The online home of Koffie Kàn, a Belgium-based roasting house and distributor of fine coffees, was on a long list of sites suggested for brandchannel’s review. It appealed to us because the brand is not American (the .-be domain was eye-catching among the dot-coms and dot-orgs), the site is available in English (we have yet to review a site presented in a language we’re unable to read), and, frankly, we’d never heard of the brand.
After poking around the site, which is as rich as a cup of Turkish coffee, our only major complaint is that the company does not ship its beans overseas.
Not surprisingly, a recurring image on the site is a cup of hot black coffee. (The brand name is Dutch for “coffee pot.”) Instead of steam, however, wafting from the cup is a series of one- and two-word questions. Mouse over any question to see it expanded—“sex?” becomes “Is it true that coffee stimulates sex?”—and then click to transport to the FAQ page, which has detailed answers. (To sum up the answer to the example question: uh, yes.) Non-sex facts include coffee-storage tips, the effects of caffeine, and the brand’s policy on avoiding the exploitation of coffee-producing countries.
As for the Koffie Kàn’s actual products, a section delivers proper descriptions of each blend: informative without overkill, enticing without promising a taste-bud trip to a java nirvana reminiscent of the old General Foods International coffee commercials.
Beyond these descriptions, however—and, in fact, the entire time we viewed the site—we still have no idea how the coffee tastes. Just as one judges a brand based on its packaging, logo, slogan, or any other element that isn’t the actual product or service, the rest of the Koffie Kàn site goes a long way toward how a user would consider trying its coffee.
With so much information that is on one hand not directly related to the brand yet on the other is relevant for anyone who drinks coffee, the site makes one assume that Koffie Kàn’s coffee is meant to be savored, not slurped on the subway or during rush-hour traffic.
The recipes section contains offbeat options including coffee winter apples, prime rib with apricot coffee sauce, and a number of drinks that are more inventive than just adding a shot of liquor to a cup of coffee. The links page is an eclectic mix of sites for places that sell or serve Koffie Kàn, plus locations of interest for anyone who’s addicted to coffee. One could question the strategy of having links that takes a user away from the brand, but Koffie Kàn, a family-owned business, doesn’t seem to be worried.
Coffee drinkers aware of the issues surrounding the economics of coffee production will be interested in the section detailing the brand’s corporate social responsibility policies regarding fair trade and helping out coffee workers in need, summed up by the slogan “delicious coffee with a soul” (which ties into the brand’s main slogan, “nice not naughty”).
In all, the site has a lot to savor—and it would be easier if there were a way to turn off the music loop that eventually delivers a headache worse than caffeine withdrawal. Another quibble is the medal that appears on the homepage announcing that “Koffie Kàn is a winner.” There’s no link to take the user directly to the page that describes how, exactly, the brand is a winner.
Sure, Koffie Kàn’s coffee may taste terrible. But if the beans are as good as the site’s branding, it’s worth taking a chance. All we need is a good grinder—and a friend in Europe who can ship it to us in the States.