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Coffee is ME Podcast
101 minutes | Jul 21, 2022
Starting a super cool coffee brand in India with Rahul Reddy - Subko Coffee Roasters, Mumbai
Come explore the specialty coffee scene in India with us and Rahul Reddy. Rahul is the founder of Subko Coffee Roasters, a revolutionary coffee concept that sources the best lots from local farmers for the local consumers. This is the first episode recorded with video, so if you want to see our faces, join us on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa5A34qegnupOj_gt04Jzhw In this episode we cover the topics of cupping and calibration, the specialty coffee scene in Mumbai and the Subko Coffee Roasters origin story. Rahul tells us more about his vision and the benefits of connecting a bakery with his coffee roasting brand. We touch on the subject of production and why Subko uses Giesen coffee roasters. Subko's branding and social media presence is very impressive, and so we definitely had to talk about that. Finally, Rahul shares a few tips for future coffee entrepreneurs and asks me a question about how Asia as a coffee origin has a future in the specialty coffee industry.
60 minutes | Mar 31, 2022
Can You Make Money with a Cold Brew Cart? - with Eddie Alaniz from Coffee Conspiracy
In this episode we talk with Eddie Alaniz about his brand Coffee Conspiracy. Eddie's brand is a lockdown businesses. While most cafes had to be closed, Eddie offered single origin cold brew to the beach crowd in Santa Cruz. Despite his humble beginnings, Eddie did not stop with his cold brew cart. His next move was to start to roast his own coffee and sell it via an online store. How did he do it? What is the most important aspect of a successful coffee business? The interview was recorded during a session of the Coffee Roasting Lab PRO - Business. Join us for the next one!
115 minutes | Jan 21, 2022
Starting a cafe empire and why should you start to roast your own coffee - with Sandra and Joey from Pink Owl, California
In December, we held the Roasting Lab PRO Course, where future coffee entrepreneurs study efficient ways of roasting, developing products, packaging and branding, understanding sales channels, not to mention having an awesome time exchanging ideas and meeting like-minded people from all over the world. I run this course every 3 months; it is limited to 6 students, and the next one is coming up in March. One of my favorite parts of the course is our guests, who come to share their coffee business experience and are willing to reveal their trade secrets. In the last course, we were joined by Joey and Sandra from Pink Owl Coffee. As I have mentioned before, I am one lucky guy! The students asked really useful questions, Sandra and Joey's energy was intoxicating, and all I had to do was record it. I hope that some of that energy will rub off on you too. In this episode we discuss: - How to start a café serving specialty coffee; - What marketing tools you should use; - How to go about branding your cup, merch, etc.; - Why Joey and Sandra ultimately decided to roast their own coffee; - Mistakes they made and you can avoid; - The types and number of products a café should offer, and how Sandra finds the best deals and quality for their offering; - How Joey chooses the equipment for the café and whether used coffee gear is a good idea; - A few ideas on how to finance a coffee shop, drawing on Joey's experience as a finance guy. There is much more wisdom in this podcast and yes, it is almost 2 hours long. I believe that the shared know-how and value is incredible, so I decided to keep it as is. ENJOY!
80 minutes | Dec 21, 2021
Daniel claims that $2500 is enough to start a coffee roasting business... with Daniel Streetman from Bird and Bear Coffee
In this episode, Daniel Streetman explains how you can start a coffee roasting business with minimal investment. After Daniel was laid off during the pandemic, he and his wife Ella looked deep into their wallet and figured out that the most they could spend on their new company was $2500. I love to brag about how I started Green Plantation with only $8000, but I would never even attempt to start a coffee roasting business with $2500, especially not in San Francisco. In this episode Daniel reveals how they did it, where they found their first customers, and how they have grown since then. Spoiler alert, your neighborhood can be much more powerful than you think. In this episode we will also address branding, SEO tips, and we will talk about the power of customer reviews and engagement. Daniel is also a trainer at the Boot Coffee Campus, so I took the opportunity to talk about the SCA courses and the SCA Foundations Week we are planning in January 2022.
73 minutes | Oct 25, 2021
Starting a coffee brand with a 2kg roaster and a school bus: Gleason Jones from Minimalist Coffee, Opelika, Alabama
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.
89 minutes | Jul 13, 2021
Your questions about coffee roasting, blends, best coffee on the planet and Q Grading answered
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.
82 minutes | Jun 14, 2021
We were born in the fire - the story of Café de Leche a café and coffee roaster from L.A. - with Matt & Anya Schodorf
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.
62 minutes | May 5, 2021
This is how you build a coffee drive through, with Darren Spicer, Clutch Coffee Bar
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. 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
92 minutes | Apr 13, 2021
Kelly bought herself a coffee company and this is how it went down...
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!
67 minutes | Nov 16, 2020
The best roast profiles, green coffees and roaster size for a coffee roasting startup - Black Friday Edition
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
53 minutes | Nov 6, 2020
Empowering Women in Coffee with Lee Pike - International Women's Coffee Alliance
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.
43 minutes | Oct 22, 2020
Becoming Q Grader at 12 and Starting a Coffee Brand at 14 with Frankie Volkema - Joven Coffee
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. Enjoy the episode. For links mentioned in this episode please visit : Coffee Is ME.
74 minutes | Oct 8, 2020
Buying Coffee Brands with Tim Volkema - Schuil Coffee & Sparrows Coffee
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
73 minutes | Sep 16, 2020
A New Coffee Startup is Born with Stephen Ezell - Sequential Coffee
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
69 minutes | Jul 28, 2020
Crossing the Line to Work with Haitian farmers - Cafe Kreyol - Joseph Stazzone
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.
80 minutes | Jun 9, 2020
Building family coffee business with Mitchell Popadziuk - [CxT] Coffee Company
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.
71 minutes | May 17, 2020
The rebel heart of Flag and Wire Coffee
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 Vineyards, A to Z, Brooks Wines. You can find Flag And Wire: Website Instagram Facebook
73 minutes | Mar 6, 2020
Is this coffee roaster the future of coffee roasting? With Arno Holschuh from Bellwether
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
42 minutes | Dec 12, 2019
$500 Gesha vs $10 Brazilian Coffee and Instagram Marketing Tips with Umeko Motoyoshi
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!
48 minutes | Dec 5, 2019
Umeko Motoyoshi - The Personality of Coffee Tasting. Is it a Real Thing?
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.
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