of finding us. Basically, Sam Ratto (Videri’s cofounder) really wanted to focus on his love, chocolate. So, through a series of discussions we landed on us taking over the cafe that already existed inside the Videri Chocolate Factory. It just all fell together pretty fast, we took control on July 1 and re-opened as Black & White at Videri on that Saturday the sixth.
For those familiar with your Wake Forest café, do you have anything different planned for this space?
To be honest, we are trying to apply as similar and expression of our Wake Forest cafe as possible. We think we have a pretty viable strategy for specialty coffee, but this and the following cafes will be the test, to either prove, or reconstruct our expression of specialty coffee. We have a few menu items that are only available at the Videri Location. Frozen Hot Chocolate (yes you read that correctly), sipping chocolate, and a few other cocoa related drinks that will work their way through the seasonal and year round offerings. It is all pretty new, so nothing is set in stone quite yet, well except tons of tasty chocolate.
Videri is a bean to bar maker, starting with raw cacao. Do you think there are any parallels between roasting cacao and coffee?
Oh there are tons of parallels between the two industries. Flavor, fermentation, roasting and an emergence in to the minds of more and more customers each year. I am still learning about cocoa, but things are for sure quite similar. Sam, Lem and I look at quality, and fair dealing within production very similarly also fair pricing and traceable sourcing being paramount.
Any chocolate/coffee collaborations in the works?
Oh for sure, we did some pairings last week that were super amazing. It is interesting that many of our “year round products” complimented each other. We are also in works to make an Instant Coffee Chocolate bar– basically a chocolate bar with coffee flavor that isn’t just crushed up coffee. Keeping that creamy amazing chocolate bar texture while adding a clear coffee flavor that works together with the chocolate to uncover new flavors. I know it sounds like a competition signature drink, forgive me.