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Coffee X People: Meet Joel, Co-founder of Stori Coffee

Posted by Stori Coffee on
Coffee X People: Meet Joel, Co-founder of Stori Coffee

Why did you choose to start Stori Coffee?

Before Arthur, while I had many great memories around coffee, I didn’t know anything about where it came from or who grew it. My friends started making me coffee in college, and I have many fond memories of great coffee and good times with them. Coffee with Arthur has both broadened and deepened my relationship with coffee and people. When we lived in the same city, Arthur and I used to visit different coffee shops for all our work meetings, and he’d teach me about how the origin, processing method, and roasting profile all contributed to the final flavor. He taught me that coffee farmers grow all the flavor into coffee and how our job is to preserve and highlight it. Now I get more out of each cup as I learn to pair and brew coffee, but also reflect on farmer's craft. It is a fun game to find the flavors the farmers have preserved in each bean.

Image of Joel with writing that reads " Creative optimist: the obstacle is the way"

What do you do at Stori Coffee?


“The entrepreneur shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield.”  - Jean-Baptiste Say

I currently lead our digital and business strategy. As an entrepreneur, I look for ways we can improve our offering and costs while serving quality coffee and delightful experiences. These improvements allow us to keep our commitment to helping farmers secure their economic future. They also allow us to provide exceptional coffee experiences for our customers, through sharing how to brew and pair coffee with food, about traceability data, and most of all about coffee farmers.

Joel and Rachelle

What does Coffee x People mean to you? 

Without a continued change, small family farmers, who grow 80% of the world's specialty coffee, will stop growing coffee. And while the loss of the specialty supply chain would be sad, the devastation to countries and family farmers would be fatal.

I, like others, want to see coffee to turn from being a "commodity" into a resource for the people who grow it. At Stori, we care deeply about the farmers we work with. First and foremost, we are committed to paying them fairly and on time. Those simple things allows farmers to improve the quality of their coffee and lives. This may sound logical, but it is far from the norm in the coffee industry today.

To me, coffee x people is a reminder that we can all make a difference. And while coffee and people have both rich and troubled histories, our histories may describe us, but don’t define us. It’s what we can now do, together, which will make us better moving forward.

What's your other job? 

I lead the brand and marketing strategy at a software engineering consultancy for retailers. Using technology to automate key processes and bring critical analytics to everyone’s fingertips.

What do you do for fun? 

Traveling with Rachelle to ancient cities and wonderful beaches, making pizza with & for friends, reading about leadership, business, and communication, golfing nine to thirteen holes, and summers in Seattle.

Joel, Ryan, and Arthur enjoying coffee

What's your favorite coffee beverage?

Cold brew and pour over. To say I’ve been learning a lot about the flavors of coffee that are grown into each bean and brought out in brewing is an understatement. I enjoy learning how to get the most out of each bean and brew and picking up brewing tips and tricks to help me pair coffee with various foods from Arthur.

What was your first experience with coffee? 

My first first memory with coffee was when my grandma would drink it, while we had our cereal for breakfast.

But my first time drinking it must have been in college when all my roommates worked as baristas at various cafes in Seattle. They were excited to learn how to brew and make drinks, and I did not have many preferences, so I was a good tester.

Other early experiences with coffee were more about hanging out with friends in a parking lot, while they finished their shifts. But after college, I really enjoyed working from coffee shops, reading and writing. Sometimes with friends, many times for hours.

What is missing from the industry that you’re trying to change? That if you had a way to change it you would?

The second wave of coffee really brought me and my friends together. And the third wave helped many of my friends make a living and find a hobby. I’m excited for the fourth wave of coffee where we learn more about the farmers.

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