There was something so satisfying about receiving my first package from Nomad Coffee Club in the post. Stamped with a red wax seal bearing Nomad's logo, I could hardly wait to open up the box and see what was inside. In a market saturated with coffee subscription services, right off the bat, this one has a different feel.
If success is in the details, Nomad Coffee Club has set themselves up to find it. Based in Toronto, their subscription service delivers locally roasted coffee to doorsteps across North America on a monthly basis. Each box is equipped with half a pound of freshly roasted coffee and an information card about it's origins. My first package—featuring a delicious Ethiopia Worka—also came with a welcome note and a handy Chemex brew guide. Good quality coffee and these thoughtful touches made my first experience with Nomad Coffee Club extremely pleasant.
The founder of Nomad Coffee Club, Daniel Adonai, kindly took some time out to answer a few questions about what's behind his Toronto based coffee subscription company:
tLBCC: Nomad Coffee Club is a coffee subscription company based out of Toronto. Can you tell us a little bit about how your subscription service works?
Nomad: Of course! Nomad is a coffee discovery club. Every month you get a new coffee delivered right to you. We try to focus more on single-origin coffee beans, but we have sent out some blends, too. In the first package you will find a Chemex brewing guide, and every package comes with an information card on the coffee.
The main thing I am trying to do is to introduce people to the experience of specialty coffee. There is just so much great coffee out there, and you need a way to to try as much of it as possible. It's not "just coffee" anymore, there is a story behind what you are drinking, and Nomad helps you discover it.
tLBCC: You are currently teamed up with a local Toronto micro-roaster, de Mello Palheta. Are they tailoring a roast profile specifically for your subscription? Can you share with us a little bit about your collaborative process?
Nomad: I started working with de Mello Palheta a few months after I launched Nomad in 2015 and it has been the best decision ever. They are an amazing group of people and we are doing some amazing work together.
Every month we decide on the new feature coffee and look at what roast profiles we will be using. We regularly cup the coffees to select the features, too. It's a pretty awesome working arrangement because I am able to get feedback from Nomad members and we tailor it to fit their needs. Honestly, it has been a huge learning experience for me and it just keeps getting better and better!
tLBCC: For those of us not familiar with the imagery on your logo, what is it exactly? How is the logo representative of Nomad Coffee Club and your community?
This is a really, really great question!
The logo is called a Jebena. Jebena is an Eritrean/Ethiopian way of making a coffee ceremony. The one in the logo is the Eritrean version though. It's made from clay. You mix freshly roasted and ground coffee with water to brew in it.
I grew up in Eritrea and coffee is a pretty big deal there. It's something that brings everyone together and that's why a 'coffee ceremony' is such a nice translation in English. Another way of looking at it is as a coffee making ritual. First the coffee is roasted—normally with everyone around the room—so you can smell it. Then you grind it up and start brewing. It's a very manual process, but it just makes you appreciate the coffee even more. At the end, the coffee is drunk in three rounds with little cups—similar to espresso cups. You can also serve the coffee with popcorn and other snacks.
This is the feeling I wanted to bring with Nomad. I want you to feel as if you are having a ceremony every time you make our coffee. I want to help you brew better by giving you some guides. I want you to experience it freshly roasted so you can understand and appreciate what that really means for your coffee.
At the end, I was thinking about all of this and everything just lined up. It was an "aha" moment and the rest is what you see here today.
tLBCC: Who would you recommend a Nomad Coffee Club subscription to?
Nomad: In the beginning when I started Nomad, it was really to solve my own problem. I've always worked outside of the city (Toronto) and any hopes of getting good coffee were almost non-existent. So a coffee subscription that delivered just made so much sense.
That being said, Nomad is for the busy, young professional who wants to start drinking better coffee or is just very tired of their office coffee (I know I was). It's also great for someone who is looking to discover new kinds of coffee, too, because we provide more in depth information on the coffees. We also make things very easy with online ordering. It pretty much puts your morning coffee on auto.
tLBCC: Are you shipping nationwide (Canada)? or is your focus solely on servicing Toronto and the surrounding area?
Nomad: We are actually shipping to Canada and the United States. This is probably the single biggest struggle of any small business in Canada, but I have made some partnerships that have solved these problems for us. All shipping is free, and we normally ship on a weekly basis.
tLBCC: Is there anything else we should know about Nomad Coffee Club?
Nomad: One interesting fact and not a lot of people seem to know this, is that I run Nomad pretty much on my own. I also work full-time as an engineer during the day. I get some help from my family every once in a while, but it's me who responds to your emails, tweets you back, and, most importantly, likes you Instagram pics.
It has been the best and hardest thing I have ever done in my life and I wouldn't have it any other way!