As the name suggests, DRINK COFFEE DO STUFF is not a passive participant in the coffee world. Actively developing meaningful partnerships at origin, while focusing on sustainability, community, culture, craft, and conscious capitalism, this Lake Tahoe roaster gets it done on a daily basis. We sat down with DRINK COFFEE DO STUFF to see just how they do it.
What is DRINK COFFEE DO STUFF's approach to sourcing?
"I’ll never forget bidding for the final bags of a certain 90+ coffee against a very recognizable specialty coffee roaster when we first launched DRINK COFFEE DO STUFF — and the epiphany that all of us to one degree or another are buying and selling the same coffees.
It put industry branding, marketing, and storytelling in an honest place. Rather than touting that we are globe trotters or glorified farmers ourselves for PR spin, the truth is as our company has grown we work intimately with producers that we’ve developed partnerships with. Often times our partnerships are not built on anything else than coffee camaraderie, shared culture, and conscious capitalism.
Specialty coffee is typically grown at 5200 plus feet, in mountainous regions around the world and we roast at 6000 feet in the Sierra Nevada; we often connect with producers on shared experiences of living in the mountains, climate change impacts on our communities, and how to best build win/win profit centers through coffee that provide sustainability for our people.
While we have learned from farmers across the globe, we don’t pretend to be them ourselves. We are coffee roasters who source extraordinary specialty coffees from extraordinary growers and make sure both parties are benefiting from the arrangement. So, how do we approach sourcing? Not with press relationships in mind, but with real relationships in hand."
Tell us about Lake Tahoe's local coffee scene.
"It’s seven am and the sun rises over the mountains in July as our parking lot fills with adventurous types from all over. In thier trucks are bikes, kayaks, and hiking gear — and sometimes a trailered boat ready for a Lake Tahoe wake surfing session.
Or perhaps its 16 degrees in January and the same scene exists with skis, snowboards, and kids overjoyed at the sight of snow.
The San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, and Reno all converge in Lake Tahoe, California and we are ready to fuel them up for thier next adventure. Likewise, we have about 40,000 full-time residents in North Tahoe/Truckee.
Our coffee shops are full of tall tales and pro athletes inspiring the next generation. Specialty coffee isn’t found in a roast degree, hip metropolitan shops, or hidden mountain towns like ours, it's found in people devoted to excellence in everything they do. We believe in excellence and serve it up daily with a dose of stoke to keep our guests caffeinated and killing it however they see fit!"
Where did the name DRINK COFFEE DO STUFF come from?
"Ha, great question! If you’d asked me this in 2012 I’d never had thought I’d own a coffee company named DRINK COFFEE DO STUFF in years to come. I snowboarded professionally in my 20s and had a bunch of Europe-based sponsors. Every year in the fall, I’d go on tour in the Alps and could often be found on the Saas-Fee glacier in Switzerland.
Perched atop the glacier at nearly 14,000 feet is one of the highest cafés and our days went something like this: espresso, snowboard, cappuccino, snowboard, so on a so forth. We'd literally drink coffee and do stuff everyday all day. So caffeinated!
I wasn’t into coffee and definitely not specialty coffee back then, but became obsessed with the Alps’ coffee culture and how it was a fuel source for outdoor active lifestyle.
Fast forward to 2017 after years of transitioning from pro snowboarding to coffee roaster and we launched DRINK COFFEE DO STUFF. Now 2021, here we are doing the same thing I was doing in 2012: drinking coffee and doing stuff. And inviting you to join!"
Tell us about your team.
"Our team is so sick! Shout out to my two partners, Laura Visconti and Brad Farmer. My wife (Laura) and great friend (Brad) have been at it from the beginning with me. In fact, Brad was a big wig in the winter outdoor world and one of my first main sponsors.
Laura, Brad, and I make an incredible team and have all fallen into our respective roles with our skillsets: myself as CEO, Brad as COO and Laura as Chief Creative Director. Love them! Our team has grown to 24 people and we are all characters — we are full of life, stories, and caffeine that makes for a wild ride! Need a mental picture? Hit a quick google search of Hot Dog… The Movie and we are pretty much the box cover!"
How does DRINK COFFEE DO STUFF name its blends?
"Each coffee represents a feeling or a moment in our lives that we all live for!
Hell Yeah! is that exclamatory moment when you reached the top of a mountain, find yourself cruising backcountry roads on your motorcycle, or accomplish a goal reminding you that you’re a badass!
Bark At The Moon incapsulate that feeling of waking up at dawn for your first cup and you can still see the faint glow of the moon.
Party Wave is a reminder of your wanderlust sprit and the great memories we all long to create — at the beach, in the mountains, or cruising exotic streets when traveling somewhere new.
Tips Up Tahoe is a fun ski reference to make sure you have enough coffee so you don’t crash and burn that that day.
And Hot Shot Espresso is a double entendre as espresso is actually a hot shot and everything you need to feel like one!"
How does your snowboarding background influence the way you do things?
"Snowboarding highly influences how we own and operate DRINK COFFEE DO STUFF. How is probably best described in a few practical examples:
I used to pretty much fall off buildings and tumble down cliffs for living, until I’d land the trick! This taught me that excellence isn’t solely achieved once, but pursued always. Daily, we aim for the most rigorous quality control and customer service in our roastery and coffee shops.
In addition, while my snowboarding career was a dream come true, it didn’t just happen. We made it happen. It took so much dedication and support from my friends and family, brands, media, resorts, and also pain tolerance, (ha ha).
At DCDS we make it happen every day, not by any secret recipe for success, but by being fully committed to the day in, day out grind and grit it takes do do something over and over again.
In retrospect, one of the most rewarding experiences of my snowboarding career was simply snowboarding every day and inspiring others to do so when they had the opportunity. Similarly, its so rad to roast and brew coffee every day providing extraordinary cups to our customers and hopefully empowering the life that comes after them."
What are you most excited about right now?
"It’s hard to know where the caffeine ends and the excitement begin, maybe they're one in the same? We’re stoked on a few things right now for sure. Firstly, our new Trade partnership, obviously! Secondly, our Good Food Award-winning natural processed Ethiopia Guji Hambela Wamena coming back on the menu after two years of civil turmoil in Ethiopia. Lastly, keeping you caffeinated and hearing where DCDS coffee takes you this summer. Can we get a Hell Yeah!?"
— Nick Visconti, Founder & Caffeine Fiend, DRINK COFFEE DO STUFF | Lake Tahoe, California