I remember the moment we grabbed the very first Standart fresh off the press. It’s been almost five years since we stopped at the printer on our way to the launch party in Berlin to pick up those precious copies. There was a snowstorm outside; we were running late.
We quickly shovelled some magazines in to the trunk of my car— the engine still running—and were en route. (As you’d imagine, water and snow are not friends of paper.)
Sitting on the back seat, my colleagues were anxiously flipping through the pages of our international issue for the first time, looking for typos (they found a bazillion of them). Stuck in traffic, we were guessing nervously what the world would say to Standart. It was by saying out loud to people what do I do for a living—publishing an independent print magazine dedicated to the beauty of specialty coffee culture—that I realised how ridiculous it sounded.
Yet, it resonated.
Since our debut in 2015, we have managed to grow Standart into a fully remote company, with its team spread out over six countries and five time zones.
As a team, we manage and independently publish four language versions. Locally, we organise a number of events for our readers, partners and fans, like the ones that took place in Moscow, New York, London or Kyoto.
Today, Standart is a well recognised and highly reputed publication amongst coffee professionals, enthusiasts, artists, writers and print lovers. We were awarded for our efforts with the title 2023, 2021, 2019, 2018 and 2017 Best Coffee Magazine by Sprudge.
From day one, Standart’s goal was to bring quality-driven content and long-form journalism to tens of thousands of people around the globe.
This human approach trickles through all levels of the Standart experience. We embrace the physical side of reading and so produce only a printed publication, providing all the tangibility that is lacking in the age of electronic media. We do not shun human emotions and feelings as they are an intrinsic part of all the stages of coffee's creation. We speak through our texts, illustrations and photographs about the human experiences borne out by the coffee value chain.
With Standart as a physical product, we generate income with direct subscriptions, wholesaling the magazine to our favourite coffee shops, working with international distributors for magazine stores, and by featuring partners in the magazine. We’re not enslaved by one major source of income that would dictate our direction. This way, we are free to make our choices based on core values (I wrote more about our values here).
In independent print publishing, there is a significant production cost involved. When you print stuff on paper, you think twice about what gets published and what doesn’t. Whatever goes in, stays out there—that’s why we put enormous effort into content curation, editing, and visuals. Also, I just hate how much time I have to spend in front of screens.
We love our readers and think very highly of them. We do not deal in stereotypes: every reader represents different parts of the spectrum in terms of social background, education and income, and we certainly do not limit our discussion to coffee connoisseurs and people working in the profession. It is our belief that excellent quality specialty coffee is not so glamourous and esoteric as to remain solely in the purview of a self-proclaimed group of experts. Rather, it is something that everyone can enjoy and appreciate.
At Standart, we think of coffee as a convenient point of connection, where the values that we as a team support—sustainability, economic empowerment, personal development, and the free circulation of ideas and people—converge and are championed. We created a lean business with a distributed team united by the common ambition to make this new type of company a sustainably growing enterprise that considers the quality of its members’ lives and their personal development a top priority.
E-mails here, Instagrams there—the ever-present glow shatters our focus and raises our anxiety levels. We believe good content is worth sitting down for, and engaging with, on multiple levels. Reading Standart should be enriching. It should help you to relax from all the surrounding noise, and ignite conversations—just as coffee had been doing for centuries.
There are many more important voices to be heard in the world of coffee, and we’re ecstatic about moving the biggest issues, stories and opinions into the spotlight they deserve.