Wesley Andrews Coffee: Slow Goods to Complement Conversation

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Wesley Andrews Coffee Cafe

For Wesley Andrews’ Coffee, what started as a love for hot drinks during the cold Minneapolis winters has turned into a community around their café in the Whittier neighborhood—and beyond. In 2014 they expanded into roasting with the same aim: to help the places that serve their coffee build community through intentional coffee, and conversation.

We sat down with Wesley Andrews owner, Jared Thompson, to talk about their story and coffee, and highlight why we are excited to partner with them.

(This interview was edited for brevity/clarity.)


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Wesley Andrews Wholesale Coffee

A lot of coffee companies say they have ethically sourced, freshly roasted coffee beans. What’s different about your coffee?

I do often say that any roasting company that says they are doing things totally different from everyone else is not being honest. There isn’t any proprietary information about how to roast coffee in a far superior way to everyone else. What I believe sets coffee companies apart is their dedication to the craft, and a willingness to constantly be learning more from the coffee. We like to say that we take a very “artistic” approach to coffee at Wesley Andrews. While understanding the science of how coffee roasting and brewing works is essential to make good coffee, we believe that what sets apart good coffee from great coffee is constant testing and adjustments that seek to find the best artistic expression of each flavor profile.

Practically, this looks like us tasting a sample of every batch of coffee we roast before it is sent out and having a weekly discussion about what to adjust on our profiles based on the changes we are tasting over time.

That artistic approach of constant iteration in the roast development process, plus our commitment to only paying ethical prices for coffees, are the two biggest factors of what sets our coffee flavor apart. Are there other companies doing those things? Definitely. However, I do believe it is more rare than you think to find companies that are prioritizing both of those as consistently as we are.


Do you have any relevant certifications or sustainability initiatives worth mentioning?

We always have a focus on ensuring sustainable practices throughout our supply chain, prioritizing fair compensation for workers. We decided early on not to pursue certifications like Fair Trade due to the coffee-price standards they set being a bit too low. Instead we provide transparency through our website's Transparency section, where we detail our costs, including what we pay for our coffees compared to FairTrade and C market prices. We consistently pay triple the FairTrade price for our lowest priced coffees. This approach reflects our ongoing commitment to sustainability and transparency, although it admittedly does lack external oversight and structural change. Which is why we are always working on new ways to be more transparent and learn more about the nuances of the supply chain we are a part of. We firmly believe that the way we source coffee right now will be different than how we are doing it in a couple of years. Constantly learning and improving this area of the industry is a huge passion for us. 

Additionally, our Director of Coffee, Jared, is a certified Q grader. The Q grader certification was designed to create a global shared language around coffee quality and flavor, with the goal of offering an alternative to the C market system. By certifying Q graders to set a point score on the quality of flavor of a coffee, the Q system aims to improve pricing, rewarding farmers for their efforts in producing better coffee.


Anything exciting on the horizon?

We have so many exciting things on the horizon. Lots of expansion happening, a big part of that due to ESI/Intermix helping us grow into accounts that they can offer support to at a high level. We’re truly so excited about the incredible restaurants and businesses we are working with now because of Intermix. This next phase of growth is defined by us looking to find strategic partners to whom we can offer our expertise, and combining it with the expertise of others to create new concepts.

Wesley Andrews Cafe Interior

What’s the easiest thing someone can do at home to elevate their morning coffee?

Number one: Always to use high-quality beans. Number two: Use a scale to measure coffee. Number three: Grind fresh before making.

Once you have those three things in place, our biggest recommendation is to keep a log of what recipes you have used and take notes on whether you liked that cup of coffee or not. We are big fans of collecting data and iterating. Basically, the more nerdy you can get about the flavor, the better your coffee will be.


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