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A Year of Brew-Review

by Josh Lindstrom on

Happy New from all of us at Fika Coffee to all of you in the coffee drinking world!

We figure there's no better way to start the new year than by taking stock of what 2015 brought and contemplating what we hope 2016 will bring.

So without further ado, here's a handful of highlights (and a few lessons learned) of the year gone by:

This summer, our first pallet of coffee was delivered to the FIKA roaster.  To some, these may not seem like a big deal but to us, it's huge.  For comparison, remember that in our early years we were buying a single bag of coffee at a time (150 pound bags) from our distributor in the Twin Cities and having it delivered in whatever friendly station wagon happened to be coming up our way.  In 2015, our coffee was delivered in a semi, 1800 pounds at a time!  Don't think we were above elation when the lift gate lowered our first pallet down from the bed of the truck.  And because throwing numbers around is fun, we'll just mention that we roasted 7,412 pounds of coffee in 2015!  That's 143 pounds a week, a number we're rather proud of.

 

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While the increase in demand for our coffee has been exactly what we've aimed for, it hasn't come without trial.  Because we've grown, we've brought more coffee types on board.  Where we were once roasting only two coffee varieties, the close of 2015 saw us roasting eight, including our popular Dark Roast.  There are days we feel like a jack of all coffees and a master of none, but we're learning and we're not complaining!

The purchase of an espresso machine meant we were able to offer a variety of interesting coffee beverages to customers at the Cook County Farmer's Market and special town events like Fisherman's Picnic, Radio Waves, the Lutsen 99er and the Grand Marais Art Festival.

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Another big highlight of 2015 was signing wholesale accounts with two prominent businesses in Minnesota.  Naniboujou Lodge & Restaurant started serving our coffee in May and has since become our biggest wholesale account.  Their customer feedback has been great and we hope to continue being their sole coffee roaster.  Butter Bakery in Minneapolis started brewing our coffee near the end of the year.  We couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of their incredible coffee line-up.

Strange as it may sound after reading that last paragraph, 2016 will likely see us putting less energy toward pursuing wholesale accounts.  Because wholesale accounts are a lot of work for little return, we've realized its best to focus on other areas of our business, allowing interested restaurants and businesses to approach us with their desire for our coffee rather than Fika going out and trying to convince people to brew our coffee.  If a business comes to you, there more than likely to stay with you and that, in the long run, is better for business.

That brings us to 2016.  We see our business model as a three-legged stool with wholesale accounts, on-line sales and retail business being the three legs.  As anyone who's ever sat on a stool with a missing leg knows, you really need all three legs if you're going to have a successful sit (or in our case, a successful business).  Our on-line sales have been great, with added merchandise like our Fika T-shirts, a cookbook and our coffee canteens.  As stated above, wholesale accounts are in full swing.  And our retail space...well, we're hoping 2016 will be the year of the Fika storefront!

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While we can't promise this will happen (though things are looking good), we know that by the end of 2016, if we don't have a storefront, we will have a firm plan in place for it.  Stay tuned and when we're up and running, stop by and have a cup of freshly brewed Fika.  We promise all of our chairs will have the necessary number of legs for pleasant sitting.

And last but not least, we hope 2016 will allow us a visit to one of our coffee farmers in Guatemala.  El Aguacatal is the farm where our newest roast, La Linea, is grown and processed.  We feel very strongly about deepening the relationship between roaster and farmer and believe a visit to the farm of origin is an excellent way to do this.

2015 was a great year.  Thanks to all of you, our customers, for coming along side us in this grand adventure.  We hope you'll stay close by and help us make 2016 even better.

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