Homebrewed Success

International Coffee Corporation, a family-operated business, is preserving New Orleans’ rich history as a leader in the coffee trade
Tracie Morris Schaefer
The ICC Team, standing, from left: Damon Morise, Brian Bolerjack, Jude Toepfer, Ceanna Tolbert, Jared Armstrong and Greg Parker. Sitting, from left: Matt Madary, Bill Madary and Jenny Vasquez Monroy.

In 1977, after 30-years with J. Aron Company, a leader in the coffee trade industry, William G. Madary was asked to relocate to New York as the company prepared to close the doors of its New Orleans office. The New Orleans native, husband and father of 12, made a decision that would not only change the direction of his life, but the coffee trade business in New Orleans as well.

Madary, along with 10 former Aron employees, formed the International Coffee Corporation, working in the same offices and desks once occupied by J. Aron at the Magazine Street headquarters.

“My father took many of the same employees with him when he started International Coffee Corporation,” said Matt Madary, ICC President and CEO and the youngest of the 12 Madary children. “All of them have retired and now we are the new generation.  We follow the same procedure—buy low sell high.”

The senior Madary still serves as board chairman of ICC, which operates as a consortium. This means that ICC buys directly from coffee producers around the world on behalf of their clients. They test the crop volumes and quantity, and report back to their buyers and potential buyers. This information allows their consumers/roasters to make educated purchases when producing their coffee blends.

“We  send  samples  to various  clients to  see  their  interest  in  buying  from  us. We give  clients suggestions  on  how  they  can  use certain  coffees in  their  blend  to  achieve a particular  output  they  have in  mind,” Matt said.

 After traveling to coffee farms from South Africa to Asia, the final and most important step happens at ICC’s cupping table.

 “We cup test all the coffees we sample to determine a value to see if we go ahead with a purchase,” said Matt. “This  is the main part  of  the  business, around  the  cupping  table, to find the right value for each  coffee, because  all coffee  has  value, just  some  much  more  than  others.”

The Madarys are quick to note that the history of coffee trading cannot be told without the Port of New Orleans. “Historically the Port of New Orleans has been key in the world’s coffee trade,” said Bill Madary, ICC Vice President and COO and the eldest of the Madary children. The coffee importers that lined Magazine Street for many years were the epicenter of the trade. Their business was bringing in the raw green coffee beans via the Port of New Orleans to sell to roasters around the country. The Port of New Orleans remains vital to the coffee trade today as the No. 2 U.S. importer.

ICC, who recently relocated their offices from Magazine Street in New Orleans to Martin Behrman Avenue in the suburb of Metairie, continues to recognize the significance of the Port to the global coffee trade.

 “It makes the best sense for us and our roasters to bring coffee in through the Port,” Bill said. He cites J.M. Smucker (Folgers) as one of their clients that makes doing business at the Port a wise choice for ICC.

ICC maintains such a great working relationship with the Port because the Port keeps coffee spotlighted as a major commodity that is beneficial to the Port and the city. In addition to shipping coffee through the Port, ICC uses local warehouses and trucking companies to transport, store and dray their vast global purchases.

The decision that William G. Madary made in the ‘70s to stay in New Orleans has made an impact on other local businesses and industries.

“The relationships we have established with the people handling our coffee at the Port is very positive. They keep us informed of special projects, leads and other Port happenings.

They are always accessible for periodic meetings and at events,” Matt said.  “We are also happy that coffee is one of the top priorities at the Port. This is very important to us.”


Bill Madary and Brian Bolerjack during a cupping session.

 

ICC’s in-house preparation of coffee beans for the cupping process.

 

 

Categories: Maritime