Almost anyone can use the label of ‘family business’ today but you really work that way. How is it to spend all day together and meet for dinner at home later? Who is the boss in your café?
To be honest, it is very hard because everybody in our family has a clashing opinion from time to time. It can be said that leading a family business is often more difficult than having a business with a normal hierarchy of roles. On the other hand, you can rely on the others more as you would not abandon your family as easily. It is the same with leadership but our main boss is our mum. She takes care of the café on an everyday basis and makes sure we open at all. My dad then decided about the interior and repairs. We appointed him the architect. My sister helps out at the weekends and shares her culinary visions with us. She likes experimenting (as do I) bakes bread and gives us directions during our passionate discussions. I take care of café, orders, promotion, visual side of the café, and try to manage the business in general. But it is not easy as I have university during the week. Thus, everybody does a bit of everything, which is not ideal. We discuss all the major decisions together and you can call it so-called family democracy. It basically means that every decision during the reconstruction and furnishing was preceded by intense arguments.
Nový Svět is a place with beautiful atmosphere and amazing peace, although only a few meters from the main touristic attractions. What is living there like? Do you get a bit of the surrounding rush?
I think it is a really special and peaceful place and we have tourists here but only those who are really interested in visiting here. When we were founding this café, the main thing we cared about was the atmosphere of the place and not the potential profits we could get and having prices in euros. We are happy about the opposite really, having loyal customers who walk here daily from Břevnov or Dejvice, sit down, and absorb the peace of the whole street. At the busy weekends we still have Czech customers who don’t mind waiting for a table. We are happy to meet people who come once every week or two. We can see their kids growing up, build relationships with them, so the customers don’t see us only as a café, but as a place between work and home where they can drop by and relax. This is what we’re trying to achieve.
You are the main barista here. How is working with old great Faema and Doubleshot coffee for you? Do you enjoy any other alternative methods of coffee preparation? Where did you gain barista’s skills?
It is I and two other people and we can’t say who is the main barista. We often talk about what coffee grains we want and about catches from abroad. Working behind the bar at our place is quite specific. We try to be the café where you can get a truly delicious cup of coffee but we don’t have enough means to be as good as, for example, EMA espresso bar where they have the opportunity to play with it a bit more. On the other hand, it is not our goal. We have on-going debates here about what the ‘bigger espresso’ means for people. I was learning barista skills myself at first, we had a small espresso maker at home and because my dad loves good coffee, I always tried to do more. I have formal training from the Roberto Trevisan’s School of Coffee. My whole family received it. But you only learn how to make a nice cup of coffee by practising. Jarda Tuček from Doubleshot helped me a lot too. I think that he has done a lot for Czech coffee culture and Doubleshot is one of the best and the most stable coffee roasting rooms in Prague and we always enjoy cooperating with them. My co-worker Martin has experience from Canada and New Zealand, and Alina used to work at Mamacoffee and other Prague cafés. It can be said that they are way more experienced than I am but it is me who makes them care about details such as placing the teaspoon in the right position. Our coffee machine Faema E61 is not only time-tested but also a design element and the heart of our business. My dad and I fell in love with it at the first sight. There are better and more efficient (and expensive) coffee machines but we wanted something that will help to create a special atmosphere and people like it. Alternatively, we would be happy to make you a drip from the popular Hario V60. You can often try three to four different cups at the bar. I personally enjoy experimenting and trying new alternatives very much but there is not enough time to try new technologies, unfortunately.
Coffee culture in the Czech Republic has progressed a lot in the last couple of years. Is there still somebody of your customers who would order a simple Turkish coffee?
It is true that coffee culture has been progressing rapidly and it is amazing. There used to be very few places with delicious espresso and flat white but there are plenty in Prague these days. I’m afraid, though, that it might turn into the ‘art for art’ principle because excellent coffee places will only get a special sort of customer. This is for example what we are trying to change - by helping new uninitiated customers to understand the types of coffee that we have and to choose the one type they will enjoy the most. I get the order for Turkish coffee several times a week but there is nothing wrong with it. The way is to explain to them why we don’t have Turkish coffee on our menu, effects that it has on health, other options that they might have at home, and, of course, to help them find what they are looking for, whether it be an Americano, drip, etc.
You are also famous for delicious cakes and pies. Do you have a usual menu or does you mum enjoy experimenting? What would you recommend for us to have with our coffee?
It is hard to say. My mum tries to balance the menu so everyone can find what they like. Plus she always adds something extra and exciting. She also uses seasonal ingredients, now, for example, we have a rhubarb pie. Specialities on our menu are raw non-baked desserts and new gluten-free brownies without flour.
Apart from the family coffee business you study filmmaking. How do you want to link these two professions in the future?
(laughs) We will see. They are both very different. However, you need a cup of good coffee when filming and cafés need good directing. What I am really interested in is connecting the public space with art montre replique
and creating local community spaces and subcultures. This doesn’t need to be just about film and photography but also literature, music, and creative community events. Coffee places were always the spots where political and socio-cultural movements and opinions were formed. This declined during the communist era and after the revolution it moved to varied student associations and other places where a regular person doesn’t have access. I would like to revive this, to move it back to coffee places, to provoke ordinary customers’ minds. Thus the customer would feel a connection to a certain place. This is my personal strategy for Café Nový Svět in the future – the possibility to build a new multicultural place in Prague’s Hradčany.
There are four professionals behind Analog!BROS - Jakub Stýblo, Michal Škapa, Vladimír 518 and Štěpán Adámek. How did you get together and who initiated the idea of establishing a silk-screen printing workroom?
We were talking with Vladimír for a long time about our dream to have a silk-screen printing workroom – not a business, workroom, where we can get together with friends and print. When I was convinced it was about to happened, I mentioned it at one gallery that I like visiting both in terms of work and my free time. Its owner, Mr. Pecka, was so excited about the idea that as a result I was soon on the phone with my friends to let them know that we can start buying equipment for the workroom. We didn’t have to do it the old method - printing on nylons stretched on frames lit with halogen lamps. The only thing we needed to do was to come up with a name. That was the fun part replique montre rolex
and it is a miracle that we did end up being called analog!bros and not, for example, ‘crack’ or ‘supahumans’. At that time we already had Štěpán Adámek, a friend from concerts and an amazing cartoonist, and Michal Škapa, who I didn’t know but had heard about. However, he didn’t stay with us for long and then we got Kristina Ambrozová.
Kristina Ambrozová joined Analog!BROS two years after its opening. What changes did the female element bring into your workroom?
In size I would compare it to the last earthquake in Nepal and it happened even before she joined us at analog!bros – same how it usually goes with earthquakes, haha. Kristina has a good sense of detail and an incredible desire to work. So we can now have and use everything we ever wanted and needed: merch, wrapping papers, stickers, cards, postcards and other bits and pieces that are very important, though. Then she printed a seven-colour print herself and I was impressed. Her efforts could not be overlooked anymore and she got the job.
There are two hand silk-screen printing tables in your workroom - one for silk and paper, the other one for textile. Could you briefly describe the process of printing to us?
What is more, Kristina, happy that we gave her the job, bought us a silk-screen printing machine for textile. It is nothing big – you can only print in one colour – but we needed it. We make our own merch on it along with various small orders for our friends and their projects. Our main activity depends on the big professional hand silk-screen printing machine of format B1. The process of printing is absolutely the same on both machines – only for T-shirts we use frames with a different density of silk and the printing desk is wooden in the shape of the T-shirt that is being made. The big table has a large perforated aluminium desk and paper literally sticks to the table because of negative press and it is possible to make a perfect print. Apart from this, the printing process is the same; you drawn a template or print it on plastic film or trace paper, then a light-sensitive emulsion is spread over a screen and left to dry. We didn’t have any money to buy an illuminating machine so we built it according to Michal’s design. During the illumination process light works with the emulsion and hardens it. Light cannot make the emulsion harden through black areas of prints. After illumination we clean the screen and the emulsion that didn’t harden will drain off, thus a motif appears. The screen is pinned to a table and we print.
What are the advantages of silk-screen printing over digital printing in your opinion?
The only advantage is its price. Even when it comes to printing a series in a lower amount. However, silk-screen is not always the suitable option. In our other studio 44" Print, dedicated to giclée prints, we use the best quality archive papers and screens according to a given standard. Workrooms like ours are not usual in Prague. The most important process is dependent on the printing machine, which bothers me! With silk-screen printing you can do whatever you want. In the printing process you get an idea and you realise it immediately. On the other side, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. So with silk-screen printing you are a printer while with digital printing you are only an operator.
There is a notice on Analog!BROS website that apart your own free work you will also accept outside orders but you have to like them. Have you got any orders that interested you enough that you were excited to work on them?
It is probably most of our orders, we are very lucky. Of course, we also get nonsense orders but then we are honest and decline them. Sometimes something we look forward to becomes boring – for example, business cards - so, as a result, we don’t do them anymore (we only did them like three times, anyway). Once the person who ordered them didn’t like them and declared that they were ‘too silk-screen-like’. I was confused :) Otherwise the work is a pleasure.
Which artists do you cooperate with? What prints do the best in sales?
We work with people who work in arts. So most of the people we cooperate with are our friends or friends of our friends.. To name some: David Böhm and Jirka Franta / Maria Makeeva / Prokop Bartoníček / Jan Hořčík / David Krňanský / Pasta Oner / Point / Obic / X-dog, and studios and projects: Anymadestudio / Maestrokatastrof / Carton Clan / PageFive / Bigg Boss / Drawetc / Trafačka r.i.p. / RAW / Art Amnesty / Festival otrlého diváka / Galerie Pecka... And our merchandising is selling like hot cakes, surprisingly. Look at our sale web gallery poster44.cz
where we sell, apart from our merch, prints of artists we work with and prints from analog!bros, too.