Community Stories: Cavan Coffee

Posted on Friday, January 29th, 2021

Written by The John F. Wood Centre For Business and Student Enterprise

Cavan Coffee was created by three brothers who love, really like coffee. They approach coffee from a scientific perspective. They monitor their water, develop precise brew methodology for all types of preparation of coffee and tea. 
They offer a wide range of coffee and tea making paraphernalia and sell a myriad coffee beans and tea. Any item they sell they can teach you the proper methodology for usage and would be happy to do a demo. They also carry an array of carefully curated baked goods which include both gluten free and vegan options.

What inspired you to start your business?

I have loved good coffee since the first time I had a cup of it when I was 13. At that time specialty coffee wasn't really a popular thing so good coffee shops were few and far between. When I was 14 years old, the owner of my favourite coffee shop was moving away and selling the coffee roaster that he used to roast all the coffee for his shop. This was the first time that I considered being a coffee roaster. But for a 14 year old, coming up with thousands of dollars to buy a coffee roaster is no easy feat, so I forgot about that temporarily. I went on to work many jobs that I didn't like.  When I discovered that to me one of the most important things in a job was ethics, that guided me right back to specialty coffee - where ethics have always been at the forefront. I got hired at a place called Planet Bean where I worked as a coffee roaster for years. They had a very strong ethical stance which I liked. But after 10 years of working with coffee, I saw holes in the ethics of Fair Trade Certifications. I also personally felt like the company wasn't willing to pivot with the industry fast enough and that made working frustrating for me as I am a person who gets things done quickly. I knew there was a way to treat farmers with more dignity and to be more dexterous in how the business runs so, I left there to start my own business with my brothers who share a passion for coffee.

What helps you to keep generating you new ideas to grow or change your business?

Never being satisfied with things I have done in the past, I am constantly working to be better and better. There is a lot of science behind the roasting of coffee, but there are also times where you have to leave any assumptions behind to create something interesting.  
A lot of ideas become apparent as you run a business. Listening to customers and industry trends is key. If you are able to hear people's needs and work on creative solutions that fit your businesses ideals, you can grow and change organically.

What’s a piece of advice you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

If you want to run a business, just go for it. Always take risks. Pay your employees well and set your prices to reflect this from the start. It is hard to give raises to people when you are starting up, so set your wage to a good point so you can have great people working for you. Our employees receive $18-20 per hour after tips and because of this, we have only had 2 employees leave to do other things since we opened. Remember, that although part of running a business is delivering a unique product, a big part of your business is providing people a wage and I personally believe that you can never forget that. Never pay minimum wage. Treat everyone in your entire supply chain with respect, it will improve everything about your business.
To try their coffee and baked goods check out their online store:

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