Interview: Tyler Tate, Founder of Crema.co, An Online Marketplace for Single-Origin Coffee
March 31, 2015
Meet Tyler Tate. He’s an entrepreneur looking to revolutionize how we consume our coffee through his new venture, Crema.co. by introducing an easier and more efficient way to purchase quality single-origin coffee from around the world.
Read on to learn more about Tyler and his creative entrepreneurial vision.
1) Tell me about yourself and your background.
I’ll begin my story in the summer of 2006. I was a senior in college, and I was spending four weeks of my summer break working with an NGO group in Costa Rica whose goal was to support agricultural workers in the coffee industry. I visited a dozen coffee farms, got to know several coffee growers, and witnessed the processing, milling, and coffee roasting operations along the way. It was an amazing experience.
A year after graduating, my newlywed wife and I left our college town in Kentucky and moved to the big smoke of London. It was a stark contrast with our childhood in the American South, but we fell in love with the United Kingdom. We lived in London for three years, and spent another three years in a small village just outside Cambridge. I was part of a couple of different technology startups during that time, making software products that we sold to other businesses.
One morning I was sitting in a favorite London coffee shop — Flat White on Berwick street — and looking at the blackboard behind the counter. It was describing their featured coffee: “El Salvador, Finca Divino Niño. Grown at 2,100 meters elevation by Mateo Pérez. Bourbon varietal. Harvested in May. Dry processed.”
That was a ‘eureka’ moment for me. My thought process went something along the lines of… wouldn’t it be great if there was an online marketplace where I could explore the world of coffee using all of coffee’s unique characteristics? Where I could discover the story behind the coffee I’m drinking? Where I could buy coffee from small, specialty roasters and have it delivered to me? That was the spark for what would eventually become Crema.co.
After leaving my previous company in the fall, my wife and I — with our young children in tow — spent four weeks camping around the UK, from Scotland to Cornwall. We then took a two-month break in the Dordogne region of France before heading to the US in November to start working full time on Crema.co.
Crema.cois an online marketplace for single-origin coffee. It’s a place where coffee drinkers can buy freshly-roasted coffee directly from specialty roasters.
I’m one of those people who are disappointed by what I find on the grocery store shelves: ubiquitous blends roasted who-knows-how-long ago from household brands. Crema.co is the antidote to that displeasure.
First, we’re focusing specifically on single-origin coffee, not blends. As the name suggests, single-origin coffee comes from a particular place, often as specific as a single farm. As with fine wine, coffee’s terroir — the location, climate, soil conditions, etc. associated with a particular place — give each single-origin coffee a distinctive taste profile.
And second, we’re prioritizing freshness. When you order a bag of coffee on Crema.co, we notify the roaster immediately. Only then do they roast your coffee, and ship it out on the same or next day. This means customers receive only the freshest coffee — no going stale on the supermarket shelf.
3) What makes it unique? Are there any competing brands out there?
Online coffee subscriptions have really taken off in the last 1–2 years. Blue Bottle, Starbucks, and many others offer a “curated” subscription, where they choose a bag of coffee and send it to you every month. But ‘curated’ is really just another way of saying that you, the customer, have no choice in what you’re buying.
We’re offering a coffee subscription with a twist that allows people to choose coffees for themselves. Imagine going to Crema.co and finding several different coffees that you’d like to try. You could then add those coffees to your ‘brewlist’, set a delivery frequency, and then receive the next item on your brewlist each shipment. It’s like a Netflix queue for coffee.
We also want to make coffee more personal by connecting coffee drinkers with the people who grew their coffee. Coffee growers have often been marginalized in the past; but we’re focused on telling their stories through text, images, videos, and interactive maps. And by partnering with roasters who have direct relationships with growers, and pay them better-than-fair-trade prices, we want to empower growers to pursue their passion — growing great coffee — from a sustainable state of well-being and respect.
4) How can people get involved?
We’ve just entered the final week of our Kickstarter campaign, which ends Saturday, April 4. If you’re just as passionate about quality coffee as we are, please take a look at our Kickstarter campaign. We would also love to connect with you on our social media channels:
I’m Nyssa. I started The Cultureur in August 2012, almost a decade after contracting the travel bug while on a Model United Nations conference in Russia and Finland.
And from there, when I took the first step in solo international travel and decided to study abroad in college,
there was no looking back, and I ended up living, studying, working, and volunteering in 6 countries (the U.S., the UK, France, Iceland, India, and Germany) and traveling to 50+ others.