“I was an internal auditor”, he chuckled heartily, “I also got tired of the competition as well” James Kendall noted, on his decision to pursue his passion for coffee.
Tucked away on the corner of Luis street and Ariaptia avenue, sits a little gem within the hustle and bustle of Woodbrook. As the doors pull open, you are instantly wrapped in a warm, comforting aroma of richly blended coffee and the biggest smiling face welcoming you in.
Kendall, the man who quips himself as the cook, bottle washer and any other title regarding his espresso bar – Perfect Cup – is behind the counter ready to serve.
His coffee bar came into realisation when he became obsessed with creating the perfect cup of coffee for himself, trying different coffees and methods to do so. With such a strong a passion for coffee, he began doing further research into this area, as a retirement project.
Having travelled abroad with family and friends, he was always amazed at the novelty of coffee and it being readily available, at any time of the day or night at coffee houses dedicated to quality.
Realising that he could create a niche market for persons like himself here in Trinidad, he decided to go to Toronto, Canada where he did a barista and coffee training learning the fundamentals of coffee and opening his own business later on.
The coffee served at Perfect Cup is indeed a unique blend created by Kendall himself and is his signature house blend.
“Coffee that is served in my bar is actually a blended coffee. Its Brazilian, Ethiopian and Peruvian beans blended together. The Brazilian bean gives a more chocolate taste to the coffee.”
His coffee beans are roasted in Canada, New Market where he initially met the person who did the roasting at the training he attended. He decided to partner with him as the roasting technique proved ideal to be used for his business.
While there are cafes located all over Trinidad, Kendall notes that his espresso bar isn’t one of these.
“I wanted to stay away from the word cafe, because in Trinidad, cafe tends to take the connotation of a place where one can come in and buy food. And while light refreshments are served here, coffee is the main objective.” Kendall explained.
When asked why he chose importing the bean oversees as oppose to selecting regionally, Kendall replied:
“Well it was by chance that I came across the roaster that I now use while I was in Canada. And the coffee used while training, I loved it. And that’s why I chose to use that particular roast and make it my house blend.”
Kendall acknowledges, the beans which are produced regionally, is limited in supply from certain countries as coffee wasn’t a major export. But his main concern was the roasting method used for his beans. He admitted that locally, he could not source a really good roaster, and so this is why his choice has been internationally as well. He however added that should he find a roaster he could work with locally, that it would be a match made in coffee heaven!
The enthusiastic Kendall also noted that he plans on working on having local cocoa for his chocolate drinks as without a doubt, Trinidad has the best in the world.
And as with any business venture, there has been challenges faced in being able to start his business, having to deal with bureaucracy of importing, to funding out-of-pocket for his own business, not taking any sort of loans to do this. All the while staying focused on having his passion turned into reality.
Advertising, he admits hasn’t been as strong in his first year of business, though he does have a Facebook page, but he plans on working on getting his brand known and so plans have been made to handle that area this year.
As he tends to his customers, handing out steaming cups of espressos and fussing about with customers’ orders , it can clearly be seen that Kendall is genuinely happy not just serving coffee but also a cup of love.
“Just being able to do my own thing and knowing that my customers are looking forward to their coffee, gets me up on mornings.” He ends with a satisfied smile.
Check out the Perfect Cup on Facebook.