How did all this get started?
Growing up in a South Indian household, my family was always into traditional syrupy Indian “kapi,” the coffee that they grew used to in their youths. On our trips to India every few years, my parents would make it a point to bring back a few pounds of this local Indian coffee–even if it was just to savor that taste for an extra few weeks.
Once that Coffee ran out, we would go back to the norm–the norm being overly roasted (and cheap) Kirkland Columbian Coffee from Costco. I started to wonder why this was the case. How can you go from enjoying world class coffee that brought back so many memories to bulk quantity roast? The answer was simple – It came down to convenience and quality–my parents didn’t have the time to go hunting store to store to find Indian Coffee; more importantly, if they did happen to find it – it was often a few months old and not great quality. (not to mention overpriced)
I started Coffee Match with a vision to change this: Make it easy for anyone to enjoy delicious Coffee and Tea.
I decided to go to India and understand the coffee and tea business from the ground up – straight from the source – the farmers and the exporters.
The quest to find India’s best coffee:
I’ve made many trips to India as a kid, as any immigrant kid would relate – mainly to visit family and friends. But I never really had a chance to take in the culture and observe India through the lens of the motor that drives it—tea and coffee. This trip would be different – I was on a mission. I wanted to act like a “tourist” and document the entire experience through my camera and so began my search to find India’s best coffee.
The best Coffee in India is grown in a region known as Coorg which is about 3-4 hours away from Mysore (the closest major city). Getting to Coorg is not the easiest journey – you really traverse through ‘rural’ India – a lot of rough roads and the occasional cow crossing the road – but as you pass by these lush and rich landscapes, you really begin to see a land that is rich in history, filled with people of various creeds and a culture that is so different from the traditional India you’ve always known through Bollywood movies and stories from your parents.
Learning from the source: Srivara Coffee Works
I had a chance to visit Srivara Coffee Works in Kushal Nagar, Karnataka. Through detailed interviews with the farmers, the exporters and store owners, I had a chance to understand the process of importing raw beans, what makes coffee from this region unique, and how it is consumed and prepared by locals.
During my visit to the farm, I stopped by local restaurants to taste the food from the region– not unlike a tourist–and tried to find out as much about the language and day-to-day life of a Coorgi. I started out with trying to find coffee, but after spending about a day in the region, ended up with so much more.
I was excited to share my experiences and wanted to figure out a way to bring this back to the end customers: I wanted to help the average coffee drinker connect with the world through our product.
Building an “experience” around Coffee & Tea
Coffee Match’s goal then became to deliver high quality coffee and package it in a way that from the first sip to the last, you feel you’ve been there. If you close your eyes and smell the coffee as you enjoy it, you should feel transported into its world. If we can accomplish this— have the consumer truly engage with the coffee and its myriad stories–then our work is complete.
We want to build a coffee and tea brand that will open people’s eyes beyond consumption. We want to transform the single act of sipping a hot beverage into a way to create a bond and a relationship with the consumer – a way to deliver interesting unique content with each cup every single day.
With every cup – whether its scanning a QR code or taking a picture of the package or getting a simple email from us – our vision is to bring you closer to the world and its cultures. From learning about what it took to bring that bean to directly to you, meeting the farmer, learning about the culture, and interacting with locals we’ve met along the way – consuming goes beyond the product – it becomes an experience.
What we’ve accomplished so far:
We’ve had a chance to visit two countries so far: India and Panama. We’ve built a direct relationship with the farmers to import the raw beans to our roasting plant. We’ve worked out the logistics around roasting and shipping directly to consumers.
We’ve created the initial Coffee Match app that we’ve been testing with a small customer base to understand how to make this experience seamless, and to understand what content you find interesting.
Our focus is on quality & building an amazing experience for our customers.
We still have a lot of work to do around building more relationships with direct sources, packaging the product to make it easy to consume and building out the ideal end-consumer experience.
We’ve enjoyed it every step of the way, and we hope to bring some of that joy and passion into the coffee you enjoy every morning.
Here some more pictures from the journey – hope you enjoy them: