Coffee is the solution to many problems in university: all-nighters, difficult math problems, lack of term paper ideas, early classes, late classes, boring classes, and the list goes on…
Hey guys! We are Gavin and Kim Tholl, two Mathies from the early 2000’s. UWaterloo is always a special place for us, because that’s where we met. We were fellow Mathies. We bonded over coffee, we studied over coffee, and we went on many dates over coffee. We had two loves – each other and coffee.
Fast forward to 2005, we moved to Vancouver right after our graduation. We got married in 2006 and carried on our professional lives in Corporate Downtown Vancouver. We applied one thing that we both learned at UWaterloo: The solution to most problems is – Coffee. For years we treated coffee as a simple hot beverage, or a necessity of life. What’s the difference anyway? If we want to add romance to coffee, we go to a café.
Vancouver is one place in Canada that offers countless coffee shops, from chains like Starbucks to artisan roasting houses like Republica Coffee. As two chronic coffee drinkers, we were bound to run into a discovery: some coffees taste way better than others. Why is that? Is it the brewing method? The water? The quality of the beans? The quality of the roast? Maybe how long ago it was roasted? It was all of the above, with each factor impacting our morning cup of joe (and consequently, the rest of our day).
While we found plenty of places that focused on quality brewing, water, beans and roasts, we found very few that focused on how recently those beans were roasted. We didn’t think much of it until we tried beans freshly roasted, and then our world changed.
It dawned on us that there is no reason to drink bad coffee at home. If coffee brings romance, and is the solution to so many problems, why drink commercially mass produced coffee with expiry dates that just don’t cut it? Coffee is meant to be enjoyed fresh. Not just brewed fresh, but roasted fresh. We learned that freshly roasted coffee beans start “dying” soon after roasting, yet it is very difficult to find coffee from stores that can guarantee that freshness. Some Master Roasters we talked to wouldn’t even stand by the quality of their product after they’ve aged for more than a month in a valve-locked bag, that’s how much the flavour is impacted.
Using our entrepreneurial know-how, business acumen, and problem-solving skills learned from UWaterloo, along with our passion for coffee, a new idea was born: a store offering only freshly roasted coffee from artisan roasters, each with the roasting date stamped on the bag, and delivered to doors across Canada. Our online store opened for business this past Fall.
Our business model is very simple. We create partnerships with local artisan roasters such that we can ship customer orders just-in-time, ensuring no coffee is left on our shelves for longer than 48 hours. This not only delivers the best possible coffee to our customers, but also keeps our inventory costs incredibly low, allowing us to have positive cash-flow from the very beginning. We leverage the volume of receiving multiple orders to obtain free delivery from our suppliers, and provide free shipping to our customers. Our customers can then mix and combine coffee from multiple suppliers, and enjoy freshly roasted coffee like never before.
My fellow UWaterloo friends, the days of drinking bad coffee at home is over. We invite you to try freshly roasted coffee, perhaps you will find that extra romance in coffee like we did.