Grinding Your Way To Success: The U Brew Story with Andrew Ellis

Grinding Your Way To Success: The U Brew Story with Andrew Ellis
Take a journey with U Brew Coffee Company as Chris interviews the founder, Andrew Ellis about his new startup and his vision for the future.

Andrew Ellis, the founder of U Brew Coffee Company, sits down with Chris to discuss his entrepreneurial leap into the coffee business. From the origins of U Brew to Andrew's vision for a coffee community, this episode illuminates the struggles and triumphs of starting a coffee business. Chris and Andrew then embark on an immersive coffee cupping session, giving listeners a taste of U Brew's commitment to their craft and community.

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About Andrew Ellis

Andrew Ellis is a passionate advocate for specialty coffee and the founder of U Brew Coffee Company. After cutting alcohol from his routine, Andrew discovered a vast opportunity to introduce the craft of specialty coffee to those unfamiliar with it. His mission is to travel the nation, building a community centered around small and micro-roasters, and to bring a diverse array of roasts under one roof. Andrew aims to ignite a passion for coffee in others, one mug at a time, inviting everyone to "Take Control of Your Cup" and experience coffee like never before

Show Highlights

(00:00) Introduction

(02:12) Inspiration Behind U Brew

(05:04) The Story Behind U Brew's Name and Branding

(9:50) Validating the U Brew Business Model

(12:21) Introduction to Coffee Cupping

(18:48)  Expanding U Brew's Product Line

(22:20) Coffee connoisseurs & Andres vision for U Brew

(28:40) The Coffee Cupping Session

(38:44) Andrew's Current Favorite Brand and Why

(42:36) Closing Remarks

U Brew Co Website:

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U Brew Co Instagram:


Chris Hill: [00:00:00] Welcome to We Built This Brand. I'm your host, as always, Chris Hill. And today we're talking with Andrew Ellis. He is the founder of U Brew Coffee Company. Now, Andrew is a recent entrepreneur. He just started U Brew and actually just officially quit his job and left everything to take this risk and start this business.

Chris Hill: He's been growing it for some time and it's finally gotten to a place where he's going to pour his heart and soul into it. So today on the podcast, we get to talk about What it means to start a brand, what it means to create a name for a brand and the adventure and the challenge of going out there and doing something as a business for the first time, as an entrepreneur, really for the first time.

Chris Hill: And I'm really excited to talk to Andrew about his experiences. I think you'll really get a lot out of it. We had a great time. We even at the end of the conversation got to do a cupping, which is where you actually get to taste test coffee in a very fancy specific way. So hopefully we'll have some of that to show you all as well.

Chris Hill: And [00:01:00] yeah, overall, great episode, really enjoyed my time with Andrew and I think you will too. So let's dive into it.

Chris Hill: Well, Andrew, welcome to the podcast.

Andrew Ellis: Good to be here, man.

Chris Hill: Yeah, it's great to have you on. And today we're doing something a little different. Um, normally for We Build This Brand. When we do the podcast, what we're really doing is, um, talking to people who have long established brands that have been around a while.

Chris Hill: And today, we're talking to you. You've literally just gone out on your own to start U Brew. You've had it around a little while. And I think it's really cool to talk about the entrepreneurial journey from time to time, because part of building the brand is the story behind the brand. So, that's what we're going to explore today.

Chris Hill: Also a little different, we're in your home, which I think is kind of fun.

Andrew Ellis: Yeah, I'm glad to have you all in here.

Chris Hill: Yeah, and we're, we're going to be doing some sampling of some coffees and things later and, um, I mean, I'm drinking some now and it's delicious, but yeah, excited to, to have you on today.

Andrew Ellis: Yeah, good, good.

Andrew Ellis: Yeah.

Chris Hill: Where I'd like us to start is just [00:02:00] to learn a little bit more about you, your background, what got you into this decision to make U Brew and, and then talk about where you've started building the brand and where you hope to go with it. So.

Andrew Ellis: Yeah, absolutely. So, yeah. Little backstory. I always have to give credit to John Clark.

Andrew Ellis: I don't know if you know John. He started Vienna Coffee.

Chris Hill: Oh, okay. Yeah.

Andrew Ellis: So John Clark is honestly who got me interested in like the roasting side of coffee. Up until that point, it was Starbucks because of caffeine. That's all I drank. Um, and it was to get to school, to stay awake. And then he took me down.

Andrew Ellis: This was probably 2013, 2015, about a decade ago. He took me down to the, like, you know, his, like the basement where they were roasting. And it was like this whole operation. It was like a brewery. And at that point, craft breweries, I was all about. And so that got me interested in that. So then when I traveled around the country, instead of just going to breweries, I would go to roasters instead of coffee shops.

Andrew Ellis: And I started building that up and I just built a passion for that. Craft coffee, specialty coffee. Craft beer, bourbons, and [00:03:00] scotches. Those are all like hand in hand. The experience, the like, the sensory behind it was all the same. And so U Brew came about because I just stopped drinking alcohol. And when I did that, I thought I was going to save money.

Andrew Ellis: But all that money that was spent on those other three vices all went back into coffee. And because of that, um, U Brew started Based off a note in my phone that says, Monetize love for coffee, question mark. I was like, alright, how can I build a company that helps me pay for my habit, as well as my travels, that also helps build something in the community for people to do together that are like me.

Andrew Ellis: That don't want to just go after work to the bar with their friends and watch as everyone gets drunk. And so, that's how U Brew was born. Actually, a year ago, February 21st, I started the LLC specifically with that goal in mind. We've made a lot of pivots since. Um, added a lot of things in, we'll get into, I'm sure.

Chris Hill: Yeah.

Andrew Ellis: Yeah.

Chris Hill: Yeah, that's, that is so cool and I mean I can understand that progression to a degree because I came from the like the legit opposite [00:04:00] direction. I discovered coffee right after high school when I was in college and I was um procrastinating on papers and you know needed a needed something to keep me awake and um coffee ended up becoming a habit in college and I went to UT Chattanooga.

Chris Hill: So I got to Enjoy coffee down there a lot and I would find myself going to the coffee shops And what I loved was not going to a Starbucks going to Stone Cup I think it was the first one. I really remember being like kind of my Central coffee and I think they brew their own coffee. I believe so and and I and they did and then there's a few Few other folks around town that in Chattanooga that didn't.

Chris Hill: Those were my places. Those were the places I went and hung out. Like, I mean, it's new to Knoxville, but Aretha Frankenstein's, pre Chattanooga Fire was like one of my top hangout spots. And while they didn't have much coffee, they had coffee, but it was just. Coffee.

Andrew Ellis: Yeah.

Chris Hill: But everywhere else, I really like coffee for the sake of like coffee and wanted to learn more about it.

Chris Hill: Loved the roasting process and really got into it. So when, when I found out you were starting this [00:05:00]business, it got me excited because, because of that. So U Brew, so where did that name come from?

Andrew Ellis: Okay. So yeah, one of those pivots we talked about originally, the company was Full Bloom. Roast house.

Chris Hill: Okay.

Andrew Ellis: And so, uh, the concept was there's a lot behind coffee. It's not just brewing a cup of coffee. Once you really get into the mechanisms, there's a lot of different methods to brewing. Um, and there's a lot of like details, things like water ratios, brewing like one to 16. So one part coffee, 16 parts water, or one to 20, what kind of water you use, what minerals are in that water.

Andrew Ellis: The spec, like all kinds of stuff goes into coffee. One of those elements that kind of adds to the experience is blooming the coffee, which you don't normally get out of like an auto gripper. It's that initial pour that's usually two to three times how much, um, coffee you have, and then it literally blooms, you know, and so that coffee blooms up and it, what it does is it allows like gas to escape and whatnot.

Andrew Ellis: And not very many people I knew actually knew about Bloom. So I was like, all right, this is starting that slight education process with the company that I want to do. Um, so we started out with Full Bloom Roast House, cause my end goal, [00:06:00] five years down the road, I want to have a couple locations that are hubs for coffee.

Andrew Ellis: The most beans on tap, uh, for you to come, pick out, um, I have single dose vials I can show you later when we cup, um, pick out a single dose vial, pick out a method that you want to try out and brew your own coffee like you would get at a slow bar, rather than a coffee shop that's just pumping out as many cups at, at a time through an auto dripper or, you know, you know, your, your, um, air pots and whatnot. So

Andrew Ellis: Because a full bloom coffee house exists in North Carolina, and I have my goals of being in multiple states, I didn't want to get down the line and have some kind of battle with them, or some kind of bad blood, because I'd love to use the roasts. Um, so, this was right before I was solidifying the LLC, like I was right in the early process, and I kind of panicked.

Andrew Ellis: My wife and I were just Like back and forth, back and forth. What can work? And we're like, well, the whole concept is you brewing the coffee. So I'm there. Coffee is a journey. I'm there to be your [00:07:00] guide and to kind of give a little bit of education, but a lot more of experience with it. And it's all about you brewing.

Andrew Ellis: So we'll get to that later. You're gonna brew your coffee. You're gonna be hands on through the whole process. And we're like, oh, U Brew sounds good. Um, but you, like the word you and brew kind of don't look that good together. It also has a lot of YouTube type mentality. So we're like, all right. That's not going to work.

Andrew Ellis: However, U kind of looks like a coffee mug. So, all right, then I started brainstorming with that. I was sketching out the logo and I was like, all right, I can make the U a coffee mug and maybe I can be clever with the handle and lead that into the brew. And so we started there and then the iterations came out and it just worked out because I turned the U into like a university style letter with the cup inside of it to take advantage of white space and balance.

Andrew Ellis: I was like, all right, this looks good. We'll go with U brew. Um, and that's, that's where we stayed since

Andrew Ellis: then.

Chris Hill: That's nice. And, and I like the way, um, like as you're describing it, I'm like, Oh, duh, that makes total sense as to why it was U and, and, and all those things that, that makes a [00:08:00] lot of sense. How far along on this journey are you?

Andrew Ellis: Okay. Yeah. So like I said, uh, solidified the LLC February 21st of last year. So I'm about to finish up my first year. I solidified it because I have, you know, I have friends that like I bounce ideas off of. And I have a lot of great ideas always, um, but a lot of them have a hard path to follow through with and then being ADHD, I just move on to the next one before I can do that anyways.

Andrew Ellis: Um, and I have a friend that's a developer out in, um, Austin, Round Rock, Texas. He's a senior developer for Apple and he was having some stocks that we're going to realize and he's like, Hey, this is actually the best idea you've ever had. I need to put these stocks into something and I would love to look at investing in this if you would start a, uh, a shop in Austin or Round Rock.

Andrew Ellis: Um, and I was like, this is awesome. Let me get that LLC. Uh, and then this year has been kind of like a build up ramp up. The, my second year is going to be a lot about proof of concept. I want to start a location in Knoxville and then quickly [00:09:00] move out to Round Rock and have a second location. So right now we're, uh, I just, we talked, I quit my job.

Andrew Ellis: This is my first week. I'm focusing full time on Uber, so I'm about to, I'm in the bulk phase. Right now I've got some branding, I've got identity, I've got a company and a presence. And now I'm just going to work with that and build up that clientele. More of the marketing side of it, less of the word of mouth, and really take what I've got and put it out there.

Andrew Ellis: So that's where I'm at, we're bulking this season.

Chris Hill: And in most businesses, like, I find, and I know this was the way it was for me, like there's this point of like, I can do this. Like, you just know, you have validation in your business that what you're doing makes sense. And it might be that your friend, like you mentioned earlier, who said, Hey, I'm willing to put money into it.

Chris Hill: That's always a big encouragement. Um, but it might be something else. Like, what was the moment you knew that the business was truly validated?

Andrew Ellis: So, again, there's a couple moments. You talked about that. When someone is willing to risk money on you, that's when you know you have an idea that's worth something.

Andrew Ellis: The moment [00:10:00] I knew that my idea was going to work, was when it was so easy to get roast, like I got 20 roasters within a couple months that were willing to wholesale partner with me, even though I'm not a retail shop that's going to consistently buy and stock only their beans, they are fully aware that I'm cycling their beans through much like a subscription box, but in person with like a hands on experience.

Andrew Ellis: And I was able to sell those roasters on that. Idea very easily. They were all on board. It was like, I was, Oh, I have something here. I have something that, that brings value not only to the roasters, but to the community and everything's kind of. What I've always valued is building up small roasters, local done large mentality, and really just connecting the community with them.

Andrew Ellis: And that was my, that was my like, okay moment. Like when I just, wholesaler on, wholesaler on, wholesaler on, wholesaler on, and I was like, okay, I need to stop because I need to get through these first. Um, and that's a great problem to have. I can't bring on any more right now because I'm already backed [00:11:00] up on, on that supply.

Andrew Ellis: And so that was, That was the moment for me. It felt really good.

Chris Hill: Yeah. It always, it always feels good when you got people that are willing to, um, to back what you're doing and, uh, and, uh, go into it with you. How have you found it on the other side? So you got the wholesalers. What about the audience or the customer base?

Andrew Ellis: Yeah. So that was another moment where I got my first people that actually found me on Google. I wasn't running any ads. They found me on Google. They're like, Hey, what do you do? I'm like, at this point I was Literally only doing so my, my whole booking process is in home or in office. It's a, almost like you would do a, like private chef come over and show you how to make a meal, right?

Andrew Ellis: I do that with coffee. Um, and so it's meant to be in home per person or in offices, team building. Um, and all I did outside of that was in my kitchen, which was for friends and family, just to like, kind of. Tweak my process and I had people just hit me up off Google and come to my home to do this and I was like, All right, people like this.

Andrew Ellis: All right, that was that's really good. So it's definitely an experience that no [00:12:00] one in Knoxville I would say at least 95 percent of people have not ever done a public facing cupping like what I do and it's with Roasters small roasters that they probably would never get to try their beans.

Chris Hill: No

Andrew Ellis: and so it's It's definitely received really well, and it ends with them taking beans home.

Andrew Ellis: So everyone loves free coffee. So that helps.

Chris Hill: Yeah, that definitely does. What, so when you say cupping, what does that mean?

Andrew Ellis: Yeah, yeah, um, so that's one thing where cupping, I really thought a lot of people wouldn't know what it is. But you'd be surprised how many people are like, Oh, a cupping. Yeah, it is a tasting.

Andrew Ellis: I always explain it like a wine tasting and pairing. So what we do is, uh, you'll see later, we set up usually five beans. I have five beans to sample from each roaster. So we can be able to compare and contrast the different profiles. Um, and then we have a sixth mystery bean. That's one of the five. That's one of the things we try to do is figure out which one that is.

Andrew Ellis: But it's really just a tasting, and it's paired with fruits, nuts, caramels, and chocolates. Sometimes baked goods, um, not very many beans have a profile [00:13:00] with a baked good in it. But when they do, well, I'll include baked goods in that. Um, but it really is just trying coffee. We smell, taste it, journal about it, talk about it, try foods.

Andrew Ellis: I've got a sensory box where they smell, uh, scents that are specific to coffee, and just try to develop a palate. And, really just establish a better appreciation for coffee. Yeah. So that's what a cupping is.

Chris Hill: I got you.

Andrew Ellis: Tasting is a better way to explain it, but cupping is the, the, the official term, I guess.

Chris Hill: Yeah. So I have many thoughts on that. Um, one, this, this kind of goes back to like me saying I come from the opposite direction, right? So I started with coffee and then I found craft beer. And then I started a podcast on craft beer and I realized I had no way to explain to people what I was tasting. And in an audio format where you can't even show video like we're doing today.

Chris Hill: You know, what you end up with is a situation where you've got to learn how to explain things. Taste, you know, does this taste piney? Does this taste [00:14:00] fruity? What kind of fruit do you taste? Like, all those things really matter, and I found some really good resources for learning that, but that's a real challenge for people to learn, and I think one of the cool things that you're doing with a cupping is I don't think people realize how disconnected they are from their senses, especially when it comes to taste.

Chris Hill: Like, they'll say something tastes good or bad, but most people can't explain it beyond that. And then when they get into a situation like a cupping or a sommelier or a, um, I'm forgetting the craft beer term right now, but it'll come to me before we're done with this. Um,

Andrew Ellis: Cicerone.

Chris Hill: Cicerone. Thank you. Yes.

Chris Hill: Yeah, that's it.

Andrew Ellis: I think that's it, right?

Chris Hill: No, that is. Um, but with, with those, um, Those people, that creates a level of intimidation. It's like, well, I'm not going to get this right. There is no right. There is no right. But, but, but people think there is and they're intimidated from it. And so they just don't explain it further than maybe something that they taste or something that reminds them

Chris Hill: of. So.

Andrew Ellis: Yeah, um, that's something where what I do really helps solve that element. Um, because it's in a, it's [00:15:00] in a group session or a private session where It really takes away those barriers of being, like, feeling like you're wrong because we're all talking about it. And I start by telling people that the profiles that we're going to be discussing are what the roaster intended, what they were able to pull out with the methods they use.

Andrew Ellis: The same bean, we can do, we can brew five different ways and get five different tastes out of it. Um, so whatever you're tasting, it probably does relate to what they were tasting because it's the volatile compounds. It's, it's the acid, it's what's being brought out in it. Um, and my goal is Uh, I always joke when we first smell, I'm like, you're going to smell, you're going to smell coffee.

Andrew Ellis: You're going to smell dirt. That's fine to put. Obviously, that's nothing. We're not there yet. Um, but that's what you're smelling. And we're going to try to go from that and build from it. And the flavor wheels with, um, coffee are very similar to wine. So they start with those basics in and they get nuanced as you get out.

Andrew Ellis: So it's a really way, it's a way to be like, do you, do you taste fruity? Do you taste nutty? Do you taste woody? One of those? [00:16:00] Okay. Now is it a citrusy taste? It is, is it a berry taste? Um, and it's a really easy way to just get them to be like, okay, I'm tasting this, which it may or may not be, but that's what they're tasting.

Andrew Ellis: So next time they taste that in a coffee, they can be like, Oh, this is like, to me, this is blueberry. I'm tasting blueberry for me. And I like that. For me, I've noticed Mexican coffees have a tendency to have apple and baking spice. Um, and when it has a really crisp granny Smith apple. That's what I'm tasting.

Andrew Ellis: It might be something totally different. Usually that's what the roaster is intending, but I know when I, when I taste that apple, I like this, even though it might not be apple. Um, and it's fun too, because I've taken many courses on this and I've gotten almost to the professional level of it. And I still will taste something totally different.

Andrew Ellis: I just did a tasting with Starbucks Reserve, which I always give Starbucks crap because I'm small, they're big, and you've got to do that. Um, but the Reserve, they do something, they've started something very similar to what I do.

Chris Hill: Oh, it's not just burnt coffee?

Andrew Ellis: Huh? It's not [00:17:00] just burnt coffee. Um, the Reserve cop beans, which are only sold at each of the Reserve locations, are actually Because they're not sold so vastly, they can take more time with the process, the selection, the process of it.

Andrew Ellis: It doesn't have to be, for the masses, pushed out. And so I did that, and even though everyone there knew that I knew what I'm talking about, I'm just keeping my mouth shut because I'm tasting something totally different. Like, I'm tasting, like, rose or blossom in it. And every time I taste rose, it's not rose.

Andrew Ellis: It never is. But I don't know what that taste actually is that I'm tasting, but it is consistent. And so I'm here knowing what I'm doing, and it's off from what it actually is intended to be. Um, so everyone has, has their own, own personal experience with coffee.

Chris Hill: One thing I always recommend to people, um, if they're interested in learning about taste, is John Cleese's Guide to Wines.

Chris Hill: I think it's still on Netflix. It might be on YouTube by now. Um, but he does a really good job of like making it an everyman's problem and talks about it in a very humorous way because [00:18:00] it's John Cleese, um, Monty Python thing. But it's, um, that, that one was a really good one for me to, to kind of learn.

Chris Hill: That's where it kind of hit me. I'm like, Oh, I don't have to be right. I can, I can just say what I taste and I think that's really important

Chris Hill: to the process.

Andrew Ellis: And a lot of the experts out there like Hoffman and, uh, Hedrick. They are really going against, they're bumping against it of like, they don't take it as seriously.

Andrew Ellis: It's like, hey. You can do it this way. Everyone says to do it this way, but let's try this instead. Oh, 1 to 16. No, I'm going to do a 1 to 12 ratio. It tastes good to me. And so it's, it's all about preference. It's about, um, when it comes to taste, a lot of it's your memories. And so whatever that brings up for you is valid.

Chris Hill: You've got the cuppings. You've got this future for like a physical store that you want to build. Um, but what else do you have on the horizon? What are you planning? What are you doing?

Andrew Ellis: So, just this week, I filmed my first video. Um, I did make a pivot with some of my [00:19:00] products just recently. Building a brand is all about pivots. Compromises, pivots. Your concept, like for instance, my target audience, was supposed to be people like me. It's not, and we're, I'm adjusting to that, but I also am adjusting with product because I need something to lead people in. A product that funnels people down. And so, And in my courses, what I, what I show people is all the different uses for coffee after you've used it up, those spent grounds, and one of them is body scrubs.

Andrew Ellis: The other is when beans go bad or I don't like them, I use them and I make candles, um, to get that kind of roasted smell while it burns. And so I started making body scrubs and candles solely because the people were like, do you sell this? And I'm like, no, no intention of selling, you know, you know, cosmetics or candles.

Andrew Ellis: Um, and they're like, you have to do this. So I took my big bag of scrub that I have for myself and I put it in little samples, gave it to them. They tried it at home. Everyone loved it. And I'm like, all right, people are going to buy this. So I started making body scrubs with the spent grounds. I started making a coffee mug candles.

Andrew Ellis: So I've actually got candles in my U Brew mugs, um, that once you burn [00:20:00] it, you can actually, there's a process to get the remaining wax out. And then it's safe to use after. Um, so a lot of like really sustainability with it. So reusing things. And so I just, I'm launching my first video for the candles because a smell is very hard to market.

Andrew Ellis: And I've, I think I've come up with a great way for that. So on the horizon, I'm, I'm building out e commerce right now to sell those type of products. Cause there's the experience side of it, which is my passion and a hub for people to come and have community together. There's also that, that side of e commerce that helps pay the bills to keep the passion going.

Andrew Ellis: Um, cause I'm sure, you know. You've got to make compromises to make money, um, that way you can continue doing what you want to do. And so we got scrubs and candles coming, which I'm excited

Andrew Ellis: about.

Chris Hill: Yeah, and it can be hard when you're, you're thinking about a retail space. Those are traditionally lower margin businesses, right?

Chris Hill: Um, the service, the cuppings can be very profitable, but that's probably going to end up being seasonal, I would imagine. And then, um, I mean, I could be wrong on that.

Andrew Ellis: So not seasonal, but time constrained because not many people are going to want to do a cupping at four o'clock in the afternoon. So, and there's, I'm starting [00:21:00] to find more decaf options that are good from small roasters.

Andrew Ellis: Um, I've actually got one that I'm super excited to try that I was like, Oh, this is the first decaf that I'm like, you should be proud of this. Not just, it's okay. You should be proud of this. It's from 8th and Roast that I have for this month. And so it's getting there. So once I can find five solid roasters that had decaf, then I can fix that, solve that problem where we can still try good coffees and get that experience without being too wired to go to bed.

Andrew Ellis: But that is a big constraint for me, is I can only work from seven to maybe two. That's

Andrew Ellis: right. Yeah. Yeah. And you got to find people that are available during those times, which like a married couple, like they got to work during the work week. Like, so are you working a lot of weekends for that?

Andrew Ellis: Weekends are, are the biggest.

Andrew Ellis: The in office can happen throughout the week. So I really want to build up the rep. Um, I want to like. Be the guy that can come into office and have a good team building experience. And so that's where I solved that problem throughout the week. I just did a birthday party for a husband booked me for his wife's birthday party and they had their friends over and that was during the day.[00:22:00]

Andrew Ellis: So there are people out there, um, especially with a service like this that have more freedom with their schedule, those entrepreneurs, those small business owners, where they can take a morning to do it together. Um, but that's not the majority. And that's why the space would be nice to have people come in whenever they want and do their own experience and kind of have a guide there, like a concierge.

Andrew Ellis: Um, but

Andrew Ellis: yeah,

Chris Hill: you know, taking classes and learning about coffee and all that. Is there like a Cicerone or sommelier level thing for being a coffee connoisseur?

Andrew Ellis: So Q graders, those quality graders, um, I think there's like 600 in the United States, like a 4 thousand, 5 thousand don't quote me on that. There are a very small amount relatively of Q graders in the United States.

Andrew Ellis: That's what they call them, Q

Andrew Ellis: graders.

Andrew Ellis: And that's kind of like with wine, like if you look, if you go to a store and you see a wine that's rated 95. Um, that's been agreed upon by like, like a few, you know, graders that are like, okay, this is consistently a 95. It's got that award or that certification. Uh, [00:23:00] coffee's the same way.

Andrew Ellis: So those Q graders, if you want a coffee to be especially coffee, it actually 80 or higher. Or it's not technically specialty. Any small roaster that has good beans, I will automatically consider them a specialty, because it's one of those things where it's something you pay for. You can have organic coffee, but you're not paying, like those farmers aren't paying for the sort of like the label of organic.

Andrew Ellis: Um, but I'll still tell people it's organic. You know, like I know this farmer, you know, is organic. Um, but when it comes to specialty coffee, those Q graders are who makes those, those ratings. Um, and so that's like the tip top, that's where I want to be. And that's in like 20, 000 of courses. Um, so I'm, I'm breaking, breaking through that right now.

Andrew Ellis: Um, hopefully again in five years, I want to have that, that qualification. Um, and you have to be a super taster, um, to kind of hit that. And there's very few, like 25 percent of tasters are super tasters. Um, so you either have it or you don't. Um, if you have a little bit of it, you can help develop [00:24:00] it. Um, but the majority of super tasters are actually women, so I've got a few things working against me, um, but I do kind of have a natural talent for it, so hopefully I'll get there.

Chris Hill: Cool, that's awesome. Yeah, I mean, those things can be a challenge to attain, but once you do it, it adds another level of credibility to what you're doing and when you do things. Helps establish you, which helps with that reputation.

Andrew Ellis: Feel like we're on Sesame Street right now.

Chris Hill: That's right.

Chris Hill: That's right. With Taylor Swift, apparently. Um, didn't she have a reputation too? I don't know. I don't know enough about Taylor Swift. I'm gonna sound like an old man. We might cut that out. That just makes me sound old and

Chris Hill: curmudgeonly.

Andrew Ellis: To be fair, so like I'm not really like a Swiftie.

Andrew Ellis: I'm not really a music person. Okay. I enjoy music and I enjoy Taylor Swift's stuff and like a lot of her albums are awesome. Um, but I'm not one of those people that's like, Oh yeah, so I don't know any of the names of songs. I don't know anything. My favorite artists. I won't, I couldn't tell you their songs.

Andrew Ellis: So I've never been that person, but.

Chris Hill: It's all good.

Andrew Ellis: So you're not old. I'm younger than you and I'm in the same

Andrew Ellis: boat. [00:25:00]

Chris Hill: Well, that's, that's really cool. So you're, the tagline for U Brew, is take a journey. Where did that come from?

Andrew Ellis: Coffee comes from around the world, between the tropics, but around the world. Um, and when you, when you have an experience like what I do, it, it helps you travel the world without leaving your kitchen or without leaving a single space.

Andrew Ellis: So it allows us, like in most cases, there's five different origins that we're tasting and we're able to pull out different out, like coffees taste different based off altitude, based off the country, based off the terroir, the soil, things like that. And so coffee is a journey. Um, and what I've set out to be is the guide for that journey.

Andrew Ellis: And so it just shortened to take a journey. So it's a journey for the senses. Um, my products that I use as byproducts, they're also a journey for the senses. So take a journey just kind of became that, um, that call to action almost of like, take a journey with me, let's do this together, and I think, I think it fits well, again, a year from now, my update, you know, my [00:26:00] logo, my tagline, everything, it's all about pivoting.

Andrew Ellis: But for now, that's where we're at.

Chris Hill: And I mean, you know, they talk a lot in marketing about, you know, you want to guide the user on a journey and you even mentioned like the products that you have kind of guide them on a journey to like, Oh, well, you know what? I got that candle from them at Valentine's Day.

Chris Hill: And now I'd love to see what else they do. So I'm sure you have a plan for keeping them in the loop. Yep. Getting those people

Chris Hill: on your email list.

Andrew Ellis: Automations, yeah.

Chris Hill: Oh yeah.

Andrew Ellis: My, my brand is transparency and personal. Um, so I'm trying to avoid too much of like email blasts and, and, and retargeted text messages.

Andrew Ellis: Trying to avoid as much of that as possible, but definitely going to have to create some automation to, to, to funnel them back and retarget. Um, but that's just part of the business.

Chris Hill: Yeah. You got to work

Chris Hill: smart when you're the only one starting a business and getting it going. So

Andrew Ellis: yeah, especially on the e commerce side, the experience side, I can only do so much.

Andrew Ellis: Um, and eventually I'll have people under me that I've, I've kind of [00:27:00] trained to kind of do my presentation. But it really is me wanting to connect with those people. Um, so I can only do so many, so I don't have to worry about, you know, volume because that's a good problem to have is when you have too many people waiting.

Andrew Ellis: Um, but I don't want to actually get to that point with the experience side. Just the e commerce. I don't want to be, like, freaking out trying to make more candles because I've got orders. That'd be a great spot to be at. Um, pay some people to just make candles for me.

Chris Hill: So what do you see the future of U Brew being?

Andrew Ellis: To be the coffee guy. I want to be that, um, source for good coffee that, like, experience to where the normal person, the coffee curious or the coffee fan, um, doesn't have to, like, go through courses or really get that serious about it, but they can get a little bit of that experience. And the future of U Brew, I want to be around the country as this place for anyone to come to to experience coffee.

Andrew Ellis: Um, and so that, um, that's kind of like the future for you, Bru. Obviously the e commerce is not the future. It's the near future, but I just want [00:28:00] to have a space for people to come have community and experience coffee.

Chris Hill: Nice.

Andrew Ellis: And if I can have one in every state, that would be. The perfect

Andrew Ellis: goal.

Chris Hill: I think it's a really cool goal.

Chris Hill: I think that, I think you said it well with experiencing coffee, because it is different because there's coffee shops all over the place, but to come and actually get the experience of trying something new, I think that'll be really cool for you. So yeah, definitely wish you the best with that. That's awesome.

Andrew Ellis: Thanks, man. Yeah.

Chris Hill: Um, so we're going to, we're going to jump in in a minute and go over here and actually do a cupping. I'm really looking forward to this. Um, can you, is there anything you want to explain now before we get over there or should we do another cut of this and

Andrew Ellis: No like I can walk through it real quick

Andrew Ellis: Go for it ,

Andrew Ellis: So with the cupping, what i'm gonna do I'm actually going to make you work You're gonna, we're gonna pretend like you're in the class GTMG, But what we're gonna do is we're gonna grind beans together um we're gonna leave some whole beans we're gonna grind beans in the other tube and what we're gonna do is smell the whole bean, compare that to what we smell in the freshly ground beans , um i'll actually let you smell it a little later too because That's going to point out why you buy whole [00:29:00] beans.

Andrew Ellis: Why that's like, why that's something that you should do is get a, get a good grinder and buy whole beans because after it's ground, that aroma and fragrance goes so fast, but we're going to go through that and kind of experience that start to develop it. And then we're going to steep our coffee right in the little, uh, bowls.

Andrew Ellis: It's what we call the cupping part of it. Um, that's going to kind of like cowboy coffee. It's going to brew the coffee in the bowl. The beans are going to soak to the top and make a crust. We're going to break that. That's everyone's favorite part. Um, that's when you're going to get the most aroma and then we're going to taste it.

Andrew Ellis: Um, and the whole time we're going to be talking. I'll like, this is actually. Uh, hopefully new wholesaler soon, uh, Manchester Coffee Co. So this'll be my first actual cupping with them. I've brewed pour overs with them so far, but this'll be my first cup, official cupping. So you'll actually get to be my everyday man for this cupping.

Andrew Ellis: My, uh, uh, what do you call that baseline? You'll be my baseline and I'll see. Kind of how everyone tastes it.

Chris Hill: All right, Andrew.

Chris Hill: Well, um, we finally got [00:30:00] everything moved over, set up to film here and talk about the cupping process. So walk me through what we're doing.

Andrew Ellis: Absolutely. So this is, we talked about this.

Andrew Ellis: This is my passion. This is my favorite part of any kind of, uh, podcast or any, any presentation. This is the sensory experience. This is where we're going to go through smell, taste, talk about what we're experiencing, um, and hopefully develop a little bit of a palette for these three coffees. I got them turned around now, so you can't cheat.

Andrew Ellis: Um, but what we're gonna start out with, you're gonna get a little hand, like a little hands on with what the process is. So we're gonna start by making you grind your own beans. Okay. Um, that's where we're gonna, I'll trade you, I'll take your mic. Okay, alright. You grab that. Yep, so go ahead and pour the beans, um, into the top, the whole beans on the right.

Andrew Ellis: Yep, just pour that in. And you've used a grinder before, so you're aware. Yep, so just put the lid back on. I've got a fancy, expensive grinder, which makes things much harder. It's got a cup, it's got a cup, so you're just going to grind into that cup. Yeah, yeah, it's got a, yeah, yeah, yeah, no, it, [00:31:00] uh, it does not come out until you're tired in the morning and you forget to put the bottom, the cup in the bottom and you realize you ground all over your floor.

Andrew Ellis: Um, other than that, it's normally pretty clean. All right, so now you'll pop off the bottom. You'll see it just comes right off. You got it. Be very careful. There we go. Dump that into your cup. Yep. Right there. And that's typically the first spot we do. You can put the cut back on and just set that to the side.

Andrew Ellis: I'll actually trade you back.

Chris Hill: There you go.

Andrew Ellis: It was a little awkward for a podcast, but we made it work. Um, so that, that's the first part we get that hands on of like, Hey, at home, if you don't have whole beans yet, that's how simple it can be. It doesn't have to be 150 grinder. I've got some over here, um, that I.

Andrew Ellis: 15. You can get a good grinder, a decent enough grinder. Um, you can get manual, electric, whatever you want. We just show how easy it can be to go from hole to ground at home. Cause that's the first barrier for people is let's get a whole bean so we can have a better coffee. And then [00:32:00] the next part, this is where we start to smell.

Andrew Ellis: So come through, smell the whole beans and then the fresh grounds. You can pick it up and get it. This is where that wine pretentious, like why not? Uh, just get down in there. You're probably not going to smell much with the whole beans and that's what we want to coffee. It smells like coffee. And then go through the grounds and see if hopefully with these beans, we're going to open up a little bit of the aromatics.

Andrew Ellis: The fragrance.

Andrew Ellis: Yeah. It definitely smells different.

Chris Hill: Now, are these different grinds, different levels

Chris Hill: of grind?

Andrew Ellis: No, same grind. So with the cupping, there is a, there are like specifications with, with SCA cuppings.

Chris Hill: Okay.

Andrew Ellis: In my classes, we do modified because we don't want to be too specific. Okay. Um, but with this, we do have a specific ratio.

Andrew Ellis: So both of these are the same grind size and 12 grams per 225 milliliters.

Chris Hill: Nice.

Andrew Ellis: Um, So, it is very specific on this part, but really after that, I let people get close enough because none of us, not even me, are good enough yet to [00:33:00] truly tell the nuances with a few, like if this was 12 and a half grams, we're not going to know.

Chris Hill: Yeah, I gotcha. I gotcha.

Andrew Ellis: Q graders, they would be like, Hmm, something's off. It's a little underextracted or, you know, overextracted or something.

Andrew Ellis: Interesting.

Chris Hill: Yeah. Lots of sniffing on this podcast.

Andrew Ellis: I know, right?

Chris Hill: For those that are listening, this is a very interesting experience. We're into

Chris Hill: the mic.

Andrew Ellis: We're going to steep the coffee together.

Andrew Ellis: So if you grab your kettle over there, I've made this extremely easy for everyone. You are going to steep the far right cup and you're just going to slowly pour until it gets to the top of the rim and hopefully covers all the beans. Move it around just to cover the beans, just like you would if you were brewing coffee and go all the way to the top of the rim.

Andrew Ellis: And that's going to be 2. 25 because this is a specific bowl for this.

Chris Hill: When we do this one too, or just

Andrew Ellis: no, [00:34:00] leave that one. Cause that's going to be part of this experience in the class. We'll eventually go through and do those as well. Um, and then it's really good because then we have a freshly like hot, um, steep, and we have one that's cooled down, which.

Andrew Ellis: Give us a better experience. Um, but this is the part where we're definitely going to have to cut the podcast cause we got to wait five minutes. Um, but yeah, so I'll kind of explain it while we do that right now. What we're doing is brewing the coffee.

Chris Hill: Okay.

Andrew Ellis: It's brewing itself. It's steeping. It's building that crust that I talked about.

Andrew Ellis: This is the part where we're going to use our cupping spoons and break that while your nose is like. Nose deep in coffee, and that's gonna, I think that'll be the best experience for you with these beans. It's gonna smell really good. Yeah, I think that's better than the tasting portion. Okay. Um, so we're gonna be able to smell the three differences right now, break that and then smell what that smells like.

Andrew Ellis: And that's where you're gonna be like, Oh wow, that's, that's cocoa or fig or apple. That's when you're really going to get that, that push. We have these like scents that are the scents for [00:35:00] coffee. Um, and I would love for them to engineer a scent that kills your nose, like it just clears everything. That would be amazing.

Andrew Ellis: So whoever's out there, if you know how to be a chemist, make that for me, please. I'd love that. If you're seeing this and you know You know your chemistry. Make me a scent that clears

Andrew Ellis: all scents.

Chris Hill: Or maybe, maybe have people like bring a neti pot with them before they, before they start the experience.

Andrew Ellis: I've joked about that because I have nasal washes.

Andrew Ellis: People, people come to cupping that they would have just got a cold. And so really when your nose is stopped up, it does block a lot of that. And so I'll be like, Hey, I got a nasal rinse. You want to, you want to go to the bathroom for a second? It's fresh. I got totally new ones. You got to replace them. You can just use it.

Andrew Ellis: Now that we've let this steep, this is where the crust is really held in. a lot of the aroma.

Chris Hill: Okay.

Andrew Ellis: I'm going to break one. You can break the other two. Okay. Because this is a little specific for you to get the best experience. Um, because you've got to break the crust without going too deep because you're going to stir up the coffee grounds.

Andrew Ellis: So it's [00:36:00] very simple. If you look It is this motion right here. You're just going to scoop down and back, get that nose down in there. Push down just a little bit more.

Chris Hill: Oh, yeah,

Andrew Ellis: there you go. There we go. That motion right there is what just let the aroma out, but it broke that crust in a, in a gentle way so that those beans are now going to float to the bottom and it's going to prepare it for us to actually taste now.

Andrew Ellis: Now we wait five minutes.

Chris Hill: Now we wait another five minutes, okay.

Andrew Ellis: Um, a lot of it's like based off the SCA standards, they say like four to six or five to eight. Five typically works the best for my cuppings. It gives it enough time on both and it's easy for people to remember.

Chris Hill: Yeah.

Andrew Ellis: Five is, it's easy for me to add five to 422.

Chris Hill: Yeah.

Andrew Ellis: So it's like, oh, 427, let's do it. So at this point We're ready to taste. This is the part where we would go around and taste them all, and we would document, now that you talked about the passport that I totally forgot about, um, this is where, and on that part, we've got, we've switched from what we smelled, now we're going to go into what we, what we're tasting, [00:37:00] um, and so we just go around a couple times.

Andrew Ellis: Taste. This is where I think it's fun because it's not so much pretentious. I would say ostentatious.

Chris Hill: Okay.

Andrew Ellis: Um, welcoming, but we're gonna, we're gonna look like wine snobs.

Chris Hill: Okay.

Andrew Ellis: But this is the fun part. You ready? All right. Yeah. Lightly dunk. to get the coffee without getting grounds. And I normally do two spoons.

Andrew Ellis: You can tell this is a lighter roast. And we're gonna give it a little swirl, open it up, give it a smell, and then there you go. And I always love to do a little swish after on the sides. I see, I see. Get all that in there. And normally, um, in this, we're set up on both sides of a table. So we typically go in a counterclockwise motion.

Andrew Ellis: It changes every class because I'll say how we're going to do it each, each time. And people just decide what they're going to do regardless. So you got people crossing over each other and I have to be like, Hey, everyone, let's just pick this direction in this time. What did you, did you taste anything with this one?

Chris Hill: It, it tasted It's hard to explain. Kind of [00:38:00] citrusy? Maybe a little

Chris Hill: bit?

Andrew Ellis: Yeah, so, um, I'm getting like fig to it. I don't know. Yeah,

Chris Hill: this one's more savory.

Andrew Ellis: This I want to go with like raisin, maybe.

Chris Hill: Yeah, this is good.

Andrew Ellis: In this they're all honestly with probably within 20 degrees of roast But they're very there's there's different profiles and typically in the class.

Andrew Ellis: We're trying to say, okay These are both light roasts, but they're different and what about them is different and this is where we'll normally discuss Then I'll reveal what it actually is and we'll all go, what? Or, I knew it . Um, but mo it's about 50 50 normally.

Chris Hill: Great.

Andrew Ellis: Thank you. Thank you all for coming.

Andrew Ellis: Yeah, it was fun to talk about. Thank

Andrew Ellis: you.

Chris Hill: Well, we, we still have a few more questions for you.

Andrew Ellis: Oh, yeah,

Chris Hill: yeah, yeah. Before, before you go. Um, you know, we always ask on the podcast, what brand, um, do you really admire right now? And I'd just love to know. What, what is that brand for you at the

Chris Hill: moment?

Andrew Ellis: Well, right now it's We Built This Brand.

Chris Hill: Oh, of course. Yeah.

Andrew Ellis: No, [00:39:00] honestly, I gotta say, yeah. Um, no, I definitely do love this, this type of, um, connection with brands, by the way. But this is gonna sound like fanboy and an easy answer, but Google, Google is mine. Um, I've always, I actually haven't always been a Google fan. But since the iPhone 5, when I transitioned to Google as a phone, um, I really got into the Google, like, ecosystem.

Andrew Ellis: And Google is known for dropping projects, um, but they're really good at dropping projects that aren't performing well, and they typically adapt. And that's where they'll switch from, like, Google Stadia dropped, but now they're doing, um, uh, Google Play on, like, on Cross platform to be able to do it on your PC.

Andrew Ellis: So they'll drop platforms, but they'll also absorb platforms. Like remember when Wwise got bought by Google and they started implementing the good things about that into Google Maps. Their, their branding is on point. They're, they're all their apps. They [00:40:00] constantly change the logos, but after like the first week, it's like, Oh.

Andrew Ellis: Yep, I like, I like how Google Fi's logo looks now. I love how this looks. Um, so they, obviously being as big as they are, they have a lot of resources.

Chris Hill: I,

Chris Hill: I think that's a, that's a perfectly acceptable. I mean, there is no right or wrong to the question, right?

Andrew Ellis: Uh, Apple might be the wrong answer.

Chris Hill: Well, you know, that's, leave, leave that to their own opinion,

Chris Hill: right?

Andrew Ellis: We've got a divided house. here. My wife loves her iPhones and I can't ever get her to switch over.

Chris Hill: Remind me what you were saying. What, what camera, you had to use a smartphone. What smartphone camera did you shoot on?

Andrew Ellis: Okay. Okay. Okay. So no, no, I did shoot this video this past video on an iPhone, but it's because iPhone style video works better on Tik Tok.

Andrew Ellis: All right.

Chris Hill: Okay.

Andrew Ellis: And I will say, to be fair, I think the pixels have an edge in photography, but when it comes to portrait style video, I will say iPhone does, I think, have a crisper, um, depth of [00:41:00] field naturally.

Andrew Ellis: So I will give them that, but it's solely because TikTok seems to like iPhones better. So that's what I'm going on.

Chris Hill: That's the algorithm you're fighting.

Andrew Ellis: Or it would definitely be a Google Pixel. So, um, but yeah, so I guess iPhone or Apple is not a wrong answer.

Chris Hill: Okay, . There we go. Thank you. Uh,

Andrew Ellis: um, are you an, you

Andrew Ellis: use iPhone, right?

Chris Hill: Yeah, I'm, I'm an Apple, apple boy,

Chris Hill: through and through, so

Andrew Ellis: I was too, um, until the transition and I'll never go back.

Chris Hill: I understand. Well, Andrew, thank you so much. Um, where can people find you? How can they find out more about U Brew if they're in Knoxville? Like what are some ways to get involved? Get

Chris Hill: connected?

Andrew Ellis: Yeah. Um, so we already talked about this, uh, TikTok, I'm social. Um, so if you find me anywhere it's U Brew coffee or U Brew coffee co.

Andrew Ellis: Um, it's very simple. The U, um, it stands for you, but just one letter. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram. You can find me on TikTok. Eventually I'll have some content going up on YouTube. I'm there right now, but you're not going to see much. Um, and then of course, U BrewCoffeeCo. com and that's [00:42:00] where the information is.

Andrew Ellis: That's how you can reach me on all the platforms. If you, if you like cringe content. Come follow me on TikTok. If you like some really cool video, uh, videos and photos that I've been putting together, Instagram. If you like to just hear me talk about what I'm doing with U Brew, Facebook. Um, so typically all the, all the socials.

Andrew Ellis: I'm also on Snapchat, but that's solely just to put stories out to, to see if people I've added just random people from across the country, like, Oh, suggested. Yep, yep, yep, yep. Let's add them. Post stories, hopefully, and I've made a few sales off Snapchat, which is kind of amazing. I feel like an old man on it, but hey, I'm on Snapchat.

Chris Hill: You're there.

Andrew Ellis: Yep.

Chris Hill: Awesome. Well, Andrew, thank you so much for your time today. This has been an incredible experience here. Um, I'm going to go home with the coffee jitters more than likely. It's been so good. And, uh, yeah, thank you so much for coming on. We built this brand.

Andrew Ellis: Absolutely. It's been a pleasure.

Chris Hill: Alrighty, sir. Take care.

Andrew Ellis: Thanks, man. All [00:43:00] right.