In August of last year I was cycling in Helsinki. The weather was great, and it was fun to cruise along the Baltic. Then suddenly the sky got darker and soon enough it started to pour down rain. I was close to a small mall, and went inside from the rain. There, by the door was a table with tens of brown pouches, a heavenly scent of coffee and a smiling gentleman, Hannu, who is the CEO of Six Pot Coffee. I am a friend of St. Nina’s and we had many times talked about coffee, its origin in Ethiopia, and the possibility to roast some African coffees at the monastery. Hannu and I got to talking and he explained the sourcing of beans, roasting system, packaging, the channels for marketing, etc. I returned to Washington and talked with Abbess Aemiliane... and the rest is history... In October we got our first roaster, now we have three units, and do the sourcing and packaging and marketing much like Hannu had advised.
Just this week, I had a chance to meet with Hannu again to take him some samples of our roasts and see how he is doing. And he is doing great. Since last year, he has opened a little café serving a range of coffees. He also has a little three-wheeler which he uses to reach clients in Helsinki. Most of his marketing he now does via REKOs, which are marketing groups for locally produced foods. In these events suppliers come with their vans and sell bread, vegetables, meat, eggs, beer etc. produced locally. Clients place their orders via Facebook and then come to collect their purchase. Sometimes even a couple hundred people show up and that is a lot of Finns at one time, believe me. Maybe we start a REKO movement for Maryland…
We at St. Nina's are forever grateful to Hannu for all his advice and support as we entered into the
magic world of coffee roasting. Check out Hannu’s Six Pot Coffee Facebook page and see what's brewing over in Helsinki.