Coffee is ME Podcast
Starting a coffee brand with a 2kg roaster and a school bus: Gleason Jones from Minimalist Coffee, Opelika, Alabama

Starting a coffee brand with a 2kg roaster and a school bus: Gleason Jones from Minimalist Coffee, Opelika, Alabama

October 25, 2021

In this show, I interview Gleason Jones from Opelika, Alabama and founder of Minimalist Coffee. Minimalist Coffee is the brand new venture of this 25-year-old entrepreneurial gentleman, addressing the need for a good, freshly roasted coffee with associated charity contributions in the local community. 

Gleason dared to violate my rule for the size of the coffee roaster. How's that working for him? Can he make a sustainable business with a 2 kg roaster?

Gleason owns a former school bus that he retrofitted for mobile coffee sales. The coffee bus drew not only my attention, but also that of the local young coffee lovers hovering around it. Gleason reveals his first triumphs and mistakes selling coffee this way.  

Can social media influencers help sell your coffee? Gleason shares his experience. 

Finally, Gleason reviews what it was like studying at Boot Coffee Campus and Valerian describes a new course for coffee entrepreneurs. 

Enjoy the show.

Your questions about coffee roasting, blends, best coffee on the planet and Q Grading answered

Your questions about coffee roasting, blends, best coffee on the planet and Q Grading answered

July 13, 2021

For this episode we asked you, our listeners, to send us questions - and to plug your business.

You sent thought provoking questions which challenged us -- Valerian and Marcus to think outside the box, share their experiences, and call upon their combined experience to come up with possible answers. 

We have tasted and drank a lot of coffee, and listener Katie asks us to name the single best cup of coffee each of us has ever had, in our entire lives. Did we choose one of the award winning geshas we often roast and cup, or some experimental process, or something else entirely? 

Tune in and hear our opinions of the optimal location to open a roaster / retail store. Valerian shares an interesting challenge he faced at Green Plantation opening in a beautiful rural setting. 

Other listeners asked about ideal roast profiles which leads Marcus to encourage all roasters to become confident cuppers and to be rigorous about tracking their data. Our listen John Bergman from Hacienda Coffee had a very specific question about sample roasting on a fluid bed roasters versus a drum roaster, and our hosts discuss the challenges and possible solutions to roasting on machines that utilize different thermodynamic principles.

Marcus and Valerian also discuss how they approach blends and Marcus challenges Valerian to try a new technique. Does it matter if coffees are blended with vastly different physical characteristics? Will a blend taste good if you give up some control in the name of consistency? Is the cupping table the best place for product development and QC, or should you use other brew methods too?

We hopee you enjoy hearing from listeners and our feedback. Maybe in the future we’ll answer your question.

 

We were born in the fire - the story of Café de Leche a café and coffee roaster from L.A. - with Matt & Anya Schodorf

We were born in the fire - the story of Café de Leche a café and coffee roaster from L.A. - with Matt & Anya Schodorf

June 14, 2021

Anya and Matt are prime examples of the American dream: they had a dream and they invested all their time, money, and energy to make it a reality. The result has enriched  the L.A. coffee culture and brought a unidog to the bottom of the cup. As a European living in the USA, I have always admired the entrepreneurial spirit of my American friends, and I love the unidog. If you do not know what a unidolg is, don't worry, we talk about it in the podcast.

In this episode, we talked about the process of starting a cafe, and Anya and Matt explain why was it important for them to roast their own coffee. Spoiler alert--it was not the cost.

I feel very proud that Anya and Matt implemented the roasting model that works so well for my European business, Green Plantation, where we roast two days a week and spend the rest of the time on sales, marketing, or resting. Guess where they learned about it? Yes, it was in this podcast.

Anya and Matt love to travel and during these travels, they have developed special relations with farmers in coffee lands, bringing them even closer to their coffee and enabling them to relay the story of each coffee in real depth for their customers.

Meeting Anya and Matt was truly amazing and we clicked right away. I'm only sorry that it took me such a long time to bring their wisdom and energy to this podcast. But here it is and I hope you will enjoy listening as much as we did recording it.

This is how you build a coffee drive through, with Darren Spicer, Clutch Coffee Bar

This is how you build a coffee drive through, with Darren Spicer, Clutch Coffee Bar

May 5, 2021

In this podcast I interviewed Darren Spicer of Clutch Coffee Bar, a fast-growing coffee drive-through chain.

Drive-throughs are a bit foreign to me. I've never used one and personally I consume coffee differently, but most Americans welcome a good coffee on the long commute to work.

I am always intrigued about the unknown, so I was very happy when Darren's path crossed with mine in this podcast episode.

coffee business podcast

Like a good drive-through, Darren is a very composed, efficient and to-the-point fellow. If you are playing with the idea of starting a coffee drive-through, there is plenty of gold for you in this episode.

We will discuss the best locations for a successful coffee drive-through, the way to make your coffee service efficient, and the most popular and profitable beverages in your café or coffee drive-through. We also touch on the advantages and disadvantages of a franchise model, and whether a coffee drive-through would work in Europe.

Enjoy this episode!

CLUTCH COFFEE BAR WEBSITE
CLUTCH COFFEE BAR INSTAGRAM
CLUTCH COFFEE BAR FACEBOOK

Kelly bought herself a coffee company and this is how it went down…

Kelly bought herself a coffee company and this is how it went down…

April 13, 2021

Last year my business partner William Murad and I offered our coffee roasting company, Unleashed Coffee, for sale over this podcast. You know me by now, I live for experiments like this. I was curious whether this podcast was influential enough to sell a company. Spoiler alert! The answer is YES. 

For this episode I interviewed the new owner - Kelly Abbott. The deal is done, and in the first part of the interview I was curious to look behind the curtain from when we were negotiating the sale of Unleashed Coffee. I think this part is super useful for anyone who is planning to buy or sell a small business: you can learn from our strategies, wins and missteps in the process. 

In the other part of this episode, I wanted to find out what happened after we sold the company to Kelly, what were her first steps and what are her future plans with the company. 

On this podcast we have featured a lot of great coffee business origin stories; most of these companies are doing amazing things in the industry and inspire us all. Our goal is always to show our companies’ projects in the best light and to focus on success. But the truth is, sometimes doing business is hard, frustrating and overwhelming. Kelly and I opened up about this taboo topic in the entrepreneur's world. 

Have you ever wondered whether your product is too cheap? Is it better to offer a more expensive product and subsidized free shipping, or a cheaper product and let the customer pay for shipping? Kelly was inspired by the Amazon Prime model and made her own discovery in this field. We talk about this decision on the podcast. 

Enjoy the show! 

PS: Please ignore my bad math in the intro of the podcast. We are doing the 7th season of this podcast, not the 6th! Thank you for all your support!

The best roast profiles, green coffees and roaster size for a coffee roasting startup - Black Friday Edition

The best roast profiles, green coffees and roaster size for a coffee roasting startup - Black Friday Edition

November 16, 2020

In this podcast I welcome back Marcus Young from Boot Coffee.

This is an episode where we discuss the most common questions we get from our consulting clients. No, you do not have to pay a dime for this, but a review on Apple Podcasts is welcome.  Thanks.

We start the podcast with a discussion about designing a roast profile. Is there such a thing as a correct approach? How many roast profiles should a roasting company have? 

Then I put a gun to Marcus's (and my head) and force us to come up with only one roast profile for a new startup. How would it look and why? Only one way to find out: click that Play button.

When starting a coffee roasting business, you most likely will have a limited budget and will have to compromise on the quantity of green coffee you can purchase. Each of us came up with three types of coffees we would want to launch with. Spoiler alert: one of them is a decaf. What? Yes, decaf. Why? Find out in this episode of the podcast.

Should a coffee roasting startup buy their coffee through direct trade or use an importer? If you go with an importer, Marcus (a former green coffee trader himself) will give you a few tips on how to develop relationships with importers. 

Finally, in this episode we revisit the ideal size of a coffee roaster. Finally we agreed on something with Marcus! :)

We hope you will have as much fun listening to this podcast as we had recording it. 

We have officially launched Black Friday deals, hence this is the Black Friday edition. Until December 1st, 2020 you can enjoy one of these deals. Use coupon code: coffeeisme

 

Empowering Women in Coffee with Lee Pike - International Women’s Coffee Alliance

Empowering Women in Coffee with Lee Pike - International Women’s Coffee Alliance

November 6, 2020

In this podcast I talked with Lee Pike from the International Women's Coffee Alliance, about the role of women in the industry and what the IWCA does to help improve the life of women coffee producers.

The IWCA is a global network of self-driven chapters focused on achieving sustainable
livelihoods in their communities. Each chapter sets and pursues its own goals, guided by the IWCA Code of Conduct. All are united by the IWCA mission: to empower women in the international coffee community to achieve meaningful and sustainable lives and to recognize the participation of women in all aspects of the coffee industry.

We also touched on sensitive topics, including why the Coffee Is Me podcast does not have more women on the show, why our industry is male dominated and whether the lots produced by women farmers have any specific recognizable taste profile.

I was also interested to know if there are benefits to roasting companies marketing their coffee as coming from a woman producer.

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: 

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