THE CONVERSATION

Ray: This week, Huckleberry Roasters, out of Denver, Colorado.

Kandace: Denver.

Ray: Colorado. How did we discover Huckleberry Kandace?

Kandace: I think Cat & Cloud posted something about them on their Instagram…posted one of their tins and we thought, those tins look really cool.

Ray: Okay, so let’s jump right into designs, since you brought up the tins…

Huckleberry Roasters' neat packaging tins

Kandace: This is HOT!

Ray: Yeah.

Kandace: These aren’t even out on their site yet. This is the newly designed…

Ray: This is so frickin’ cool. So these are for sending out samples. Because like if you’re trying to get them to send out samples of coffee what they wanted was something that was….

Kandace: Are you kidding? This is amazing!

Ray: …something memorable.

Huckleberry Roasters' neat packaging tins

Mark Mann: We wanted a packaging that would be more useful for sending out samples and for like variety pack style packages of coffee so, we knew we wanted to do something that was kind of around 4 ounces, um, a nice way to get a taste for…you know a few different coffees, so that if somebody is interested in just trying our coffee they don’t have to have a full twelve ounces.

We also kinda wanted to do something fun. Something that represented, you know, what Koan had talked about, one of our original connecting points as a company and that’s you know our love for music and kind of how that kind of brings people together and how that continues to be an expression for the company. Our blends are all named after song titles so that’s one thing Koan and I are both products of the ‘80s and tapes are indicative of growing up during that time and we were just able to come up with a pretty cool design that kind of unintentionally resonated really well with people, and we just kept doing it because people liked it.

Ray: You don’t just wanna send like, kind of a leftover lookin’ scrappy ass bag of coffee you wanna send something that’s like, this represents your business this is fucking cool and you know what this IS really cool it’s like, it’s hinged even! I’m afraid I’m gonna spill this everywhere if I open it–”

Kandace: Don’t spill the beans!

Ray: Oh my god.

Kandace: We probably shouldn’t have had that whiskey…

Ray: Do you want any more?

Kandace: ahhhm…oh my god don’t watch.

Ray: If you don’t kill it I will. Alright, they’re founded in 2011 — fact checker — correct?

Kandace: DING!

Huckleberry Roasters bags

Ray: Okay, the coffee’s great. So what we’re having right now is the Phantom Limb Blend. I don’t know if you noticed this Kandace but this name is derived from a Shin’s Song.

Kandace: Course I did. Fun fact: The Shins are from Portland.

Ray: Yeah. Uh really good coffee..it’s just interesting to me because on the bag it doesn’t say what’s in the blend. Okay. So I thought, are they trying to keep it a secret no on the side it says: here are the three coffees and what’s interesting is, it is a blend of three Ethiopians. It is the more complex of their three blends and it is delicious. Admittedly I just took a shot of whiskey.

Kandace: They’re not just trying to keep it like a secret.

Ray: Oh see what you did there?!

Remember when we first met and the Shins were playing all over Portland it was like…

Ray: Yeah!

Kandace: Every coffee shop you went into was playing Chutes to an arrow, it was on at like, every coffee shop yeah.

Ray: Yeah.

Kandance: It’s cute.

Gritchelle: Wait a second! Isn’t Keep It Like a Secret a Built to Spill…”

Ray: Yeah.

Kandace: Yeah I was just, cause it was all I could think of…This is a redesign!

Ray: Yes.

Kandace: All of this, just came out!

Mark Mann: The new coffee bags are entirely brand new so, this will be the third iteration of our sort of coffee delivery vessel that we’ve had in the lifecycle of the company. The first one was kind of your classic, hand stamped paper bag with…

Ray: Very artisanal.

Front and back view of Huckleberry Roasters' package design

Mark: Very artisanal, yeah…and uh we essentially went from preschool to college with this uh with this pouch bag that we had custom made at Pacific Bags. Those pouch bags however, were, plastic and we had gotten a lot of feedback from people that, that didn’t love the idea of buying a bag of coffee every single week and just, you know, throwing it away so we kinda knew this starting out, and we wanted to go more towards the route of sustainability and I think there’s an element of, an evolution of a company where you kind of just have to make do with what you can from the beginning. And so I don’t think we could really make that decision to spend pretty much twice as much per unit, um, to get a compostable bag at the time we were making the decision to get the pouch bags.

So we decided to go down the route of doing, um, the bio tray, um which is Pacific Bags’ biodegradable bags. I think the tendency is to do something bright and flashy and new and crazy. We quite like kinda everything we’ve done from the beginning and just kinda want to continue to do better iterations every time. And so I think we retain a lot of our brand equity from the pouch bags before…

Directions on the bottom of the bag.

Koan Goedman: …heavy reliance on patterns still, which is something that kind of, has been with our company from the beginning is we like to play around with patterning and have it uh, in some cases very subtly, represent you know, different parts of the company.

Kandace: …remove the tin…

Ray: Boom!

Kandace: …compost the bag….high five!

Ray: I don’t know why we did that now that’s kind of premature.

Kandace: Because it says to!

Ray: oh…

Ray: They have a subscription, I think they send you a twelve ounce jar and then they send you six refills….?

Kandace: No.

Ray: Tell me how their subscription works Kandance.

Kandace: So they have this great subscription and you can get the jar and then if you live in Denver, bring the jar in, and they’ll fill it up. Or, if you don’t live in Denver, you can have the jar and store your coffee in it it’s just great.

Ray: I love that they refill it it’s like the Growlers here in Portland.

Kandace: YES! Yes.

Ray and Kandace: Huckleberry Roasters out of Denver Colorado.

Ray: What do we do a high five?

Kandace: Sure.

Ray: BOOOM!