THE CONVERSATION

Ray: This week we’re talking about OZO Coffee Company out of Boulder, Colorado. I love this packaging. It’s super cool. There’s like a whole identity family that goes with it here. I would say out of all the identities for coffee I’ve seen this one looks like it was made in Guatemala or something. This is a nice bag. Square bottom, bio trade.

Ozo-Coffee-angled-back-detail

Kandace: We spoke with Greg Lefcourt, Director of Operations-

Greg: Yeah. My name’s Greg Lefcourt. I’m with OZO Coffee Company in Boulder, Colorado. I was the first hired employee from the founder, Justin Hartman, and I’ve since worked my way into a co ownership role. We’re about to open our fourth retail location. We roast all of our own coffee. We try to source all of our own coffee.

We went back to the same original designer, Good Apples, here in Boulder, Colorado. We told those guys that we wanted to go back with this Mayan, Central America, native theme to it.

The way that all those hieroglyphs look and the art coming out of that region from hundreds of years ago is just so intriguing to us that we worked with these guys to create an entire system of glyphs that pertain to all of the natural English language that qualifies: the descriptions, the flavors, the background of all of our coffees.

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Every single coffee pulls from the glyph chart and every coffee has a unique set of glyphs even though you’ll see repeated glyphs from time to time on the coffees. No two coffees are going to be alike. They’re kind of like snow flakes that way.

Kandace: Something that interesting about the bag-

Ray: Yeah.

Kandace: Is that they’re using soy based inks also.

Ray: Oh cool.

Kandace: Yeah and so there’s something that feels-

Ray: Vegan. Go on.

Kandace: There’s something that feels really natural about the design. Every once and awhile with the bio trade bags that we’re trying to put a design on top of it but doesn’t necessarily go with the look and feel of the bio trade but instead of fighting it it’s like they just went with it and used soy based inks.

It feels like this is the right bag for this design whether it was biodegradable or not but it does happen to be biodegradable also. I think that’s really interesting to see-

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Ray: I love how the texture comes through. It’s almost like you can see the paper-ness of it through the print here and everything.

Kandace: These are …

Ray: It’s like the dollar bill. You know how it has that?

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Kandace: This is a pretty intense map actually.

Ray: A map?

Kandace: Yes.

Ray: Oh I didn’t know that.

Kandace: Topographical map that was explained in detail to us so I don’t have to go into the details.

Ray: Okay.

Greg: I kind of like to look at this whole glyph system and the way the packaging is super hands on and in depth as kind of the adult version of a cereal box from when we were kids. If you remember you’d sit there and you’d eat your cereal and you would look at the packaging. There were games and things to look at and different things going on on the box that would pull you in and make it more interactive.

What we did with this packaging is we put the glyphs on them, and even though you might not understand them, if you sat there and look long enough at the pictures and read all the English down below it would show you that … definitely correlate and you would begin to catch on. Also something that people don’t notice is the whole side panel of the bag is this altimeter reader on the side of the label.

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We have kind of a glyph painting of clouds, highlands, lowlands, and ocean. If you open of the side of the bag and look at it it totally looks like it could have been painted on the side of a cave or a tree or something crazy like that.

Kandace: They made up like their own language almost like people in-

Ray: I’m waiting for this one.

Kandace: Almost like all of you dune people.

Ray: A dune? I’m a dune person? I didn’t name my cat after Mohadib in Dune.

Kandace: I was actually thinking about the Tolkien.

Ray: Oh.

Kandace: All you Tolkienites.

Ray: Okay. All right.

Kandace: Wow. You’re like “Well if it’s Tolkien I’m totally a Tolkien person.”

Ray: She discreetly checked her notes.

Kandace: But their founder, Justin Hartman, has been around since the early 90’s.

Ray: Oh okay.

Kandace: It was some early third was of cred there.

Ray: Yeah. This is the second coffee company out of Colorado that we’ve covered actually.

Kandace: Yes.

Ray: There’s apparently quite a coffee scene in Colorado. Maybe we need to go there next.

Kandace: I think we have to get on an airplane to get there.

Ray: I hate airplanes.

Kandace: Interestingly-

Ray: This is what they do to me: my voice.

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Kandace: On their websites when they’re categorizing coffee they’re categorizing it by three different flavor systems instead of region. Their whole color coating has a lot to do with that.

Greg: We have coffee coming from all over the world and so many different palette sensations, right? You’ve got your deep, earthy, rich, heavy bodied coffees coming out of Indonesia. You’ve got your bright, fruity, sweet coffees from Ethiopia and Kenya and Burundi and you’ve got coffees that are just kind of in the middle of the road. Great acidity, juices flavors, but can almost please anyone’s palette coming out of Central and South America.

Instead of classifying all the coffees by just where they’re grown we decided to actually categorize them in almost a tasting experience. They come in and they find a coffee they really enjoy. Pretty much anything with that colored label will be in their wheelhouse.

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Kandace: I think a lot of the coffees that we tried that we were particularly excited about all fell in their “exotic and lively.” Yeah.

Ray: I could at least call myself lively. Maybe not exotic.

Kandace: I guess I’m the exotic to your lively.

Ray: There you go.

Kandace: Yeah.

Ray: Flannel? That’s not mine.

Kandace: High five.

Ray: Oh.

Kandace: It’s a down low high five kind of day.

Ray: Oh we get another one later?

Kandace: Well yeah at the end. We say their name-

Ray: The big finisher.

Kandace: Say how cool they are.

Ray: Don’t tell them the formula. Let them guess. A bit of mystery. I’ll cough while you’re reading your notes.

OZO Coffee Roasters out of Boulder, Colorado.

Ozo Coffe Bag