We had the good fortune of connecting with Devin Hunter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Devin, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When we started Coffee Man Cold Brew, we noticed that a lot of cold brew coffee was very strong and intense. It almost required cream and sugar to drink and usually had a harsh, bitter bite. We wanted to create a brand of cold brew that offered fun, natural flavors that were lighter and easy to drink. As a result, we started infusing fruits, flowers, and spices into the brewing process similarly to craft beer and kombucha. We now offer flavored cold brew like lavender vanilla, elderberry chai, and blueberry orange basil. Even our plain cold brews are light and easy-to-drink because we use light roast coffee rather than dark roast coffee.
What should our readers know about your business?
Coffee Man Cold Brew is crafted with real fruits, flowers, and spices. Our goal is to make flavors that are unique and eye-catching, but taste amazing and like nothing you’ve had before. We got our inspiration from brands like Jeni’s Icecream, Health-Ade Kombucha, and Craft Breweries. Ice cream, kombucha, and beer have been around for a long time, but these brands incorporated new ideas, new flavors, and new creativity to take an age-old product and make it better. Our goal is to create coffees for everyone. Sure, some people enjoy the taste of traditional coffee, but a lot of people don’t. We want to brew cold brew coffee that anyone can enjoy even if they aren’t traditionally a coffee drinker. It certainly wasn’t easy to make infused flavors that actually tasted good. We probably brewed over 25 different flavors before we got a good one. For several months, we would just throw different combinations of fresh fruits, flowers, and spices into a mason jar with coffee grounds and water. Eventually we created our golden hour flavor which is a combination of Colombian coffee, filtered water, and organic pineapple and coconut. Even after we did this, our cold brew would go bad in about a week. Although we were brewing coffee, we were almost creating a mixture between coffee, juice, and tea which require more advanced food science and pasteurization. Thankfully the UGA food science department was there to help us out. They suggested we use dried and de-hydrated fruits and flowers, but also put the coffee through a light pasteurization. This helped extend the shelf life of our cold brew and even improved the flavor of the cold brew. One of the biggest things we learned is that good ideas are important, but good execution and implementation is truly the hard part. Yes, you have to have a big idea or a good concept when you start a business. Your new business need to try to fix some sort of problem. But an idea is pointless without action and a lot of ideas require way more work than you realize. The key is believing in an idea enough to take it from the concept to reality which is always difficult but extremely rewarding.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my friend was in town visiting Atlanta, I’d make sure they got to experience all the amazing places to eat and drink in Atlanta. Bold Monk Brewing is on the top of my list because they have amazing Belgian-inspired beer, but they also have one of the most unique taprooms with amazing food and dinner options. Their space includes a library, cocktail bar, event space, and outdoor beer garden. We’d also go play a round of disc golf over at Perkerson Park down near East Point. You’re down in the heart of the city, but you can absolutely get lost in all trees and woods. After this, we’d definitely stop by West End and check out the Monday Night Garage and Best End Brewing. These spots are always bustling on the weekends and a great place to enjoy a beer on Saturday afternoon. For dinners, Whiskey Bird, Barcelona Wine Bar, BeetleCat would definitely make the list. These are some of my favorite restaurants in the city and they all boast an excellent selection of cocktails and fine foods. But of course, you can’t visit Atlanta without going to Piedmont Park. I’d make sure to get some friends together to play spikeball, ultimate frisbee, or some sort of outside activity in the park. It’s hard to beat the views of the Atlanta skyline from Piedmont Park while also enjoying the outdoors. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate this shoutout to my business partner Nick Lopez! I started Coffee Man Cold Brew by myself back in 2018 and was really struggling to get it off the ground. I have no graphic design or artistic talent and outsourcing that seemed expensive and unrealistic. I was also having a hard time holding myself accountable to all the goals and tasks I needed to do. The to-do list was getting longer and longer and I was starting to lose motivation. I also just needed someone to bounce ideas off and help me figure out some of my complex food science problems. So I brought Nick into the business as a partner back in 2019 and things really took off. He helped design our branding, labels, and website. He really helped make the “Coffee Man” brand come alive. The complex problems started to become a lot easier with two people working on them. We were able launch our shelf stable DIY cold brew bags and split our long to-do list in half to make it more manageable. Coffee Man would have failed a long time ago if he didn’t come on board so shoutout to you Nick!