We're collaborating with mycoffeeism.com for the month of June! The owner, Katherine, has been a huge support in our journey of starting Velodrome and we can't wait to do some awesome things together in the coming weeks. Katherine asked some great questions the other day and we thought we'd share those with you!
Q: How did you get involved in the coffee business?
I started as a home roaster working as a barista. I was given the opportunity to learn roasting from the owner of Luna Cafe, Mark Patel, in DePere, WI. After he taught me the commercial side of roasting he really let me take the reins and gave me the freedom to learn and experiment. I just kept going from there! At Honest Coffee I was given the opportunity to build the wholesale coffee program and also start sourcing all the green coffee.
Q: Can you explain your mission a bit?
The mission of Velodrome Coffee Company is to change the way you drink coffee. We believe you should be able to know exactly where your coffee came from and be able to enjoy it in the least complicated way possible. We source only single farm, microlot coffees to feature the incredible work of the producers and their families.
Q: Is there a meaning behind the name “Velodrome”?
Velodrome is a bike racing discipline where racers zoom around a steeply banked wooden track on stripped down fixed gear bikes without brakes. Our motto is FAST | SIMPLE | FRESH - we adhering to this motto is the secret to allowing more people to enjoy specialty coffee. Coffee should be just as velodrome bike racing is: incredibly fast and simple.
Furthermore, I’m an avid cyclist and advocate of the sustainable nature of biking as a method of transportation… so that’s where the bike comes in. We also plan to deliver all in-town orders and subscriptions by bike!
Q: What distinguishes your coffee?
Our roasting - we seek to highlight delicate nuances.
Our sourcing - even as a small start up, we plan to have a full coffee menu featuring coffees we’ve either sourced directly at the farm or have a very close relationship with the producer through a friend or colleague. Essentially we focus on sustainable sourcing practice and will only buy coffees with the highest degree of traceability.
Our simplicity - we think good coffee doesn’t have to be complicated. There are details about each bean that are super important to consumers and details that aren’t. We focus on the biggest details… the humans involved in each coffee. We also seek to educate the public in the most straightforward - least pretentious way possible.
Q: What type of beans do you roast?
We roast coffee from all over the world, specialty grade coffee which is the top 1% of all coffee produced in the world. Furthermore - we travel to the farms we work with and ensure humans in each step of the chain of coffee, from the farm to us, are treated with dignity. Each person that touches the coffee along the way should get a FAIR share. Each coffee we buy is meticulously and thoroughly vetted. Currently we are developing new relationships across the world so that we can increase the amount of different coffees we roast, but we will not sacrifice our thorough, sustainable, and personal sourcing methods just to expand our menu. For example - we don’t have any great connections that we can rely on in Ethiopia yet…. so guess what, you won’t see an Ethiopian on our menu yet! I could talk for days on why we've decided to do this… we know it’s not normal, but we’re trying to change the way we drink coffee.
Q: Where do you receive your beans from?
Currently we’ve got solid relationships in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Burundi, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, and Sumatra. Most of these we buy directly from the farmer, some pass through an intermediary for import/export - all offerings are thoroughly vetted to make sure they meet our high standards of traceability.
Q: Do you have any stories about the farmers you work with?
Of course! We plan to tell the story of every single farmer we work with! Simply search our site and youtube channel to see what we’ve got so far!
Q: What are you plans for a physical shop location in MI?
Currently the details are still underwraps as we don’t have a signed lease quite yet… however we do happen to have something AWESOME in the planning/negotiation stages. Let’s just say it’s the perfect location and size. We plan to start with a roastery and coffee bar. We’re gonna start small and lean. As simple of equipment as possible to get started. From there we hope to add additional locations each with it’s own spin and concept. We plan to add a full fledged roasting flagship spot, a more to-go focused coffee bar, as well as a food concept down the road. So, our plan for a physical shop in Michigan, we certainly will have one and it will be awesome and eventually we hope to have many and they will all be awesome!
If you want to be the first to know when we release the details of this planned location, sign up for our email list!
Q: What do you like best about your line of work?
I’d say the best thing is that coffee has the ability to completely change lives. There are so many humans directly affected by coffee and we as roasters and consumers have a unique opportunity to ensure all these people flourish and have great lives or we can ignore them and add to the degradation of the coffee industry. What drives us is finding innovative ways to make people's’ lives better.
Q: Something people might be surprised to learn about you or your business?
Maybe the fact that we’re such young business owners? I’m 21 and my wife Teagan is 23 (she’s a cradle robber!) and we’re just jumping into this thing head first because we believe we can change this industry. Maybe we’re naive and crazy, but we’re not ones to really sit back and hope things happen and work out. We build our dreams instead of following them.
Q: Besides a shop, what’s next for Velodrome?
Definitely more trips to meet more farmers. Also we want to start developing the biking aspect of our brand a bit more… so keep an eye out for that.