I saw this article listing the top ten influential coffee people in the United States today.
It made me wonder… Who are my top ten? So here goes.
#10 Nelson Valverde: Invalsa Coffee Company(www.invalsa.com) introduced us to organic shade grown coffees. Nelson & his brother Jorge own and operate Invalsa. Joan is their person in the office who makes things run smoothly. We purchased our Sonofresco roaster from them and it has been a huge productivity jump for us.
#9 Chris Burke: Morning Glory Coffee Roasters (http://morningglorycoffee.net/) in West Yellowstone, MT is an awesome roastery. Chris is the person who makes this roasting company what it is. I loved their packaging and called Chris. He told me who he got the bags from and what they were. He has given us advice along the way and we so appreciate it. Thank you Chris!
#8 Jim Kales: Jim Kales is the CEO of Aspire in Chicago, IL. In fact this whole idea of coffee roasting for our daughter Erin came from Jim. He started following me on twitter because Aspire was starting a new business for developmentally disabled people (http://www.aspirecoffeeworks.com/). Coffee Roasting! So that planted the idea and we were off and running. Thank you Jim.
#7 Jay Beaton: I call Jay Mr. Coffee for Chicago. Jay saw our tweets and website and asked to try some of our coffee. He posted a great review about us on his website ( http://www.spillingthebeanschicago.com/ ). He invited us to CoffeeCon2012 which we are attending on Saturday. He has given us exposure for our coffee more than I could ever have asked. Thank you Jay.
#6 Velasquez Family: Cathy & Guillermo are Honduran and live in St. Paul, MN. A friend who enjoys their coffee connected us with them. They have a great business model and have drawn us into what they are doing ( http://www.vfamilycoffee.com/ ). It was at this point working with them that I came up with our Family to Family concept. We now seek out families that we can partner with in the coffee business. presently we are working with four families and in discussion with two more. Thank you Velasquez Family!
#5 Stone House Roasters: This past summer we stopped by this great roastery in Nisswa, MN ( http://www.stonehousecoffee.com/ ). These guys have the same amount of square footage we do but roast over 1,000 pounds of coffee a week. It gave us the vision to shoot for that mark over time. Thank you Stone House Roasters.
#4 Jay — Spro Hampden: Spro Coffee House in the Hampden area of Baltimore, MD is a third wave coffee shop ( http://www.sprocoffee.com/hampden/home.html ). Jay is the owner of Spro. He’s a great guy and will sit and talk coffee with you for a long long time. I’ve come to love the whole third wave experience from Jay.
#3 Bruno & Pam Sielaff: Okay two here in the #3 spot. These guys co-own Holy Grounds Cafe in Emmitsburg, MD . They love coffee and working with us in creating new blends and products. The Emmitsburg Espresso is a new blend of ours just created for them. It’s a great cup of espresso. Thank you Bruno & Pam
#2 Fred Noble: Fred is the Mid-Atlantic Coffee & Tea guy for Whole Foods Markets. He gave me a vision that we could roast great tasting coffee! We are not on their shelves yet, but I do believe some day we will be. Thank you Fred.
#1 Sam Demisse: Sam is from Ethiopia and has been an awesome friend. He owns Keffa Coffee Company ( www.keffacoffee.com ). He imports green beans from Ethiopia! He calls me up just to talk about life. What a friend. He has given me valuable ideas about coffee marketing and roasting. He is a true friend. Thank you Sam.
WOW what an awesome group of people. We are who we are because of you guys.