How to Build the Best Coffee Brand

Updated January 29, 2024

How to Build the Best Coffee Brand

Are you an entrepreneur, or a team of entrepreneurs, looking to build your own coffee brand? We get it, setting up a business is daunting, regardless of whether or not you already have experience in the entrepreneurial world. When it comes to coffee, with so many brands entering the market it may be hard to know where to begin, let alone carve out a niche that will set you apart from the rest. 

The good news is you’re not alone! Here at Those Coffee People,  we are primarily a sustainable-focused company that sources beans from Colombian coffee producers and exports them wholesale to coffee brands around the world. But we also use our expertise and experience to provide consultancy for up-and-coming coffee companies, teaching them the best practices they need in order to succeed.

So, pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit back and relax as we talk you through our version of how to build the best coffee brand. 

Examples of the Best Coffee Brands

We believe that defining the “best” of anything is subjective. While some coffee connoisseurs might prioritize coffee brands that sell strictly single origin coffee as opposed to blends, others might have a preference for coffee brands that sell a range of different coffee processes, including special processed beans that can’t be found in your average coffee shop.

Here at Those Coffee People, our idea of the best coffee brands are coffee companies that meet the following golden rules:

  1. Know Your Audience: We respect coffee brands that get to know their target market. What are your customers’ passions, other than coffee? They might be people who love adventure, travel, or the outdoors, as well as enjoying a delicious cup of coffee (or two, or three…) a day! As a brand, conduct your market research and learn what resonates with your target market, and you can then reflect this in your branding and product.
  2. Sustainable Brands: It’s no secret that climate change is affecting coffee farming: extreme weather phenomena are driving the price of coffee up exponentially and putting farmlands at risk across the word. For this reason, we love to support coffee brands practicing sustainability in their coffee farming, from farm management and monitoring water use, to soil protection and deforestation prevention. A few ways coffee brands can be sustainable include practicing agroforestry, or planting “shade trees” — trees for coffee to grow under — which help absorb carbon dioxide, reduce erosion, and enrich the soil. Others include stable practices such as practicing sustainable forms of coffee milling together with other coffee farms and therefore reducing water wastage.
  3. Ethical Brands: One of our priorities here at Those Coffee People is treating coffee farmers and those who work on coffee farms with the respect they deserve. We advocate for brands that pay their farmers and workhands fairly and give them work benefits like social security and a pension, brands that prohibit child labor, and that practice occupational safety for farmers doing their jobs. 
  4. Single Origin Coffee: We like to support coffee brands that sell single origin coffee. Some of the highest quality coffee comes from one single origin, as this type of coffee allows drinkers to detect the different characteristics of where the coffee has been grown. To us, this is one of the best ways a coffee brand can tell its story: more on this later.
  5. Brands that invest in the next generation: Coffee farming in Colombia has been a family affair for generations. Even now, coffee farms are family run and it’s not uncommon to see different members of the same family working in different areas of the farm, often continuing to honor a legacy of coffee farming that has existed for decades. We love that coffee farmers in Colombia pass down their craft to the next generation, and we like to support brains who train young people and help ensure they can access employment in rural areas.

Colombian Coffee Brands to Learn From

It would be almost impossible for us to write about Colombian coffee brands without mentioning the iconic Juan Valdez. Now an international chain of coffee shops, Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC) actually invented this fictional character in the 1950s. 

The idea was to honor the archetypal, humble Colombian coffee farmer, hard at work on the family coffee farm — one of the country’s more than 500,000 — producing the arabica beans we all know and love, often for little reward. Because of Colombia’s uniquely mountainous terrain, coffee-growing locations are often located on hillsides, meaning that the coffee picking must be done by hand instead of machines. The character of Juan Váldez was designed to honor this challenging, modest labor. Dressed in the traditional clothing of a typical Colombian countryman, Juan Váldez is depicted alongside his mule Conchita, the trusty colleague helping him toil the land. This marketing campaign was hugely successful in assigning a unique identity to Colombian coffee and making it stand out from the rest. 

Off the back of this success, in 2002, the FNC established Juan Váldez Café as their official coffee brand. Nowadays, it is a multinational coffee chain, boasting almost 400 stores across 16 different countries. 

There are also several notable, smaller scale Colombian coffee brands worth following, who also just happen to be our allies here at our base in the city of Medellín. A particularly brilliant brand to check out is Rituales, which aside from being a cute coffee shop, actually controls the whole coffee supply chain, sources beans, roasts them, and brews them, all the way from farm to cup. It encompasses Proyecto Renacer, which grows and processes the beans. They are then roasted by La Fábrica, a Medellín-based coffee collective that takes charge of the roasting process, producing light roasts, dark roasts, and everything in between. Finally, the coffee is brewed and served at Rituales Café, in Medellín’s leafy Laureles neighborhood. 

Not only is Colombia home to specialty coffee brands across the country, but its high quality, specialty coffee is white labeled and exported to Those Coffee People clients in the US and Canada. Some notable emerging coffee businesses on this side of the world to follow include: 

  • Pure Joy Coffee: Based in New York City, this coffee brand promotes inner wellness through moments of mindfulness, paired with different types of coffee. 
  • Top Sail Coffee: This Canadian brand sells artisanal, sustainably-produced coffee for all. Top Sail sells our Paula Concha 20 Brix coffee, which is produced on a farm that supports gender equality in coffee farming — perfect for the socially conscious consumer. 
  • Calma Coffee Solutions: Besides selling amazing coffee, this brand also works to provide wholesale solutions to elevate the B2B coffee supply from coffee-producing countries such as Colombia.  
  • Remedee Coffee: This garage café in New Jersey micro-roasts batches of our direct trade Colombian coffee weekly and sells its customers a sip of summer all year round. This up-and-coming, young coffee brand specializes in flavored cold brews, with flavors ranging from coconut, to blood orange, lavender, and blueberry! Why not venture away from your typical French press americano or drip coffees and try something different. 

Looking for a green coffee supplier for your small business? We serve coffee shops, roasters, and retailers across the world. Order a sample pack here!

Coffee Branding Tips

Given that coffee is one of the few items that sits on our countertops in kitchens across the world, we can safely say that branding is one of the most important aspects to get right when it comes to selling coffee.

As with any trend, branding styles for coffee packaging tend to come in and out of fashion. 

Here are our top coffee branding trends to keep an eye out for in 2024: 

  1. Color Minimalism: We find that single, bold colors tend to work well when it comes to coffee branding. Choosing a color for your coffee brand in general is hugely important, as it tends to be one of the first things a customer thinks about when the brand name comes to mind. Of course, you’ll need to base your decision around the principles of color psychology to make sure you pick the right one, but remember, less is more! 
  2. Craftspersonship: We’ll keep this one short and sweet. Producing coffee is a craft. Make this clear with your branding!
  3. Sustainability: Customers in 2024 are looking to invest in brands that work with nature and not against it. Make your brand’s commitment to sustainability clear on its packaging and you’re bound to boost sales.
  4. Conscience: Speaking of customer preferences, market research has also shown that buyers are also choosing to invest their money in brands with an ethical conscience. If your brand provides a fair working environment for its employees, then this is something to shout about.  
  5. Story: Last but not least, perhaps one of the most important pointers for coffee branding is to tell your coffee’s story from farm to cup. As we’ve seen with brands like Juan Váldez, telling your customers about where your coffee comes from and the people involved in growing and producing it, sells!

Coffee Brand Names

When it comes to starting your coffee company you may find yourself thinking, what should I name my coffee brand? There’s no easy way around it and coming up with a name for your company can often be a long, drawn out process, but it’s always a rewarding one. 

First up, you’ll need to conduct extensive market research. It’s no use naming your coffee brand to find out further down the line that the name is too similar to another brand’s, and then landing yourself in legal trouble or having to change the name altogether. 

Once you’ve established what’s up for grabs, the next step of this process is creativity. You will need to be memorable in your target customers mind. Make sure you conduct a thorough brainstorm with your team, create a mood board if necessary, and put together a shortlist of potential names that you can seek feedback on before settling on the best one. 

If you know your brand well — it helps to have already defined your mission and purpose statement before you start thinking about names — then finding a name for it should come quite naturally. If you have a story to tell, consider a name that hints at it, without giving too much away. That’s what the rest of your branding is for, including the logo, which we’ll discuss next. 

Get ready to build your coffee brand! Order competitively-priced wholesale coffee beans directly from their Colombian origin and have them delivered on time, directly to your doorstep.

Coffee Brand Logo

A brand logo is hugely important for any business. Some consider it to be the very foundation of a brand’s identity. Along with the packaging, it’s one of the first things that customers’ eyes are drawn to when they are browsing which coffee products to buy at the grocery store or in coffee shops. 

But coffee packaging is not the only place where your brand’s logo will be visible. It will also be visible online, on social media platforms, on business cards, everywhere your business must have a presence in order to boost sales. 

Remember the advice we gave on naming your brand, about using it as a way to tell your brand’s story? Now consider how you can design your logo as a way of bringing your brand’s identity to life. 

You’ll want to consider font, color and, most importantly, messaging. You will need to consider if you would like to keep things simple and go for something that will stand the test of time, or take advantage of new trends and opportunities. Utilize tools available to help with your selections like Pantone’s color of the year that predicts the top colors for the upcoming year to help you build a relevant coffee brand for 2024. 

Remember, designing a brand logo is no mean feat. It requires an artistic eye, perhaps a graphic designer, as well as other professionals. But if this isn’t something your team has an eye for, this process can also be outsourced if necessary.

Branded Coffee Cups

Finally, we come to the physical packaging involved in a coffee brand: such as the cups your customers will be drinking out of. This is mostly applicable if your coffee brand is planning on opening up a coffee shop, where customers will be purchasing their beverages to drink in or take out, both hot and cold. But equally, if you’re planning on selling your coffee online, there will also be a chance to sell branded coffee mugs for those who enjoy coffees at home. 

In both cases, coffee cups or mugs are a key opportunity to continue to implicitly reflect your company’s brand message in its products. If your brand’s motto is one of sustainability, it’s no use serving coffee out of plastic cups, for example. 

However, the most important thing to get right with coffee cups are the practicalities. There’s nothing worse than ordering a cup of coffee to go and it going cold quickly because the cup is not properly insulated. The same goes for a branded mug, whose logo starts to rub off after a few rounds in the dishwasher. These problems can easily be solved by testing a few prototypes to achieve the perfect product. 

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Wrapping Up 

We hope this blog has been useful for those of you looking to set up a coffee brand but struggling to know where to start. Believe us when we say we speak from experience. After six years, we know better than anyone that coffee is a story. Selling coffee is about telling it.

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