How FedEx Changed The Coffee Business For Devoción
The following is a guest post written by Steven Sutton, CEO & Founder, Devoción
It all comes down to logistics.
The success of any brand is made or broken by how well and efficiently you can deliver a product to the end user. I learned this lesson long before I got into the coffee business. In another lifetime, I was involved in the flower industry and because of the delicate nature of flowers, speed and efficiency were essential to the existence of the business. Overnight shipping of flowers en masse seemed revolutionary and allowed flowers from different parts of the world to wind up in markets the next day while still in bloom.
In the high-end coffee business, logistics, speed and efficiency are also extremely important. Like flowers, coffee beans are living things that diminish in quality with each day that passes. In the mainstream coffee market, a company sources coffee from Colombia, Ethiopia, Brazil, Indonesia or wherever, they buy it, send it to a hot and humid ocean port, plop it on a slow freighter across the world, it sits in a warehouse, eventually gets roasted, and finally winds up on the store shelf or in a cup at the local café.
With Devoción, we deliver farm fresh coffee at all costs. From green to cup within 10 days. It is our mantra, our ethos, our religion which has helped us establish Devoción as the premier coffee brand within Colombia for nearly the last decade.
With success at home in Bogota, Colombia, I wanted to expand to the U.S. where coffee is enjoying quite a renaissance, but I needed to find a way to do it in a manner that didn’t jeopardize our brand identity of getting from farm to cup within 10 days. Within Colombia, we have built a unique distribution system that enables us to visit small farms and communities throughout the country on a weekly basis ensuring we always have a fresh supply of beans, not to mention are continually supporting our farming partners.
But how could I get the fresh green beans to a customer in New York in the same amount of time I get them to a customer down the street in Bogota? I immediately thought of the flowers and immediately thought of FedEx!
In December of 2014, Devoción made its debut in the U.S. with a cafe and roaster, Café Devoción in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, home to the growing third wave coffee revolution. Despite the established U.S. brands already in place, Devoción is now a game changer in the growing competitive marketplace as the source of the freshest coffee available in this country. The industry norm is for beans to be roasted between six and 12 months from green state. With FedEx as a dedicated carrier, we fly our direct trade beans from Bogota to New York City weekly for roasting in our new 3,600 square foot facility located at 69 Grand Street. It allows us to deliver on our promise of farm to cup within 10 days.
I have a desire to elevate coffee to the highest degree in the culinary space equal to that of the finest restaurants and chefs’ creations out there. Having the freshest coffee is essential to that. More importantly, now that we have established ourselves in New York, my goal is to expand to other cities around the U.S. and then other countries – delivering the freshest Colombian coffee to cups around the globe.
Whether it be Tokyo, London or Paris, I now know I can use my distribution system and FedEx to deliver my beans anywhere, anytime. In a nutshell, (make that in a coffee bean shell), FedEx has allowed a small Colombian company to become a global coffee brand…and for that, I am very grateful!