Celebrating a Successful 2019

December 21, 2023 (Published: February 12, 2020)
Brandon Bir with Coffee Farmers in Uganda

Crimson Cup continued to expand, innovate and cultivate communities at home and abroad in 2019. Continuing growth fueled $130,000 in community giving in Columbus and coffee-growing communities around the globe.

Brandon Bir with Coffee Farmers in Uganda

“We believe small companies like Crimson Cup can do big things when we partner with our cuppers, customers and suppliers,” said Founder and President Greg Ubert. “We intensify our impact by living our motto of Coffee+Community in everything we do.”

In central Ohio, we supported Cancer Support Community Central Ohio, See Kids Dream and other non-profits. Over 60 farming relationships spread our impact in coffee communities abroad.

A year focused on growth fueled our ability to give back. Among other honors, our award-winning coffees brought home their second national coffee championship in five years. 

We launched new ready-to-drink products, broke ground on a new retail flagship location and expanded meaningful relationships with coffee farmers and independent coffee house owners.

“Our successes in 2019 set the stage for a stellar 2020,” said Founder and President Greg Ubert. “From winning awards and launching new products to designing our new Crimson retail flagship – which will open at Easton Town Center this spring – we have a lot to celebrate!

“Our team of cuppers also traveled over 100,000 miles to enlarge our impact in the coffee-farming world,” he added. “Deep, ongoing relationships with coffee farmers help us support a sustainable future for coffee and our company.”

Crimson Cup became the number-one Small Franchise/Chain Roaster at Golden Bean North America – the world’s largest coffee competition. Our Ethiopian Kossa Kebena coffee became a finalist for a 2020 Good Food Award (and later won). We earned our first national championship in 2016 as Roast magazine’s Macro Roaster of the Year.

Focused on innovation, we introduced new ready-to-drink canned cold brew and chilled latte products. In April, Crimson Cup Canned Cold Brew hit Ohio coffee houses and specialty grocers. Made with direct trade Guatemalan Antigua coffee, the smooth, sustainably sourced drink became a best-seller.

September saw the launch of Crimson Cup Mocha, Latte and New Orleans ready-to-drink chilled beverages. The drinks combine sustainably sourced specialty coffee, local milk from Arps Dairy, Inc. and other simple ingredients. 

We roasted over 600,000 pounds of coffee in 2019. To meet increased demand, we added a new custom Probat R-23 drum roaster named The Kracken to our 20,000-square-foot roasting facility.

In August, we broke ground on a new flagship retail concept, Crimson. Opening Spring 2020 as part of the Easton Town Center expansion, the new coffee house will feature distinctive coffees and teas, innovative drink recipes and compelling stories from coffee growers.

Greg credits our ongoing success to strong relationships with coffee house owners and coffee farmers.

“In the 90s, we began helping entrepreneurs become successful coffee shop owners,” he said. “I wrote a book called Seven Steps to Success in the Specialty Coffee Industry that became the foundation of our coffee franchise alternative program.”

Crimson Cup provides everything business owners need to open a coffee shop. More than a class, the program includes hands-on consulting on everything from writing a coffee shop business plan to barista training.

In 2019, our coffee education team provided hands-on training for over 200 coffee house owners, baristas and coffee connoisseurs.

We supported growth of independent coffee shops in 13 states, including a third location for Corporal Ray’s Coffee in Midland, Texas.

“Awesome coffee is the most important dynamic in running a successful coffee shop – and awesome coffee starts with farmer relationships,” Greg said.

Our coffee experts, called “cuppers,” traveled over 100,000 miles to foster meaningful relationships with coffee farmers last year.

On one trip, they led owners and staff from six independent coffee houses on a seed-to-cup exploration of coffee in the Siguatepeque region of Honduras.

“Our goal was to strengthen the relationship between coffee growers, Crimson Cup and our customers,” said Crimson Cup Coffee Buyer Dave Eldridge, who led the trip. “It was an incredible experience for everyone involved.”

Since 2012, we have made economic, environmental and social impacts in farming communities through our Friend2Farmer direct trade program.

“I’m thrilled that our direct trade purchases increased by over 50 percent last year,” said Director of Sustainability Brandon Bir. “The growth came via new relationships in Colombia and Uganda.”

Through Friend2Farmer, we pay an above-market price for coffee. This helps farmers pursue more profitable and sustainable harvests. As a result, they can invest in their communities.

Crimson Cup has fostered over 60 relationships to create long-term impact. We have helped to build new homes, paid for teachers and school supplies, funded construction of a community center and distributed water filtration devices, among other projects.

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