The Newest Thing In Coffee

The Newest Thing In Coffee

How One Utah Man Is Changing The Coffee Experience

I was quickly met by a wonderful aroma when I opened up the shipping packaging. I hadn't even opened up the actual bag of coffee yet. I sat it in my cupboard and soon, my cupboard was filled with the same incredibly flavorful aroma. The next morning, I opened the bag of beans to start grinding. I was in high anticipation of the taste after being amazed by the smell. The taste blew me away. It was bursting with flavor and richness. I never knew the difference truly fresh roasted coffee would make. That was until I was introduced to Sumato Coffee.

Ben Martinez was sitting in the Silicon Slopes Summit earlier this year. He was listening to the Utah all-stars of the tech industry talk about breaking up the stigmas around Utah. They wanted to find a way to break the stigmas and get top talent to move to Utah, specifically for the players in Silicon Slopes. As Ben was listening to them during the early morning session, he noticed they all had a soda or energy drink they're sipping on. Outside of Utah, that's pretty atypical. In most areas, you would instead see cups of coffee. They took a break at 10:30 and Ben and the other 5,000 people huddled out into the common areas. He set off searching for coffee. After being unsuccessful on his own, he inquired to a gentleman working the event. The coffee was far off in the corner. He poured a cup and was quickly disappointed. It was cheap, disgusting coffee.

This event activated spinning wheels in Ben's head. He has spent 20 years climbing the corporate ladder, moving around the country and working within some of the largest companies in the U.S. "Six states and six companies later, I was left with a few constants in my life - my wife, my kids and my love for coffee," Ben said. Working alongside Ben at a tech company in Utah, we quickly struck up conversations about coffee. He is known for toting books about coffee in his backpack. I would see his snapchats, up early brewing his coffee or watch him take an afternoon stroll to a local coffee shop for a brain break.

As Ben worked for various companies and even walked into those coffee chains or coffee shops, he was continuously disappointed with the poor quality of the coffee. Each instance, he grumbled over the lack of fresh roasted coffee. He looks at coffee as an experience, not just a hit of caffeine and he hopes to see others view coffee in a similar way in the future. This idea isn't solely one that belongs to Ben. Currently, we are experiencing the third wave of coffee. The third wave of coffee is a movement to produce high-quality coffee, and consider coffee as an artisanal foodstuff, like wine, rather than a commodity. Third wave coffee, "In all of its processes, from the origin of the harvested bean to the roasting and brewing process, is treated with the same reverence as fine wine and craft beer.”

To understand how the third wave of coffee came to be, we need to review coffee history. First wave coffee has roots back to the 1800s. Entrepreneurs quickly saw an open market for affordable, brew-ready coffee. This is where the birth of companies like Folgers and Maxwell House happened. They quickly amassed as household names across the United States. This first wave received criticism for their lack of taste and quality in an effort to make conveniently mass produced coffee. The quality was horrible but the father's of this wave made huge innovations in packaging and marketing. These innovations propelled an explosion of the coffee industry into the future.

The second wave of coffee was brought about by the reaction to the bad tasting, poor quality coffee of the first wave. Consumers started questioning the origin of their coffee as well as roasting styles. It brought about specialty coffee beans. The knowledge led consumers to look at coffee as an enjoyable experience instead of just another beverage. The second wave started receiving criticism for forsaking the source of the bean in order to create a marketable social experience of drinking coffee. Coffee shops, especially chains, became a big business, driving people into brick and mortar stores to drink their favorite coffee beverage. This is where the pumpkin spice craze developed. The coffee business most associated with the second wave is Starbucks.Matt Milletto of Water Avenue Coffee says, "Having been more than 20 years in the industry, I feel that the third wave is truly a way of appreciating a quality product." It's not just about the coffee we're consuming but also the way we think about the coffee we're consuming.

In the third wave, there is a massive emphasis on transparency. Consumers want to trace their coffee to the farm where it was harvested. There is an interest in the method of processing. Third wave roasters and coffee shops tend to be entrepreneurs who love great coffee and want to share great coffee with their community. They also have a huge interest in education. It is built into their marketing and business models. They want to provide education and consumer knowledge to customers. With a more highly educated consumer, the coffee industry will be strengthened. The third wave is creating a movement of experience, customer education and service.

This is how Sumato came to be. Ben was frustrated by the lack of quality coffee both in the workplace and homes. "My main mission is to easily provide fresh roasted coffee to those who can't otherwise get high accessible high-quality coffee," Ben said. In regards to improving the experience of coffee and contribute to breaking the stigmas around Utah, especially in the workplace, he said, "The one thing I can do is offer really good coffee." He wants it to be about the enjoyable experience and not about a quick hit of caffeine.

Leading up to creating Sumato, he dove head-first into research. He interviewed virtually every roaster in Utah. He would also go into local coffee shops and chain coffee stores, asking questions and looking for information. One thing he noticed is that in your big box coffee chains like Starbucks, the roast date isn't even listed on the package. He looked all over the bag. Even in grocery stores, you have to hunt for the date and often it is either hidden or nonexistent. When you do find a date, it is often 30 days to six months post roast date, even on the shelves of places like Harmon's or Whole Foods. When there is no date, you have no idea how old that coffee is. Up to this point, consumers haven't really demanded to know how fresh the coffee was. It's not something the typical coffee consumer thinks about or even knows to think about. When Ben would ask for roast dates, especially in the chain stores, they typically wouldn't have an answer for him. The baristas don't have the dates. He also learned the smell you experience when you walk into a Starbucks is fabricated. Since most of their locations don't do any roasting, they have a spray that creates a roasted coffee smell.

Ben, like others in the third wave of coffee, have a high emphasis on education. He wants to empower consumers to be educated on their coffee and coffee experience. Sumato is a Japanese word for smart. He wants people to be smart about their consuming choices. Ben said, "Fresh coffee is not freshly brewed coffee, it’s not freshly ground coffee, it is freshly roasted coffee." He went on to explain that it needs to be roasted within two to fourteen days of purchase. The roast date is critical. "You don't want to purchase coffee that is older than 14 days post roast date because it is no longer at peak freshness," Ben stated. It is consumable for 30 days post roast date. He said the roast date is critical for the optimal taste. "When you take fresh roasted coffee and grind it, you will experience the most robust and flavorful smell and taste," Ben urged. Coffee is known to be chocked full of antioxidants but what most consumers don't realize is that the coffee must be fresh roasted and consumed within that freshness window to receive the antioxidant benefits.

Ben officially launched Sumato on June 1. Sumato receives an order for coffee and then they begin roasting. They package the coffee with the roast date right on the bag. It is then delivered to your work or home. He even set up a customer-friendly subscription service. Previously, people were driving all over Utah to get fresh roasted coffee. Now, it can arrive on their doorstep of their homes or offices, right as they are ready for their next bag. Currently, they offer two sizes. One is the 12 ounce bag which will last about two weeks for someone who drinks a single cup a day. It's about 31 cups. There is also a 5 pound bag. This is the typical choice for most office consumers.

They had 67 orders on their first day which is incredible for a brand new, bootstrapped, startup business. Part of the success is thanks to partnerships they've developed. Artemis Health, a Utah medical software company, is just one of their incredible partners. Artemis will send a gift to their prospects and often include a bag of fresh roasted Sumato coffee. Not only do they appreciate the gesture, they love their coffee and want to know more. When he goes into talk with businesses here in Utah, he asks how they do coffee. Every workplace, people are talking about the coffee. Whether it's gross, convenient, etc. Sumato seeks to make the process easy for high-quality, enjoyable coffee in the workplace.

Ben says it is important to have the capability to trace the coffee bean to the farmer, where it was grown, what the story is behind the coffee and how the roasting is happening. "There's an art to roasting and by the time Starbucks ends up in your cup, it's old coffee," Ben said. "Experience the difference in artfully sourced and roasted coffee." He's excited to educate the market and provide convenience to Utah consumers. He's excited for them to understand why this coffee tastes so much better. "Be smart about what you are drinking," He said excitedly. "People outside of Salt Lake City previously thought they had to drive all the way downtown for the fresh roasted taste, but not anymore!"

Ben so graciously gave me a discount code to share with my readers. If you're interested in an unparalleled coffee experience, use promo code "sumatoMVP" for 20% off the first order and an additional 10% when you subscribe. To learn more about Sumato, check out their website, Instagram (@sumatocoffee), Facebook page and Twitter. Instagram is where you can see the most behind the scenes videos and photos. Additionally, if you want to up your coffee knowledge or just get to know the owner, follow Ben on Snapchat (@BenMartinezJ). For questions and inquiries, reach out to or

Cover Image Credit: Sumato Coffee

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5 Easy Ways For Healthy Girls To Thrive At Starbucks

Here's how to be healthy without being boring.

For your average college student, the desire to be healthy while not consuming your calories and sugar intake is a very challenging balancing act. Being a college student means that you rely completely on the university for food, are restricted to either making everything yourself, or you find a happy medium. It’s not always easy to go back to your dorm or apartment to make a healthy snack, so we have to rely on the restaurants and cafes that are readily available to us on campus.

Starbucks has a couple locations around my campus and is always bustling with students stopping between classes for a midday latte or refresher. It is the place to be, the place to go, and it is not impossible to be healthy while enjoying these drinks! As a barista at Starbucks, I have seen the ins and outs of how customers make their drinks. There is the default way that baristas will make your drink, but we can also customize it to you and your needs.

I am and will always be a cheerleader for Starbucks. I believe wholeheartedly in the values of being welcoming, being present, and challenging the status quo that Starbucks employees embody. I also believe wholeheartedly in the products we offer to our valued customers.

That being said, our society is becoming increasingly aware of how to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and the food and drink that we put into our bodies are important factors to this equation. What I am trying to do here is not by any means deter someone away from Starbucks. Wherever you go, no matter which café you choose to eat and drink at, the food and drinks are high in sugar to make its customers come back for more.

Starbucks, though, offers easy ways for its customers to increase the health benefits of your favorite drink. So the next time you are in line, approach the register, and are about to tell the barista what you are having today, keep these five simple tips in the back of your head to get your Starbucks fix without setting your fitness goals back.

1. Milk

One insanely easy way to cut down half the amount of sugar in your Starbucks drink is to simply substitute the default 2% milk for almond milk. Among it’s many other health benefits, paying a little extra for the almond milk substitute will cut down half the amount of sugar in your drink. This saves you an extra trip to the gym and will help you with your weight loss goals without having to completely cut out Starbs from your diet.

Soymilk is the next best substitute. It is sweetened with vanilla, so there is more sugar in this drink than one with almond milk. But, it is still a very healthy alternative compared to using any dairy-based milk.

2. Syrup

This one is a little more challenging, but not impossible. One easy way to cut down on the amount of sugar from the syrup flavoring alone is to ask your barista for half the pumps of syrup flavoring that the drink would normally get. I have personally tried this method, and I honestly can barely taste the difference! After sipping on my drink, my stomach and my mind feel so much better knowing that I just treated myself without wrecking myself.

Another good way to cut down on the amount of sugar from syrup-flavored drinks is to ask for Sugar-Free Vanilla instead of regular vanilla. Vanilla is by far the most popular syrup since it is used by default in many espresso and coffee drinks. Asking for this alternative will change your Grande vanilla iced coffee with milk from having over 20 grams of sugar to only about 3 grams, and asking for a Grande Skinny Caramel Macchiato will go from a whopping 32 grams of sugar to 18 grams of sugar.

3. Size Matters

If you are getting a hot espresso drink, go for a tall or a Grande. A tall has one shot of espresso, and a Grande AND a venti both have 2 espresso shots. Unless you are going to pay extra to add in another shot of espresso, avoid the venti, just treat yourself to a Grande, and call it a day because the extra milk and syrup make a difference.

4. Avoid the sauces

It’s fairly simple to make a Café Mocha healthier, but not so much a Café White Mocha. A Grande Mocha contains 34 grams of sugar, and a Grande White Mocha contains 58 grams of sugar. That is equivalent to eating a slice of Portillo’s Chocolate Cake AND a Double Chocolate Chunk Brownie from Starbucks. If this doesn’t phase you, then totally go for it! You deserve to drink what you want. For me, there are definitely days when I’ve been studying my butt off and want to treat myself, and I won’t even think twice about buying a Café Mocha as a pick-me-up drink. Now, you can ask for a Skinny Mocha which only contains 15 grams of sugar for a Grande. You still have the same delicious mocha taste with half the amount of sugar!

5. Want caffeine but not the sugar? Try the Shaken Iced Teas!

The black, green, and white teas at Starbucks do in fact contain caffeine. These are also very refreshing and now that spring has sprung, this is a great way to get your caffeine but also keep you refreshed! These are also cheaper than the espresso drinks which will make your wallet happy.

If the teas are too bitter for you, though, feel free to sweeten them with either a splash of lemonade or some syrup. A Shaken Iced Tea with sweetener contains about 11 grams of sugar, which is much less than the hot espresso drinks.

Cover Image Credit: Tirachard Kumtanom

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Thank You, Coffee.

Six things I love about coffee.

Coffee is the best thing about life, so I felt it was necessary to show my love for coffee, and that coffee for helping me get through all the tough times. I know a lot of people can thank just one cup of joe for helping them wake up for that early-as-fuck class or to stay up one more hour to study for that big tests you weren’t prepared for. So, here’s to you, coffee! Thanks for helping college students everywhere make it through the day.

1. Coffee is good any time of day.

Coffee is often thought of as a morning beverage, but it can really be made to fit any time of the day. You can have a coffee to wake up in the morning, refresh in the middle of the day, or to enjoy as a dessert. There are frozen coffee drinks, coffee topped off with whipped cream, and even coffee flavored ice cream and, the best, tiramisu!

2. There are so many varieties.

Hot, iced, cold brew, latte (hot or iced), cappuccino, macchiato (again, hot or iced), americano, Frappuccino, and on and on and on! Not to mention the various roasts – blonde to dark. So much to choose from.

3. Just plain coffee doesn’t really have any calories in it.

A plain, black coffee has about two calories. Just two calories! Adding dairy products and sugar and flavoring is what hikes up the calories. But, if you’re just talking about the coffee itself, just one cup is harmless.

4. Caffeine has been proven to be very beneficial!

Coffee lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke, reduces the chance of getting type 2 diabetes, protects the brain against Alzheimer's disease, promotes regular digestions (which is why it makes you poop!), prevents headache, and, best of all, help burn fat! Coffee also promotes a better, more motivated work out, and helps you keep burning calories if consumed after a work out!

5. Coffee goes with so many delicious goodies.

Bagels, donuts, danish, muffins, ect. The list goes on and on!

6. Most importantly, coffee is your friend.

Coffee wakes you up in the morning, keeps you warm when it’s cold, gives you that extra kick you need to take on the day, and tastes delicious! Coffee is good. Coffee is kind. Coffee will never hurt you. Coffee will never leave you.

Coffee is all you need.

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