Mojo Coffee Roasters Brings N.O. Flavor to Keurig’s ‘Love Blend’ Initiative
NEW ORLEANS – Mojo Coffee Roasters is one of five independent roasters nationwide to take part in the new “Love Blend” initiative from Keurig, creator of those iconic single-serve coffee pods. As a show of support (and for some good PR, no doubt), Keurig hired the five to collaborate on three blends – a light, medium and dark – that are now available for preorder online. All purchases go on to support the local roasters who came together to create it.
The roasters – located in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, New York and New Orleans – met over Zoom to plan the initial blend. They had a simultaneous “cupping” on the platform as well to make modifications to their creations.
Mojo Coffee Roasters co-owner Matt Cronin said he was delighted and surprised to find out from a friend in the biz that he was on Keurig’s short list.
“We originally became aware of the project around early April,” said Cronin, who opened MCR in 2015 with partners Demian and Angee Estevez, the founders of the city’s two Mojo Coffee House locations. “At the time, we did not know who the client was or what the exact nature of the project would be, but we knew that a larger coffee company was trying to put together a program for small local roasters and cafe owners who had been affected by COVID. … We were on board from the get-go.”
Cronin said the project came along at the right time. Like a lot of wholesalers, his revenue “collapsed almost overnight” at the start of the pandemic. Working on this allowed Mojo to maintain its obligations to its employees and clients even though its primary business model was not entirely viable at the time. Also, “on a less heavy note, [it] was just a fun thing to do to keep our minds off of the more stressful parts of running a business during a global pandemic,” he said. “It was really nice to make connections with other roasters and build a sense of solidarity out of our shared challenges and experiences.”
Meanwhile, Cronin said he and his partners are doing the best they can at their three locations: the original Magazine Street coffee shop plus a spot on Freret Street and the cafe at his roasting facility on Tchoupitoulas Street. On Tchoup, he’s taking a cautious approach to reopening and decided against indoor seating while the city’s COVID numbers have been worrisome. He’s preparing to make more outdoor seating available and will open up indoor seating if the city’s rules change in the coming weeks.
“We are lucky enough to have great baristas and a kind and dedicated customer base,” he said. “Luckily, everyone has been incredibly understanding and flexible when it comes to following safety protocols and making sure we can operate while focused 100 percent on providing a safe and healthy space to grab a cup of coffee. We’ve noticed a big increase in customers just stopping by to buy a bag of whole bean coffee to prepare at home. We might not get to see them as often, but the continued support has really meant a lot to us.”