Coffee is ME Podcast
Becoming Q Grader at 12 and Starting a Coffee Brand at 14 with Frankie Volkema - Joven Coffee

Becoming Q Grader at 12 and Starting a Coffee Brand at 14 with Frankie Volkema - Joven Coffee

October 22, 2020

I met Frankie at one of the Q Grader courses at Boot Coffee.  She was 12 and taking part in cupping with us.

In this episode I am talking with Frankie Volkema about her brand, Joven Coffee. Frankie's mission is to introduce consumers to young coffee producers. Her goal is to help these producers stay in the coffee industry and to create a sustainable future for them.  

Frankie shares some insights on being a teenager entrepreneur, and gives some ideas for other aspiring young entrepreneurs. 

Frankie and I also talk about her Q Grader course and exam. I was impressed that she passed these rigorous tests and I was curious what tips she might have on how to pass your Q grader exam.

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Enjoy the episode.

For links mentioned in this episode please visit : Coffee Is ME.

Buying Coffee Brands with Tim Volkema - Schuil Coffee & Sparrows Coffee

Buying Coffee Brands with Tim Volkema - Schuil Coffee & Sparrows Coffee

October 8, 2020

Tim is not new in the business world, he built and sold a few successful ventures. When he moved to Grand Rapids, MI, he decided to skip the line and buy his next venture instead of doing the startup hustle. 

In this podcast Tim elaborates on why he decided to buy in rather than start up, and whether it was a good idea. He  also gives us valuable tips about how to find and evaluate a company if you’re  thinking to purchase your own.

Topics in this show include: 

  • How and why to buy a coffee company
  • Which sales channels do work for Schuil Coffee
  • Flavored coffee. New trend or ghost from the past?
  • What is the magical pricing for grocery stores
  • How to sell your coffee with Trade subscription service
  • Is working with distributors worth it? 
  • Is renting time on your coffee roasters smart?

Finally this episode, has a big announcement regarding Unleashed Coffee. If you plan to start a coffee roasting company, you should definitely not miss that part.

 

Thank you for listening and I hope you will enjoy this episode.

 

Valerian

 

A New Coffee Startup is Born with Stephen Ezell - Sequential Coffee

A New Coffee Startup is Born with Stephen Ezell - Sequential Coffee

September 15, 2020

My guest in this episode is Stephen Ezell. Stephen is my old buddy, who together with Jonathan Shepard started Sequential Coffee.

Jonathan is the business brain and Stephen is the coffee brain of this operation. It is a dream combo for every coffee nerd out there. Lucky Stephen!

In this episode, we talked about the first steps and challenges when starting a coffee roasting operation. Sequential Coffee sells online using Shopify, but also retails in grocery stores, and they recently even started a kiosk. Which of these were good decisions?

We also discussed how Covid has influenced their operation and the opportunities this crazy time can offer. 

Want to start to work in the coffee industry but don’t know where to start?  Stephen revealed his tips for careers in the industry where you can make a decent living wage.


We hope you will enjoy this episode.

 

Find Sequential Coffee: 

website

instagram

facebook

Crossing the Line to Work with Haitian farmers - Cafe Kreyol -  Joseph Stazzone

Crossing the Line to Work with Haitian farmers - Cafe Kreyol - Joseph Stazzone

July 28, 2020

I am not sure whether it is Joey's fascinating story or the current global situation, but this episode got a bit personal. 

 

Joey first started trading in “commodities” as a drug user and later dealer.  Today he is the CEO of Cafe Kreyol  -- a direct trade coffee importing and roasting company based in Manassas, Virginia.  His path was not straight, but finding God and purpose in his life led him out of the darkness.

 

Cafe Kreyol has a strong foot in the In this episode I meant to be funny with A question about how his drug smuggling experience helped with direct trade. 

 

That question ended up on the cutting room floor, but we did talk about having a social mission and how it can or can't help with your business, and about coffee farming in Haiti; we discussed different coffee roasters we have used, Joe's wins and losses while building his brand, and finally we returned to a discussion about the universe, soil, and human ego.

Building family coffee business with Mitchell Popadziuk - [CxT] Coffee Company

Building family coffee business with Mitchell Popadziuk - [CxT] Coffee Company

June 8, 2020

Mitchell Popadziuk managed to fall into a perfect team. He is the business mastermind, his brother Tristan brings the coffee passion, and their mother Kelly is the soul of sales and marketing. I am jealous! In a good way ... :)

[CxT] is a very young but dynamically growing company which, despite to the fact that Mitch is a podcast listener, fell into the same trap that we at Green Plantation coffee did: underestimating their growth. They initially invested in a US Roaster Corp 5kg roaster which they outgrew very fast. Now they roast on a Loring Falcon.

Mitch and I also discussed their sales channels and I shared my experience selling on Amazon, Ebay and Spinn Marketplace.

This is the first episode where the guest asked me a question and boy, did I have fun with it! We talked a bit about the idea of electric heating elements in drum roasters and also about use of influencers and Tik Tok for coffee sales.

The rebel heart of Flag and Wire Coffee

The rebel heart of Flag and Wire Coffee

May 17, 2020

Nick Walton is a rebel... was a rebel. He grew up on a milk farm, but his revolutionary attitude towards his parents drove his dad to say "enough! Time to grow up!" Nick's coffee story starts with sleeping in a car while homeless. Was this the push he needed to take life seriously, which finds its conclusion in a mysteriously-named coffee roasting company Flag and Wire? I will let him tell the story.

As fascinating Nick's story is, our conversation is not only about him. We dig in into concrete strategies and tips for every coffee entrepreneur.

We start with advice on naming your company. Nick and his wife hired a naming consultant. I wanted to know how that worked for them, was it worth it?

Nick shares his very interesting take on passion in the coffee industry, and how his custom-built air roaster irritated other coffee professionals.

We also discuss our experiences with different channels when it comes to selling coffee. Where are they getting results, wholesale, grocery stores, a web shop?

Finally we gave some love to a few wine producers. Since we recorded the podcast remotely early in the day, we did not pop any wine this time, but we discussed our favorite wine makers.

My suggestion was from Rachel Ryan - Sierra Foothills Chardonnay, and Nick suggested wine makers like Eyrie VineyardsA to ZBrooks Wines.

You can find Flag And Wire:

Website
Instagram
Facebook

Is this coffee roaster the future of coffee roasting? With Arno Holschuh from Bellwether

Is this coffee roaster the future of coffee roasting? With Arno Holschuh from Bellwether

March 6, 2020

We are back with a great new podcast featuring a really cool new innovation in coffee roasting - the Bellwether Coffee Roasting Machine.

Bellwether has developed a new type of small-batch electric commercial coffee roaster. It doesn’t require ventilation, a gas line, or even a contractor or complicated permit to install. It features tablet based roasting software, and the company has a green coffee sourcing division that allows companies to get up and running quickly with customized roast profiles for each of the coffees in their inventory.

Does this sound too good to be true? It may have been designed and built by coffee people, but we were uncertain of the efficacy, practicality, ability to produce delicious coffee, and the cost benefits of such a device. We wondered, do we really need a new roaster? Well, we’ve tasted the coffee and can confidently claim it produces a delicious roast. After seeing the operation, we were equally impressed by what they’ve produced.

Join Valerian and Marcus as we discuss this new technology with Arno Holschuh, Bellwether’s Chief Coffee Officer and one of the early innovators of the Bellwether Roaster

$500 Gesha vs $10 Brazilian Coffee and Instagram Marketing Tips with Umeko Motoyoshi

$500 Gesha vs $10 Brazilian Coffee and Instagram Marketing Tips with Umeko Motoyoshi

December 12, 2019

We are back with part 2 of our discussion with Umeko Motoyoshi, coffee entrepreneur, social media expert, educator, and author. In this episode we continue last week’s discussion with the author of The @wastingcoffee Guide To Not Wasting Coffee and purveyor of the Umeshiso Cupping Spoons.

This week we share the results of a super fun and enlightening consumer experiment Valerian, Marcus, and Melissa conducted at the Boot Coffee Campus booth at the San Francisco Coffee Festival and hear Umeko’s take on the experiment and how consumers approach coffee differently from coffee professionals.

Umeko also shares some of her secret sauce for social media success. With over 13,000 followers, she knows how to engage social media users! Listen in and learn how being genuine and showing yourself is one way to build a brand. We ask Umeko how influencers, specifically micro influencers, can build a brand; and explore how you can build and reinforce trust in your brand through your social media presence (or risk losing trust). 

Learn more about The @Wastingcoffee Guide to Not Wasting Coffee and some of the ways Umeko sees our industry normalizing waste and devaluing coffee and the work of everyone involved. It’s an important discussion that she’s tackling head on!

Umeko Motoyoshi - The Personality of Coffee Tasting. Is it a Real Thing?

Umeko Motoyoshi - The Personality of Coffee Tasting. Is it a Real Thing?

December 5, 2019

This week we talk with Q grader, author, educator, entrepreneur Umeko Motoyoshi. This is part 1 of a two part episode with Umeko, the creator of the Umeshiso rainbow cupping spoon and author of The @wastingcoffee Guide To Not Wasting Coffee.

We discuss how making the cupping and tasting environment more inclusive and accessible can draw customers into the discussion of flavor and taste. Umeko discusses how we should bring ourselves into the cupping room, how taste and flavor perception and experiences are deeply personal, and that it’s okay if we don’t all share the same experience of a coffee. The conversations ranges from Q Grading and the goal objectivity, the way the SCA cupping form informs our experiences and the influence of our upbringings.

We loved hosting Umeko and her throughtfulness. Join us as we share impressions of La Mula geisha from Panama, an incredible robusta Marcus discovered on a recent trip to Brazil from Cafe Fazenda Venturim, and two of Valerian’s coffees - one from Green Plantation in Slovakia and the other from Unleashed Coffee in the US.

We will soon post the rest of the discussion in part two where talk about social media, building a brand, and other entrepreneurial topics.

I want to be a professional coffee taster…

I want to be a professional coffee taster…

November 5, 2019

In this episode, we interview Rick Appleton (Boston) and Abdulrahman Qurban (Saudi Arabia), students attending the SCA Sensory class at Boot Coffee Campus. What were the hardest parts of the course and what was the ultimate takeaway? 

Valerian tests Rick's newly acquired ability to evaluate coffee by applying his skills tasting his skin contact natural wine. How does Rick do? 

What is the difference between the SCA Sensory class and the Q Grader class?

All these questions are answered in this episode. 

 

 

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