How a family-owned coffee company is brewing for a new generation

Posted On August 26, 2019

It’s not often that I get to do a radio show with the owner of a company while I’m consuming his product.

But in the latest episode of “What’s Working With Cam Marston,” I sipped on some coffee with chicory produced by Baton Rouge-based Community Coffee while talking with the company’s fourth-generation owner and president, Matt Saurage.

He shares a brief history of the company with us (including the story behind the house drawn on the package), his goals in running a family business, and why, although its habits are different, the millennial generation is as bountiful a market for the coffee business as its parents and grandparents were.

“The young consumers are choosing convenience of having coffee in many different formats through the day,” Saurage said, noting that bottled coffee drinks and blended beverages are popular with younger consumers, who often drink them throughout the day, not just in the morning.

“And also health,” he added. “Coffee is good for you.”

Saurage shares some of those beneficial properties – including those of the chicory that is a favorite complement in New Orleans and Mobile. He also shares how the industry is battling the persistent threat of a fungus that causes coffee leaf rust, how it’s utilizing technology, and its efforts to become totally sustainable.

Finally, he shares why independent coffee shops are such a major factor in the industry’s success and why, as a major brand with nearly 900 employees and distribution over nearly half the U.S. and overseas, he believes it’s important to support smaller craft coffee roasters.

“We are today one of the few family-owned coffee companies in America of our size,” Saurage said. “If you look in your neighborhood at your small roaster, you’ll see the future of the industry. There will be privately-owned coffee companies and roasters that will come together to either create or join great brands.

“That’s what I’m excited about – helping them remain entrepreneurial, try to support their business and encourage them to grow, and then recruit them to join companies like ours, to pursue a lifetime in coffee.”

Pour yourself a cup and join us for a robust discussion about coffee and the business of making and selling it.

Categories: Entrepreneurship, Generation Y / Millennials, What's Working with Cam Marston