For the first 30 years of Shelley Smith’s life, coffee wasn’t even on her radar because of her religious beliefs. But that all changed a decade ago when she started to let go of some of those beliefs and found herself fascinated by the plethora of coffee options. “Learning the difference between lattes and cappuccinos and espressos, etc., has been fascinating, although really confusing at first,” says Shelley.
When she decided to start her own coffee business in Utah she turned to her sisters, one lives in Portland and the other San Francisco, to help her hit the ground. Holly Smith became, and still is, her roaster. But it wasn’t until she put her head together with Mary Steinke, her co-worker and BFF, that BFF Coffees was born. This year, they will be part of the Bi-Annual What Women Want Expo that they’ve both helped run for 13 years. Shelley says, “Watching these enterprising vendors do their magic has also been really inspiring.”
They officially opened on January 1, 2017 but just had their launch party February 17. It included family, friends, and customers. Shelley’s experience in marketing, Mary’s experience in account management, and Tawnee Steinke’s organizational skills have brought them a long way in a short amount of time. Says Shelley, “We have a lot of experience and it’s amazing how capable we can be once we apply those same principles to our own business rather than someone else’s.”
“We don’t want to run faster than we can, so we’re starting out with one extremely good coffee,” explains Shelley, “So, no blends.” They’re starting with a Costa Rican Tarrazu coffee and are looking into another single origin coffee so they may offer more options in the near future.
They took another leap of faith when they decided to buy their own roaster. With 500 hundred customers and a growing company, it had to be done. They have a supplier for their green beans and are planning trips to farms and to foster one-on-one relationships. For now, though, it’s all about freshness and friendship. The beans are roasted on-site, and BFF Coffee encourages customers to brew them within the first two weeks after roasting. “We are also committed to fair trade and quality customer service/satisfaction 100% guaranteed. We are a business we’d love to patronize. The golden rule,” Shelley says. “It’s competitive, but we feel we have enough skills to rise to the top if we are authentic to ourselves and take good care of our customers.”
(Left to Right: Mary Steinke, Shelley Smith, and Tawnee Steinke)
The women knew they were taking a risk with the way they decided to market their brand but they were prepared. “We are creating a culture for women. We really are taking a risk by targeting women more than men,” Shelley admits. “Our logo and marketing is BFF oriented. Coffee is our BFF every morning. We want to be your first cup of coffee in the morning.”
So, how do they take their coffee? Mary and Tawnee keep it simple: straight black coffee. Holly likes to add a dollop of extra creamy Cool Whip, and Shelley takes the cake for most creative. “I’m creamy-with-a-tiny-bit-of-flavoring-kind-of-coffee-gal, and next sugar-free. I like my coffee to be a bit heavier/denser in my mouth. I like to make a strong cup of coffee so it will handle the bit of half and half cream and flavor boost ( I like any sweet cream flavor at the store- the liquid kind). I also am a ‘super-taster’. I taste things more intensely …. thus I’ll even add a pinch of salt to coffee to help counter the bitterness if needed (not ours, just my own). I’ll try anything! A favorite is adding a mixture of cinnamon and cardamom. Every now and then I’ll grind up cacao nibs and add them to my gorunds for a healthier coffee and flavor.” I think we can safely say she’s in love with coffee.
BFF Coffee sent one of each of the three roasts they carry: light, medium-dark, and dark roast. Each bag of coffee is $19.99 (plus s+h) for a 12 ounce bag of coffee, which is comparable to what a specialty coffee costs on the market.
Light Roast: The light roast is a dryer bean with a really light flavor. With the light roast, I didn’t get as many of the chocolate notes as I did the caramel notes but all of the roasts brewed smoothly.
Medium Roast: With the medium roast, you get more of the shiny, oily beans that are characteristic of dark roasts. The flavor shows notes are chocolate with the slightest bit of smokiness.
Dark Roast: I think the dark roast was my favorite, which was kind of a surprise to me. I could really taste dark chocolate and smokey notes. It was a very smooth, deep roast.
The ladies at BFF Coffees were generous enough to give us both a Promo Code: SWEATPANTS10 AND we’re also doing a giveaway! Enter below to win an adorable mug and a bag (1) of the coffee of your choice! Three (3) lucky winners will be chosen Sunday morning, March 12, so be on the lookout!