From Austin, Texas comes Cuvée, a globally focused roaster with a bigger-is-better attitude.
What started as a hobby between friends became a lifelong passion for Cuvée's founder Mike McKim.
How did Cuvée get started roasting?
“My Uncle Carl Staub from Agtron introduced me and my high school friend Patrick to coffee roasting when we visited him while skiing in Tahoe. I was immediately enamored with the craft of roasting, so we bought a 10 kilogram roaster and began roasting our own coffee. We started selling the coffee to friends and family and the rest is history.”
Why the name Cuvée?
“When Patrick and I started the roasting business, it had a different name. We offered one blend formulated for espresso and called it Espresso Cuvée. When we parted ways, I changed the name of the company to Cuvée Coffee. The inspiration for the name came from Champagne houses where they made their Cuvée from the best grapes in the vineyard and often used only the juice from the first press, making it their ultra-premium Champagne.”
What has been the biggest change over 20 years in coffee?
“I've seen both a lot of change and a lot of the same over the past 20 years. The industry spotlight has gone from shining on the roaster to the farmer to the barista. As far as the coffee itself goes, the trends seem to repeat themselves every 10 to 12 years, going from dark roasts to blends to super- light roasts to single origins and now the industry is trending back to more developed coffee and the art of blending. Equipment-technology has advanced dramatically over the past 20 years, but I think the biggest change currently is the massive explosion of cold brew.”
Tell us about your cold brew facility.
“We like to call it our Cold Brewery and it is nothing short of spectacular. This facility makes some craft beer brewers green with envy. Everything is state-of-the-art and designed with expansion in mind.”
What sustainability initiatives has Cuvee undertaken?
“Starting with sourcing, we choose to work with farms and farmers who have a solid sustainability model. In our own backyard, we do all we can, from water conservation to recycling to sending our spent grains from the Cold Brewery to local farmers for composting. In 2011, we had some devastating fires that caused major damage in our community and local farms. One local farmer credits the tons of spent coffee to bringing his land back to life. Now, his property boasts acres of organic produce, zip line tours, and a herd of bison.”
Where do you see Cuvée in the next five years?
“We have worked really hard to make Cuvée open and approachable to everyone which is not always easy. Coffee can often be intimidating and I see Cuvée as the most consumer-friendly brand of premium coffee in the next five years.”
—Mike McKim, Founder and CEO of Cuvée Coffee