If you were able to get your hands on Matchbook Coffee’s first release, consider yourself lucky. The project sold out of its debut coffee within 12 hours of release.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
The Matchbook Coffee Project debuted—and sold out of—its first coffee release earlier this month. Matchbook, a project in which individual roasters have full roasting and design control over a single coffee for a month, worked with Jamie Smith of Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco for its inaugural collaboration, and didn’t anticipate just how popular the coffee would be, selling out in just half a day. “I was very surprised with how quickly we sold out,” shares Dani Goot, co-creator of the Matchbook Coffee Project. “I was worried that starting a project like this would take time to gain traction. Selling out Jamie’s coffee in less than 12 hours was very exciting for us.”
The group sold 50 units of coffee plus swag—including a Matchbook pin, a trading card with Jamie’s photo plus facts about the coffee, and a beer koozie designed for Jamie’s coffee—in a pre-release sale online, and was out of coffee by the end of the day. The project reached coffee enthusiasts all over the United States, with many excited recipients posting their coffee on Instagram. The coffee, called Lady from the Mountain, is from the Nariño district of Colombia, produced by Elvia Irene Burbano and sourced by Royal Coffee. The name is a nod to one of Jamie’s favorite singers, Stevie Nicks, and also references the mountainous region of Nariño and the woman who produced her coffee.
The first release wasn’t without some hiccups and setbacks. Issues with green coffee, production, and packaging held up the group a few times, but now that Dani and co-founder Izzy Fraire know that people want to participate in the Matchbook Coffee Project, they’ve started dreaming of bigger ideas. “Now that we know this project could grow quickly, we are looking at setting up a monthly subscription,” Dani notes. “Sub Pop Records had a 7-inch club in the late 80s that I subscribed to. Got all the new 7-inch records show up at my house when they were released! Pre-internet, so we never knew when they would land,” Dani shares, referencing the inspiration he has drawn from independent music labels in creating this project.
For now, Matchbook will continue with its original model—releasing 50 units of a coffee plus merchandise designed for the featured roaster. The goal of the project is simple: to feature individual roasters in a one-time release of a coffee of their choosing, giving roasters complete creative control over the coffee they choose and the way they present it. With most roasters working for larger coffee companies or on teams, where calibration and coordination of roast profiles is paramount, the Matchbook Coffee Project allows roasters to show off their skills and think critically about their approach to coffee.
On April 1, fans can buy coffee from Tony Querio, Director of Coffee for Spyhouse Coffee in Minneapolis and the 2016 United States Roasting Champion. And Matchbook is already looking to future partners, including Cameron Heath of Revelator Coffee in New Orleans and Sandra Loofbourow of Andytown Coffee in San Francisco. But that doesn’t mean you won’t see something new and exciting from them soon. If the project continues to be successful, look for more coffees and more roaster collaborations in the future. But for now, you can visit the Matchbook Coffee Project Instagram and see others making and enjoying their coffees. And if you want to be in on the fun, make sure you have matchbookcoffeeproject.com loaded and ready to go on your computer screen on April 1—coffees are sure to be gone soon!