Coffee Manufactory wants you to think about what goes into your daily cup of coffee.
By highlighting individual producers, and the amount of time, effort, finances, and physical work that go into each and every coffee, the team has created a company that not only makes sure what you’re drinking tastes good, but also inspires you to stop and learn about where it comes from. This grower-first, supply chain, approach is in line with the ethos of Manufactory’s partner, the famed Tartine Bakery, and truly helps guide consumers on the journey from bean to brew.
In this interview, we chatted with Jeremy Gursey (President of Coffee Manufactory) about his very first cup of coffee, the team behind Manufactory, some of their current favorite producers, and where the company would like to see itself in the next five years.
Hi Jeremy and Robert! So nice to meet you. I’d love to know where you’re located and how you enjoyed your first cup of coffee?
Robert and myself are both located in Los Angeles. I was four years old when I experienced my first cup of coffee. It was Peet's "Major Dickinson's Blend" and my dad filled out a postcard with his credit card info and three weeks later coffee would arrive. I drank it with cream and sugar, and it was delicious. Also, contrary to misconceptions out there – I'm 6'1" so it definitely did not stunt my growth. LOL!
Who makes up the Coffee Manufactory team?
Myself, Jeremy Gursey, President. Robert Metzger, Director of Business Development. Hector Luna, Sales and Coffee Education. Stephanie Luna, Production Manager. Enrique Luna, Warehouse Management. And eight other awesome associates who work in production.
Does the team work out of an office together, and if so, how do you like to collaborate in the office? Do you brew and enjoy coffee together every day?
Robert, Hector and myself all work out of our corporate office in Los Angeles. We cup coffee daily and work in the same space as a collaborative team – we are definitely a synergy. The rest of the team operates out of our Las Vegas roastery location. We also work with our Commissary Lead, Matthias, out of San Francisco.
You say that Coffee Manufactory “was born from a conversation about what we dream to be possible in coffee”. What did you envision to be possible when you started the company in 2016?
We envisioned a coffee company as an extension of Tartine, where mission mattered and doing right by our community and coffee producing partners would be our core principles. We envisioned craftsmanship in every cup served.
How did the Coffee Manufactory and Tartine Bakery partnership come to be, and what shared values did you find between your businesses that made the partnership feel right?
The founders of Tartine wanted a craft coffee that would equal their pastry and bread program. They had a personal relationship with Chris Jordan who worked for Verve at that time, and had years of green coffee supply chain experience formerly with Starbucks. He ended up leaving Verve to launch Coffee Manufactory in partnership with Tartine Bakery, and the elevated coffee experience began. The core principles of the two companies would remain aligned where Coffee Manufactory would focus on partnerships with farms rather than traditional vendor relationships – the same approach Tartine took with its grain producers.
Sustainable sourcing and producer partnerships are core parts of the Coffee Manufactory ethos. How do you choose which producers to work with and how do you nourish and grow those relationships so that they are mutually beneficial?
We look first and foremost to what is the best possible tasting coffee out there. Then, once we identify great coffee, we establish a connection. Before Covid, we would work alongside the farmers and help them harvest the crops to build upon the relationship and get a sense for what it entails to bring farms closer to roasters, roasters closer to baristas, and then ultimately the customer. We choose farms based on taste and regions with a focus on small crop producers.
Can you explain how your sourcing platform, sometimes called “Direct Trade 2.0.” works and how you think it can contribute to the betterment of the global coffee supply chain?
It works by allowing the farmer to dictate what price they would like for their coffee and hard work. We then pay above and beyond that price to create equitable pay for the farmer and to show that we pay above and beyond a fair wage. This allows the farmers to re-invest into their communities and to build schools, places of worship, markets, etc., and to provide safe water while creating opportunities for others within their communities. By doing our part, we insure the future of coffee producers and great coffee. This benefits the supply chain in general because, while it is a more expensive way to do business, it creates sustainability within our industry.
How did you become a part of the Transparency Pledge (A common code for transparency reporting in green coffee buying), and why do you think it is important for coffee buyers and roasters to join in on this type of initiative?
We think it's important in order to create and remain a sustainable company. It allows the end drinker of our coffee to gain the knowledge of exactly what goes into producing the cup of coffee they are drinking, and it allows us to showcase the farmer and their passion for coffee. It's important for other companies to follow suit because collectively we can make a change to better our industry.
We’d love to know what coffees are making up your current offerings? Are there any in particular that you are especially excited about?
We are extremely excited about our 03 Africa offering. It's a Guji Natural and it's absolutely delicious as a cold brew or stand alone as a pour over. We are also excited about our 04 Latin offering which features Colombian Cuaca produced by Amaca, a 100 percent woman owned collective in Colombia that has some of the most incredible tasting coffee from low yield coffee trees. Also, my personal favorite is our 01 Espresso. It's unparalleled and makes not only the most delicious latte or cappuccino when cut with milk, but also tastes amazing as a stand alone espresso.
What does the future look like for Coffee Manufactory? How do you see the business evolving over the next 5 years?
Great Question. We have several areas of focus right now. One, is on growing our online subscription base and continuing to work with subscription partners and online marketplaces. Subscriptions and subscription platforms are a great way to get coffee into the hands of coffee drinkers. Another is on growing within the grocery sector. Grocery stores not only act as marketplaces to showcase your product and get it in the hands of consumers, but they also act as billboards and are important in marketing a brand. We are currently featured in 240 grocery and natural food stores and we are looking to grow that number significantly over the next 5 years. We also are very focused on growing within the hotel sector. We currently have coffee stores or coffee programs in many five star hotels, and want to fill a void in the market by providing quality coffee to hotel guests. Whether it's with additional licensed stores within hotels, or quality coffee within their restaurants and/or via in-room-dining. And lastly, pantry service. The pandemic created a work remote world, but certain industries still rely on in person office operations and we would like to regain our footprint and continue to grow within the office space sector.