The Coffee Hustle
No Sleep: A Veteran Turned Roaster Riding the Coffee Hustle
What exactly is the Coffee Hustle? It's a new term that we've created, actually. To describe a phenomenon that I've been noticing over the last year.
Young and ambitious entrepreneurs who've decided to start their own coffee business as a side hustle. Typically by roasting beans at home and selling them in small batches to anyone who is interested. Then gradually scaling production over time with more resources.
It's the origin story of many folks I've met and worked with in the specialty coffee industry. And one of the earliest relationships I formed on my own journey happens to be with Idaho-based roaster Jake Baxter at No Sleep. A relationship (and now friendship) that I'm grateful for.
Entrepreneurship is hard. In fact, it is the most difficult and demanding thing I've ever done. A sentiment shared by many coffee-preneurs who are similarly grinding it out every day.
What's unique about Jake is that he's built the No Sleep brand around the entrepreneurial grind. To support individuals who are constantly hustling. And drinking a lot of coffee to stay awake.
This isn't to say that No Sleep is just for entrepreneurs. Jake explains: "We’re a brand to support your late nights. Whether you’re a college student doing a project or someone working on a venture."
The idea behind No Sleep was hatched during Jake's deployment in the Air Force back in 2019. When he started reading books and watching videos on roasting, in anticipation of founding a coffee company in the future.
Anytime he had an idea for the brand, Jake wrote it down in his notebook. But he kept waking up in the middle of the night with these ideas. And losing sleep. Which is when it dawned on him that the company should be called No Sleep.
He founded the company in September 2020 when he was still active in the military. Roasting green beans on a Hottop 2K Roaster in his garage. Where each bag took 45 minutes to make.
And who were his first customers? Military pals stationed across the country. Even overseas in Japan. "People move around all the time in the military," explains Jake.
Much has happened in the two and a half years since. With No Sleep having scaled its production on a Loring S15 at a shared roasting facility. Expanding its product line to offer some of the most popular lifestyle merchandise in the coffee-verse. While experiencing its biggest year of growth in 2023.
But it took a lot of sleepless nights to get to this point. Jake explains: "If you really want something, you’re going to lose sleep over it. I lost hours and hours of sleep just to fulfill orders. Because it’s what I really wanted to do."
Like many roasters, Jake has his sights on opening up his own café where he can roast his coffees. Something that he admits he will continue to lose his sleep over.
And what is his advice for people who are thinking about starting their own coffee business?
"It’s possible to start small and grow. Don’t let finances stop you. You can start with what you have. You don’t need a huge SBA loan to get started. It just takes time."
Today, we're pleased to partner with No Sleep for the second time to offer up their Ambition Blend on our marketplace.
We like to call this one ambition in a cup 🏋🏽♂️ ☕️
It's a full-bodied blend that's been crafted to source the drive and resilience within you. To help you power through any challenge or obstacle in your work. Each and every day.
Balanced notes of dark cherry, lemon, and almond will keep you grounded. And sharpen your focus. So you may never tire on your dreams.
50/50 Blend (Guatemala Huehuetenango/Brazil Mata de Minas).
👉 If you place your order by the end of Sunday, April 16, you'll be entered into a drawing where one lucky customer will be selected at random to receive a No Sleep Dad Hat (see second photo above).
After all, it's important to look cool. Especially when you're crushing it 😎
No Sleep roasts on Monday and Tuesday, and ships on Wednesday and Friday.
Arches - Colombia Natural by Park Pass Coffee
Ethiopia Belayneh Bariso by Elm Coffee Roasters (free shipping)
Chiapas, Mexico Medium Roast by Others Coffee
La Favorita by Good Citizen Coffee Co.
Rocky Mountain Blend by Park Pass Coffee
Don Eli - Miramar by Loveless Coffees
Sumatra, Kerinci by Tanbrown Coffee
Sip & Connect: Estellar Coffee & Lucia Bawot (tickets $5)
Culver City - exact location revealed upon ticket purchase
Tuesday, April 25 (6 - 8pm)
Boris & Horton, 195 Avenue A
Saturday, April 15 (8am - 8pm)
Bring Them to Nationals Fundraiser (tickets $25)
Academy at Coffee Project NY, 21-10 51st Avenue, Queens, NY
Sunday, April 16 (10am)
Coffee Cupping with Nikolai (free; donations encouraged)
Principles GI Coffee House, 139 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY
Sunday, April 16 (11am - 12:30pm)
Buckman Coffee Factory, 1105 SE Main Street
Thursday, April 20 (2 - 5pm)
Celebrating Women in Coffee (tickets $5)
Costa Oro International, 4825 NE 185th Drive
Saturday, April 22 (4 - 6pm)
Portland Cà Phê, 2601 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Saturday, April 22 (7 - 10pm)
Do you have an upcoming coffee event in any of these cities? If you do, reply back to this email and let me know! We're aiming to connect our readers to events happening in major cities across the country.
Tastings, latte art throwdowns, coffee shop openings. And other events that promote specialty coffee and provide opportunities for learning.
Would love to help all of you connect with each other through future newsletters. So reach out and let me know what you're working on!
SPECIALTY COFFEE EXPO (SCA)
The Specialty Coffee Expo is happening next week in Portland (April 21-23), and I'll be in attendance for the very first time!
This is the largest specialty coffee trade show in North America, and I'm looking forward to seeing many friends and making new ones as well.
If you're subscribed to the newsletter and want to connect, I'd love to hear from you. So please don't be shy and reach out!
Our Referral Program
Due to the popularity of our recent promotion with BrewSleepDraw, we've decided to partner up again to offer a Hot Coffee Sticker to the first five people who refer 3 of their friends!
If this is the first time you've encountered our Referral Program, please see the following directions on how to make a referral:
We’re on a mission to amplify small roasters all over the country.
By sharing the link below with your friends, co-workers, and loved ones (and getting them to sign up for this newsletter), you’ll help us get there much sooner 🙏
You can share the link via email 📬, on Instagram 📸, or using your favorite messaging apps 🤖 like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Discord. Just to name a few ways.
As a thank you, we’ll reward you with gifts, perks, and privileges based on the number of referrals you make.
To see what rewards you can get, hit the button "Click to Share" below 👇️
Note: Each person has a unique link embedded in this newsletter. Meaning that sign-ups will always get attributed to the right person.
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