When you first encounter a bag of Folly Coffee, you immediately notice their playful branding, unique packaging, and all around creativity. However, once you open a bag, smell, and then taste what’s inside, you are immediately transported to a world of serious, quality roasting.
This is represented in one of the brand’s taglines, “Fun Coffee, Delicious People.” Embracing their Minnesota roots, Folly Coffee was inspired by the local history and continues to celebrate the present while paving the way for future coffee innovation.
The Creation of Folly Coffee Roasters
Founder Rob Bathe is proud to be from Minnesota, which is why he decided on the name, Folly Coffee. Inspired by the Stone Arch Bridge project in 1881, known as Hill’s Folly, the bridge itself is somewhat of a local, hidden gem. This architectural icon also inspired aspects of their packaging, including the illustration on each bag of their House Bean blend.
Originally, Bathe was in the beer game, selling for the Chicago-based brewery, Samuel Adams. He was into good food and good beer, yet he didn’t pay as much attention to the low-quality coffee he drank. When a co-worker introduced him to his first cup of specialty coffee, the rest was history.
His passion began to snowball and in 2017, Bathe quit his job and headed home to Minnesota. It was here that he met Ken Schweikert, a local coffee seller, and roaster enthusiast. After chatting at a local farmers’ market, Ken invited Bathe to come roast with him at his home.
From that moment on, they began swapping ideas and discussing the opportunity in front of them. What started as a friendly farmers’ market encounter then evolved into a promising (and now successful) partnership.
To make it all happen, they decked out Schweikert’s backyard barn and sought a commercial food license. Completing the project in Silver Lake, which is approximately an hour outside of Minneapolis, it became everything they envisioned.
They had created their own roasting warehouse — one that was unique, innovative, and incredibly sustainable.
Roasting Beans the Folly Coffee Way
Utilizing geothermal and solar energy, their roasting warehouse is a low-impact, zero carbon footprint operation. This small batch roaster is all about the highest quality coffee, sourced from the most optimal growing regions around the globe.
Folly Coffee sources green coffees, focusing on those which are grown on small farms and cooperatives. Depending on the single-origin bean used, which rotates based on seasonal changes, location, variety, and more, you can always reference this information on their website.
Highlighting each coffee’s individual flavor profile, their brand may give the impression that they’re fun (which they are), but their freshly roasted coffee screams serious quality. After profiling each batch of beans, they are roasted at lighter levels to bring out the unique flavor of each small batch.
Although many roasters focus on consistent results, Folly Coffee Roasters take a different approach. Ken and Rob celebrate the different flavor profiles found throughout the year, experimenting with new growing regions and processing methods.
In fact, they strive to rotate the origin of each blend every 10 to 12 weeks or so. This allows them to create the perfect balance in regards to the coffee’s acidity and overall roasting process. In doing so, the flavors change. However, the quality of their coffee and the overall flavor profile remains the same.
To them, it’s all about roasting the freshest beans available. Their ultimate goal is to “bridge” the gap between everyday coffee drinkers and the coffee elite. By creating a brand that is fun and interesting, they attract new customers. However, it is the quality of their coffee that makes them come back for more.
Folly Coffee Takes a Zero Carbon Footprint Approach
As discussed, Folly Coffee is proud to operate as a low-impact, environmentally conscious company. Installing solar panels and geothermal coils, they are able to produce their own electricity.
Day-to-day, the only component that creates any emissions is the gas-powered roaster. A 1980s-era Diedrich IR12, which Ken rebuilt himself, this is the only energy that Folly consumes. However, these emissions are more than offset by the production of on-site renewable energy.
In fact, they create enough solar and geothermal power to effectively heat and cool Ken’s house, in addition to meeting the power needs of the roastery. This is just one of the ways in which Folly Coffee strives to be an industry leader.
Introduction of the Folly Cold Brew Bean
The cold brewing process helps pull out the natural sweetness of a coffee. As mentioned above, the single origin of Folly Coffee beans rotates to ensure optimal freshness. In this case, their approach is no different. You can check out their cold bean roasting calendar here.
Fairtrade and organic, each bag comes with four easy-to-brew cold process pouches. All you need to do at home is grind, fill, steep (for a total of 24 hours), and away you go.
With taste notes of milk chocolate and almond, these lightly roasted beans yield little to no acidity. This means that you’re left with a naturally sweet, beautifully balanced cup of cold brew each and every time.
At Folly Coffee Roasters, they proudly state that they’re all about the freshest of fresh. To summarize their commitment to the freshest beans possible, they thought that #freshfresh was appropriate.
To ensure that you, at home, are drinking the freshest coffee, Ken and Rob track the roast dates of the coffee delivered to their partners. If there is any coffee that is 90 days or more from the roast date, they make the swap.
They want to make sure you’re always drinking that #freshfresh.
If you’re thinking, what happens to that swapped out coffee?
No need to fret, as the guys at Folly Coffee wouldn’t let it go to waste. The coffee they collect is donated to local charities and shelters. They also encourage their community to reach out if they know anywhere that would benefit from donated coffee.
Never Pretentious, Always Delicious
Currently offering four varieties, Folly Coffee will continue to represent themselves as a playful brand that is serious about coffee. Their goal is to continue their journey, helping people discover the difference quality, perfectly roasted beans make.
Their bright, fun graphics and overall brand image help new customers approach third wave specialty coffee with curiosity. Then, once they taste how smooth and delicious coffee can really be, the rest becomes history.
By approaching this movement in a way that isn’t pretentious or intimidating, they are quickly building a dedicated following. As they continue to grow, you can enjoy a fresh cup of Folly Coffee in the comfort of your home.
Although their engaging graphics and intriguing flavors may initially spark your interest, it will be the taste of their specialty coffee that will turn you into a true, dedicated fan.
In the coming months, be sure to watch this brand closely, as they have already shown that passion, commitment, and strong relationships can take you to great heights. At this time, there have no plans of slowing down — and this has everyone in the specialty coffee community buzzin’.