THE CONVERSATION

Ray: This week, Radio Roasters out of the Atlanta area.

Kandace: Transmitting some fabulous coffee.

Ray: They transmitted us some coffee, yes.

Kandace: Radio Roasters …

Ray: Radio Roasters was founded in 2013 by Chip.

2 bags headphones

Chip: My name’s Chip Grabow and I am the owner and proprietor and Chief Bottle Washer of Radio Roasters Coffee, a fairly new micro-roastery in the Atlanta area.

Kandace: Chip was at NPR for 15 years, moved to editing at CNN and decided, “I’d also like to roast coffee.”

Chip: Just kind of noticed in Atlanta in general but you get spoiled in Portland and the West Coast, how many good coffee roasters there are. I saw a big niche to fill and just wanted to pursue that on the side. On top of my day job at CNN, I started kind of pursing how to start a roastery. I’ve long been fascinated with coffee and food, but especially coffee. I think our birthday was 2013 but our real kind of business launch was sort of last year. Almost a year ago at this time.

bag black retro radio

We encourage a subscription service, so we really … Part of our education is getting people to realize, “Hey, don’t buy five pounds of coffee or even two pounds and store it in your freezer for six or two months or six weeks or whatever.” Coffee’s a perishable food. Buy it fresh. Replenish your stock every two or three weeks and try something new.

We encourage a subscription service to get people to sign up. We’ll deliver a pound or whatever amount of coffee you want, whatever frequency you want. Getting people to realize, “Hey, this is a perishable food.”

Ray: There’s no retail shops? Nothing like that? No real face to face.

Kandace: There’s no coffee.

box branding logo

Ray: There is coffee. That forces you to rely a lot on your packaging to tell your story when you don’t have face to face time with your customers and you don’t have a retail environment to tell you story in. I feel like they’ve done a really good job with the packaging. On these, it folds over the top. They have a larger bag where it folds over the side.

Kandace: This is a craft bag that then they have these nice … Are these letterpressed? Designed by TNKR.

large bag label detail front

Ray: Yeah.

Kandace: Or Tinker?

Ray: He just called it TNKR, yeah.

Kandace: TNKR.

Ray: The idea was to capture the sort of radio vibe. It kind of conjures this sort of old Columbia Records logo.

Kandace: Nailed it!

Ray: Yeah.

Kandace: Yeah, totally.

Chip: We started looking for a designer and working with one early on. That was back in 2013 as well. Because we wanted to have a distinct identity and have the identity reflect the quality of the coffee. I always knew it was going to be called Radio Roasters given my background. I just like the sound of it and he just kind of went at it and came up with a bunch of different drafts and ideas. We had that nice discussion about what we were trying to go for and the vibe we were going for. He sent us three directions we could go and the one you see behind me is our main mark. That just spoke to me right away and I thought he really got it. He kind of ran with that and he was the one who decided, “Hey, let’s use the craft bag and use white ink.” He designed everything and we just thought it looked really good.

single back back

Ray: The white ink is a really interesting look for a craft bag. It doesn’t … I don’t know. I guess you just expect black ink and you’re pleasantly surprised when you don’t see it. They have a lot of stamps. They’re stamping this thing like crazy. There’s a stamp, a stamp. Chip showed me how many stamps each bag required.

Chip: One. Two. Three. Four. Five. I think there’s more. I think there’s a few more stamps, plus the date stamp. A little red ink stamper. Every bag and label took about eight different hits of stamps.

Ray: TNKR came up with these really cool graphics just for the brew guide and stuff. I love the little icons.

single bag all stickers

Kandace: I was reading something about their stickers and that these come with all of the subscriptions and that it really helps to start conversations with other people that might want to get a coffee subscription also.

Ray: Right.

Kandace: It’s a nice reminder, but they’re also just graphically pleasing enough that people put them on things.

Ray: Yeah.

Kandace: Did Chip talk about …

Ray: I don’t think so.

keep cup album 2 bags

Kandace: How he ended up with the dual focus on coffee and radio? I love their Twitter feed. I have to say it because it’s a mix of music and coffee knowledge. I think that we tend to talk about music quite a bit too and we tend to see a lot of correlations between music and coffee.

Ray: Yes.

Kandace: We pair.

Ray: This show is evidence of that, yeah.

Kandace: Yeah.

Chip: Radio’s one thing but I’m really into music too. Whatever we can do to kind of bring in music elements to this. Again, that logo there is reminiscent of a record label. I think it’s the Columbia Records.

Ray: Radio Roasters of Atlanta, Georgia. Okay.

Vintage Radio with Radio Roasters