We had been open for a couple of years on Jægersborggade when a guy walked into our office one day and introduced himself as Christian F. Puglisi, former sous-chef at the famed restaurant Noma. He was the first chef to leave Noma to create his own place and he had an exuberant ambition and drive.
Christian was walking up and down Jægersborggade to say hi to business owners, as he was looking to open his own restaurant further down the street. A seemingly bizarre place to open a restaurant, as the street was at that point still famous for its drug dealers, although it had seen a crowd of coffee enthused people swarm to the street lately.
He was just going to pop in and say hi, but we got talking about the new Nordic cuisine, similarities between coffee and food, challenging the status quo, the vibe of a neighborhood and having ambitions that reach beyond your own business. Time flew and couple of hours later we realized we’d made a new friend.
Since the opening, Relæ and its sibling across the street, Manfreds, have served our coffee and were one of the first to take their coffee serving seriously. It showed other restaurants that maybe it was time to up their coffee game too.
We installed some of the first Reverse Osmosis water filters outside our own coffee shops, greatly improving the quality of the coffee. This water also turned out to improve their broth and stocks greatly. At Manfreds we put up the La Marzocco GS Shot Brewer to make amazing espressos but without the milk steaming capabilities, as they don’t believe in serving milk drinks after dinner.
In 2012 Puglisi decided to go 100% organic. As a father it was important for him to leave the world a better place than he found it. Being fed up with the industry’s bold claims of serving organic produce, but not being able to prove it nor committing to it, he decided that they’d get the full certification of 90-100% organic produce.
At the time we’d been buying organic coffee, but not having them certified as it required more accounting. However, Christian pushed us to get going on it, as he needed the certification, and it proved to be just the kind of push we needed to take the leap. Since then we’ve bought more and more certified organic coffee, not only for the Relæ Community - which now also includes Bæst, Mirabelle, Rudo and Puglisi Events, besides Relæ and Manfreds – but also for our own shops and other wholesale customers.
Christian and his organisation continue to be our friends and a partner that share our values and inspire us in our daily work to this day.