There are nearly 100 coffee roasters across the state of Minnesota, making for a standout and strong caffeine community. Although the coronavirus outbreak has reshaped how we support our favorite local coffee spots, Jordan Carr, Joe McAdams and Blaire Molitor have crafted a solution with Winnow MN. This monthly coffee subscription service delivers coffee from independent Minnesota roasters right to your front door. Here, the team chats about the roots of their business, the importance of supporting local and more.
What inspired you to start Winnow?
Like a lot of people, I think we were in a bit of a quarantine rut. We realized we were leaving the house less and, in turn, trying fewer new things than we would have under normal circumstances. We were ordering all sorts of things online and trying our best to have these deliveries be local, which is often easier said than done. We started to research local coffee roasters and came to find nearly 100 independent roasters across the state. From there, it clicked. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to create a system to introduce people to delicious coffee they may have otherwise never found while supporting the local businesses that make up our communities.
How do you select each roaster?
We select each roaster based on its story, roasting methods, sustainable sourcing, branding and, most importantly, the attention to detail that defines every cup.
Do you have a favorite roaster at the moment?
That’s a tough question because there are so many to choose from. Loxley Coffee and Underwood were two of our first roasters, and they both have a tremendous commitment to quality and sustainability. But we have so many coffees to try, which is a great problem to have.
What can subscribers expect after signing up?
When you subscribe to Winnow, you will get a fresh 12-ounce bag of beans from a different Minnesota roaster delivered to your door each month. We have three-, six- and 12-month gifting options available, which are great for yourself or the coffee lover in your life.
What makes Winnow’s subscription box different from others?
The emphasis for us is our hand selection process. We aren’t just randomly putting things in a box. We are developing relationships with the roasters to discover the best of what they have to offer, which often means sampling many different roasts to see which one is the best fit for Winnow.
And it’s a subscription you can feel good about. Some of these roasters are from really small towns, and extending the reach of their unique roasts to customers across the state is something that may have never happened otherwise.
What does the future of Winnow look like?
Adding additional Minnesota-made products to the boxes seems like a natural evolution. There are so many amazing small businesses creating delicious things, and we think we can continue to provide a convenient way for people to try more of them. We’ve also come to really appreciate how important simple tools like coffee grinders are, and there may be an opportunity to begin to offer specialty coffee items as well.
Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
The No. 1 thing is to be passionate about the product or service yourself. If you don’t believe in it, why would anyone else? Figure out what sets you apart and what need you’re filling — and don’t play it too safe. With Winnow, we started with friends and family, and a roaster we knew well to get our feet wet. We received positive feedback and grew from there. You can always fail, learn and move onto something else. Also, find a great photographer.