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

Popular Right Now

​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.

Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:” Line Matters,

I want to start off by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can’t afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you’re just lazy and you “don’t feel like it”? Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you’re unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the US Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck.” stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:” line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can’t seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to ten people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!”

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the seventeen other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there’s a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 dollar bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of ten times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession - whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food, and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a forty dollar bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes - as if you’re better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you’ll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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The 5 commandments of drinking

My favorite time of day is happy hour!


Whether your choice of drink is a shot of tequila, a fine bottle of wine or some local beer, you should always try to adhere to these five choices that your body, mind, and soul will thank you for in the long run.

1. Know your limit.

One of the most important things you should remember when you're out drinking is knowing your limit and pacing yourself accordingly. First off, every individual's consumption limit is different. The limit typically depends on a range of factors. (i.e. height, sex, weight, etc.) This should be taken into account as well as the duration you will be drinking. Determining your blood alcohol tolerance can prevent you from getting too drunk or even worse, blacking out. Blacking Out is a phenomenon caused by an excessive intake of alcohol which causes an individual to not recall a period of time. Imagine having the best night out with your friends and not being able to remember any of it the next day. How tragic. I'd suggest if you're still trying to figure out what exactly your limit is, to take it one drink at a time.

2. Drink plenty of water.

You should always drink water no matter what! Water is your best friend, okay? Alcohol usually has the effect of depleting water from your body and the chances of being dehydrated are more likely. Drinking water in-between drinks will prevent hangovers, keep you hydrated and will help you from getting way too drunk for your liking. From my understanding, people typically drink to have some fun, socialize, or whatever it may be; but I think we can all fully agree, nobody drinks to feel immensely sick.

3. Don't drink on an empty stomach.

If you love yourself, please don't drink on an empty stomach. Remember to always eat something before you drink. Something is always better than nothing and your body will thank you for it. When you decide to drink on an empty stomach, the alcohol will absorb much quicker throughout your bloodstream and into your vital organs. Sure, you'll become intoxicated faster but the chances of becoming sick also highly increases––almost a guarantee. You could black out, do something incredibly stupid, or even vomit bile. Bile is a fluid that is made in your liver, stored in your gallbladder, and travels through your small intestine for digestion. These are the organs affected most when you're drinking, as well as your brain. Vomiting bile typically happens on an empty stomach and is far worse than vomiting regularly for the reasons that it's far more painful in your abdomen, sour taste in your mouth, and has you feeling nauseous for what seems like forever. I for one can vouch that this is the worst feeling in the entire universe.

4. Always be aware of your surroundings.

This one is for both the guys and gals out there. I'd like to believe the world is a nice place where I can enjoy a night out with my friends, have a drink, and not have a care for the world for once, but that's not always the case. My rule of thumb is to always be aware; whether it's out at a club, house party, or small get together with friends, anything can happen. You should always remember that no one is going to be there for you more than yourself, especially if you've had a few drinks.

5. Don't drink and drive.

I cannot emphasize this enough––please do not drink and drive. Do not drink and drive for your sake or anyone else's. If you're planning on drinking and you know you'll be in a situation where you're incapable of driving home later, plan accordingly. If you even have to question at any point in time if you are capable of driving, just don't do it. There's an abundance of choices who are more than willing to help you if this happens. (i.e. Designated driver, Lyft, Uber, Taxi, etc.) Anything is going to be better than getting behind a wheel when you're intoxicated. You may think that at the time you're capable of driving but the alcohol in your system gradually affects your impairment over time. Sure, your blood alcohol content may read that you're legally able to drive at this time, but as soon as you drive down the road you may be drunker than you were initially. Don't be stupid. Don't become another statistic. Don't become the reason for an accident. Don't risk the chance of injuring yourself or even worse, death.

You should always drink responsibly! Of course, have fun and do your thing, but take the necessary precautions to prevent yourself from doing anything you may regret for the rest of your life.

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