Brandroll’s online specialty-coffee marketplace and informative newsletters serve to introduce compelling small roasters to a wider audience.
BY J. MARIE CARLAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Eric Park
If you spend a lot of time researching small coffee roasters, you may not need professional guidance to find fantastic coffee. If, however, you find yourself too busy or too overwhelmed by the sheer volume of great options available, you’ll be glad to know there is an easy place to start.
Brandroll is an online marketplace that seeks to introduce the public to small specialty-coffee roasters that they may not otherwise discover. Via Brandroll, you can learn about roasters and their coffees, and buy specially selected bags at a discount directly through the website. Your coffee will be delivered to your door by the roasters themselves, ensuring quality and care for your future brews.
Meet Eric Park
Brandroll’s founder and coffee hunter is Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Eric Park. Eric formerly worked in the tech industry, and as an entrepreneurial spirit, he dreamed of eventually starting his own company. With a background in marketing and advertising, he had the perfect skill-set to launch a brand(roll).
Eric wanted to create a marketplace for a product that was accessible, affordable, and above all, repeatable. He asked himself: What is a product that people will keep buying? During his research, he discovered that the coffee he drank religiously was also a continuous commodity: Coffee drinkers will always need to refresh their supply.
The Beginnings of an Idea
Before Brandroll, Eric had no background in coffee, but he learned that plenty of folks he knew were obsessed with it. His business began small. He reached out to coffee aficionados and small coffee roasters with an idea: Would they be willing to offer discount codes and promotions if he could offer them a platform? The roasters he met were excited about the idea.
Eric began writing emails to interested parties, describing the coffees and including the discounts available. This morphed into a large mailing list of coffee enthusiasts. While attending coffee events and meeting industry people around the USA, he began to understand why the coffee community is so special. “I didn’t know there was so much passion for specialty coffee,” Eric confides. “The coffee community is so open-minded and receptive.”
The Brandroll Newsletter
As the mailing list grew, Eric found himself and his readers captivated by the stories that roasters had to tell. He began an official newsletter, where subscribers could discover more about the people roasting these coffees. Once subscribers reached 1,000, Eric knew it was time to take the plunge.
That’s when he opened the Brandroll Marketplace. Featured roasters have included Loveless Coffees, based in Brooklyn, Park Pass Coffee of Colorado, and No Sleep Roastery of Idaho. Other roasters have come from Nashville, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. Brandroll’s next product promotion is with Elm Coffee Roasters of Seattle, offering up an Ethiopian variety.
Brandroll’s unique concept has also expanded to include a referral program and a monthly coffee giveaway. Accessibility has always been a focus. Eric realized price might be a sticking point for consumers when it comes to specialty coffee; there’s a little risk involved. “Do you want to pay full price for a roaster you’ve never heard of?” he asks. That’s why the coffees on Brandroll come at a reduced rate, incentivizing newcomers to take the plunge and discover these incredible roasts. Prices in the marketplace vary from around $13 to $28.
Brandroll’s mission is to shine a spotlight on compelling roasters and elevate small businesses. As of this writing, more than 1,800 coffee lovers have signed up for the Brandroll newsletter, almost double what he began with when the marketplace launched in November 2022.
Eric hopes that in the future, he will be able to educate even more people about small roasters, find great sponsor partners, and tell more stories. “I’m really focused on telling people’s stories,” Eric says. “Every roaster, every brand has a story to tell. (Through Brandroll), people get to understand what these roasters are really about.“
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
J. Marie Carlan (she/they) is the online editor for Barista Magazine. She’s been a barista for over a decade and writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. When she’s not behind the espresso bar or toiling over content, you can find her perusing record stores, collecting bric-a-brac, writing poetry, and trying to keep the plants alive in her Denver apartment. She occasionally updates her blog.