Size is no match for Tiny House Coffee Roasters when it comes to making a big impact. Back in 2014, Helen Schafer and Blake Thomas stepped into the coffee industry looking to link coffee roasting with ethical sourcing. By offering farmers above-average rates for premium quality, Tiny House Coffee Roasters paved a path for their growing business.
Through the years, their product line has expanded from farm-specific roasts to office nitro systems and cold brew coffee. After being named a finalist in H-E-B’s “Quest for the Texas Best,” their sights were set on bag-in-box cold brew for retail. In May 2019, Casita Cold Brew reached the shelves in several Texas stores.
We recently spoke with Blake Thomas, Co-Founder and Sales Manager, and Logan Allender, Operations Manager and Coffee Roaster, to hear what they had to say about working with Scholle IPN and bag-in-box cold brew.
After wrapping up their journey with the Peace Corps in 2014, Blake Thomas and Helen Schafer sought a new journey to aide small, Nicaraguan coffee producers at the source. Tiny House Coffee Roasters works to make a better world with better coffee by introducing coffee to homes and offices by ethically sourcing through farmers in an open, communicative way. Blake realized that everyone has a chance to benefit from an ethical and economical approach to coffee – it just takes a bit more effort in the middle. “First, we started selling to friends and family and at local farmers markets. We quickly moved into curating corporate coffee programs. Our mark was made through the introduction of our nitro cold brew program, which ultimately caught the attention of Logan Allender, an expert coffee roaster who joined the team in 2018.”
With his help, relationships were formed in communities in which a long-term investor was needed for coffee farms to grow and prosper. Not only does Tiny House Coffee Roasters support the farms financially, but they also work to find solutions on an individual basis. Through open communication and frequent visits, authentic relationships have been formed in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Africa, and Sumatra.
Logan was able to help Blake and Helen’s vision get to the next level. H-E-B, the largest grocer in Texas and 6th largest in the US, makes a conscious effort to find up-and-coming food brands and bring them to their consumer base. Tiny House Coffee Roasters’ cold brew was selected as a top 25 finalist in 2018 out of 700 applicants. H-E-B’s dairy buyer quickly picked them up, helping them reach store shelves in May of 2019.
Packaged in a Scholle IPN bag-in-box, Tiny House Casita Cold Brew is available in 18 H-E-B stores across central Texas. Blake explained, “We were drawn to Scholle IPN’s bag-in-box due to the smaller carbon footprint and shipping efficiencies that are gained through flexible packaging. The packaging is nitrogen flushed, so it’s cleaner as opposed to cans. We’ve identified that consumers are looking for bulk, craft cold brew, so we provide a week-long supply that stays as fresh as the day we brewed it.”
In just a few short weeks, Tiny House Coffee Roasters will open its first retail café showcasing bag-in box alongside a new facility, scaling current production tenfold in Austin, TX. They are hoping to use this space to help expand their bag-in-box product line, adding single-origin and flavor options. They are also exploring options to strengthen their brand in an environmentally-conscious way, leveraging their relationships with farmers for a better world with better coffee.