“At first we were just roasting for the office. Now it’s a whole new business.”
The Slovenian brand that is known for its innovative Gina coffee maker and goat horn mug is venturing into roasting specialty coffee with great success
There is something to be said about businesses that are not afraid to start a new venture during these testing times. At the beginning of this crisis, I saw a lot of roasters struggle with the sudden changes to their businesses, often wondering if they might survive the pandemic at all.
Yet, despite all the hardship this has brought to so many entrepreneurs and their staff, it is also been a source of opportunity for many.
I have had countless conversations with roasters who have successfully shifted their operations from relying almost entirely on wholesale to successfully activating their consumer bases by investing more time and money into their webshops. Because, if you don’t have that lifeline to your homebound customers at this moment, things will be very tough indeed.
Now, take a business that wasn’t in the roasting space to begin with and only launched its own specialty coffee brand a few months ago and you might be wondering ‘how is that going’?
Well, in the case of one of our June ’20 coffee roasters, Goat Story, that has actually been going rather well. Goat Story is, of course, much better known for its quirky goat horn shaped coffee mug and its Gina coffee maker, an innovative device that was funded via Kickstarter a few years ago and has since become one of the leading examples of high-tech coffee brewing technology that anyone can own and operate.
Here at The Coffeevine, I am always looking for interesting and exciting roasters and I often feature newcomers who are doing something really great with coffee. Admittedly, I didn’t even know Goat Story had launched its own range of coffees and when they reached out to me a few weeks ago, I was rather surprised. But that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day, isn’t it?
During my most recent live Q&A with Goat Story’s head roaster and marketing manager Dušan Maticic, I got to learn a bit more about how this roasting was started and where it’s going. You can watch a full recording of this interview here.
Initially, Dušan said, they only roasted coffee for the office on a small Toper coffee roaster. With more than 40 people working at Goat Story and its sister company, there are plenty of caffeine-thirsty professionals who need their daily supply of fresh coffee. But Dušan wanted more.
After attending a course at the London School of Coffee where he roasted over 50 samples, he was hooked and he dragged Goat Story CEO Anže Miklevec down the rabbithole with him. Soon, a 12kg Diedrich roaster was installed in the office and the Goat Story specialty coffee venture was born.
Then, Corona came. For many starting businesses, this would have been a serious shock to the system but Goat Story had one massive advantage. Massive reach.
Being able to tap into its vast network of social media followers, Kickstarter supporters, newsletter subscribers and more was a great net to fall into at a time when cafés all over Europe were closing to comply with lockdown rules.
Dušan explained: “Initially, we were going to scrap the launch but then we thought f*** it. I wasn’t planning on roasting more than once a week to start with but now, I’m already roasting three times a week and we’re running out of coffee. Just to give you a sense of how well our coffees have been received.” Not bad for these times.
As it turned out, a lot of orders came from customers in the Middle East, a part of the world from which we’ve also seen steady growth over the past few weeks.
The coffee that Goat Story will roast for us is a personal favourite of mine that we’ve had in the box before. It’s a washed Ethiopian coffee from Suke Quto, a farm in Guji that is run by producer Ato Tesfaye Bekele.
At a time when this part of Ethiopia was still dominated by cattle farmers, Ato decided to tap into his family heritage of growing coffee and he set up a very successful coffee farm that is now producing truly outstanding specialty coffees of the highest grades.
Initially, when he first started distributing seeds for coffee trees in his community, locals were unimpressed by the long-term commitment before the trees bore any fruit but Ato was unphased and over the years, his operation has become ever more successful and drawn in many more people who now grow specialty coffee on their lands.
This coffee is a wonderful representation of the outstanding quality and exquisite flavour profiles that washed Ethiopian coffees are known for. It offers a lovely floral flavour profile with citric fruits and some jasmine tea notes.
Get this delicious coffee from Goat Story alongside exquisite picks from Lomi and Obadiah as part of our forthcoming June ’20 coffee box.
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