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August 14, 2013

Pursuing an Entrepreneurial Career in Coffee with Surface Pro

The Surface Team chatted with Drew to learn more about how he’s using Surface Pro to pursue his passion for coffee and his entrepreneurial spirit to drive unique coffee experiences. Drew is the owner and founder of HubBub Coffee in Philadelphia, PA. He launched the first HubBub Coffee as a Food Truck business in 2009 and chose the University of Pennsylvania campus as its reliable home base. With HubBub’s continued success Drew recently expanded HubBub Coffee by opening its first coffee shop in downtown Philadelphia and is currently working on opening a second. We got some fun insight into what Drew’s day to day is like and how using Surface Pro has helped him do more.

What was your inspiration behind opening up HubBub Coffee?

It’s actually pretty simple; I was looking for a good cup of coffee and couldn’t find one. The idea that grew into HubBub started a long, long time ago in a country far, far away. In 2003, I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia. The coffee culture there was unlike anything I had ever experienced—the culture is based around a drink called the “flat white.” While similar in size to a traditional Italian style Cappuccino, the flat white is prepared with a double shot. The first time I tried it, I knew the coffee drinking culture down under was something special. Coffee stands and kiosks were everywhere and what I knew as American coffee was something very foreign to the land down under. When I returned to the states, the wheels were in motion. After spending four years in New York, I returned to Philadelphia to launch The HubBub Truck in 2009, just down the street from where I went to college at The University of Pennsylvania. HubBub was the first coffee truck in Philadelphia serving a full range of specialty drinks, and we did it in true HubBub fashion with tunes on the stereo every morning.  From there, HubBub took on a whole world beyond the truck and me.

In the end HubBub has turned into something much more than just coffee.  The name HubBub came from my grandmother, who always loved to ask, “What’s all the hubbub about?”  In my mind, hubbub could be a person or a thing or an emotion or a combination of all of them—I wanted to create a company that allowed everybody to explore that simple question, and find out what the HubBub was about every day. I wanted to bring people together for unique coffee experiences; drinks they would remember sharing with friends, not just downing them for caffeine.


How are you using Surface for HubBub Coffee and how has it allowed you to do more for your business?

We use the Surface for a variety of business related stuff. I am constantly on the go trying to manage our mobile truck and our store, while also in the process of construction for a second store.  As a result, versatility is extremely important for us as we grow our business and this is where the Microsoft Surface has become a great asset. We use it for traditional Microsoft features like Excel and PowerPoint. The Surface allows us to be mobile and do things like manage inventory on the go which we were not able to do before.  We also use it for a bunch of apps from the Windows Storethat a traditional computer is not capable of.

What are your favorite Windows 8 apps for Surface?

Microsoft Office is huge for us. Being able to manage inventory for our store and our truck, as well as online, is so necessary. We are also in the process of opening a new store and it has been extremely helpful with reviewing blueprints with contractors with the PDF Touch app.  I am a huge list maker too so I use the ToDoapp – it beats having to remember what I was supposed to do when my paper list gets washed in my jeans.

How are you using the Surface Pen with your Surface Pro?

It is surprisingly easy. I remember the days of the Palm Pilot and other PDA devices that attempted the “stylus”. I think Microsoft has done a great job of making it functional. I have used it a lot on our recent project since it allows you to draw on a PDF blueprint, for example, and I can save it and send it to our design team.


Which Surface accessories do you use?

I use the Surface keyboard a fair amount.  It goes back to the versatility that you get with the Surface.  I can be using it for a display at the shop or to type and email or update inventory in Excel all with the same device.

What’s the secret to making a great cup of coffee?

There’s so much that goes into it.  At the end of the day, we believe that it is about 4 main fundamental ingredients: the Product, the People, the Place, and the Preparation. When a customer walks into a coffee shop, most don’t think about how much effort has gone into the drink that they order and enjoy. Our baristas are an invaluable part of this equation and the most visible. However, it is extremely important for us to tell the story of everything that came before the latte was made or the Chemex poured. It begins with the beans and the farmers – we want the best, have traveled to origin, and want to continue building relationships that impact our end product and customer experience. That is why we work with local roasters who go the extra mile (or plane ride). Next it is about a unique environment to enjoy that perfectly prepared cup – our truck and shops provide that. Finally it is about the preparation. Whether it is an espresso, a pour over, or a cold brewed iced coffee – our baristas’ attention to detail and understanding of different methods of preparation make all the difference for you, the customer. And for that you’ll have to swing by one of our HubBub shops or truck to find out!

If you had to describe Surface in 3 words, what would they be?

Small business innovator

Emilie Bridon
Senior Manager- Surface