We did it! Thanks to everyone who has supported this project. We plan to be roasting coffee by the end of the month, and we look forward to sending out rewards soon.
Stretch Goal No. 2: We reached our $5,000 goal, with two weeks left to go. So now, we want to see if we can recruit 100 backers before this Kickstarter project ends on Nov. 8. We are already more than halfway there!
We're working on creating a unique and meaningful way to reward everyone who helps us reach this goal. Stay tuned for details. Meanwhile, there are still plenty of rewards left to be claimed. Thanks again to everyone who has pledged their support.
Stretch Goal No. 1: If this project reaches $5,000 in pledges, we will be able to increase the size of our initial green coffee order. (This will save us a bundle on freight costs.) As an added reward, we will send a half-pound bag of Magic Beans Espresso Blend No. 1 to everyone who has pledged at the $60 level or higher. Let's do it!
We want to give a huge "thank you" to all of you who have pledged your support. We can't wait to start roasting coffee and sending it out to you. If you haven't signed up yet, please check out the available rewards to the right and choose any one you'd like.
About Magic Beans
Magic Beans' mission is to bring single-origin coffees of exceptional value to Lexington, to roast them in small batches, and to deliver them to consumers immediately after roasting for optimal freshness. While our focus is on serving coffee lovers in Central Kentucky, we will ship coffee anywhere in the continental United States through our subscription service, the Origin Explorers Club.
The Origin Explorers Club
We want to offer some distinctive and unusual coffees not often seen in Central Kentucky: exquisite single-farm coffees, rare "micro-lot" offerings, and new coffees from emerging producers.
To increase the variety of offerings we can present, we're launching the Magic Beans Origin Explorers Club.™ Each month, we will be featuring a different single-origin coffee as our special selection of the month.
Each month's selection will come with tasting notes, brewing recommendations, and information about the region or specific farm where the coffee was grown and the people who produced it. Subscriptions will be available on a monthly recurring basis, or prepaid at a significant discount.
Our Roasting Studio
To produce these Magic Beans, we're building a "Roasting Studio" inside the Bread Box building on Sixth and Jefferson streets in Lexington, Ky. This tiny, 324-square-foot space will provide just enough room to house our (nearly) new Sivetz coffee roaster, our coffee-packaging setup, and several thousand pounds of coffee.
The studio model is a whole new concept in micro-roasting. We aren't a "coffee shop." We don't sell lattes. We don't have seating. In fact, we don't even have regular hours. The only time we turn the lights on is when we're roasting coffee.
This enables us to keep our overhead costs to the barest minimum, which gives us the flexibility to roast as much or as little coffee as we are able to sell while it is still at the peak of freshness. Instead of spending more money on rent, utilities, and employees, we'll be able to spend that money on better coffee beans. This will enable us to offer exceptional coffees at a very reasonable price.
Fluid-Bed Roasting: More Than Just Hot Air
We will be the only coffee roaster in Lexington to use the "fluid bed" roasting technology first patented by Michael Sivetz in 1976. This technology uses a stream of rapidly moving, superheated air to roast coffee. We find that hot-air roasting results in a more evenly roasted and cleaner-tasting product that better highlights the unique and delicate characteristics of different single-origin coffees.
We lucked out to find a quarter-bag Sivetz roaster in great condition. Each of these machines was built by hand under the supervision of Michael Sivetz, an engineer and leading consultant to the coffee industry for more than four decades. Sadly, there will be no more new Sivetz roasters, as the business is winding down following the death of Mr. Sivetz at the age of 90 earlier this year.
When we found this roaster on Craigslist, sitting unused in a garage in Los Angeles, we scraped together everything we could in order to buy it and have it shipped to Lexington. Now it's here, waiting for us to bring it back to life.
Try Us Out
As of October 1, we are mere weeks away from our anticipated launch. All we lack now are the utility connections to run electricity and gas to our roaster. We're hoping to line up some early subscribers to the Origin Explorers Club to help push us over the finish line.You can sign up here to try out a couple of bags of beans, or you can subscribe for three, six, or twelve months.To sweeten the deal, we're offering some other cool rewards, such as Magic Beans logo shirts and coffee mugs. We hope you like it, and we thank you for your support.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenges have already been overcome: Finding the necessary equipment, identifying our suppliers and retail partners, locating a space and securing a lease, and beginning the hard, physical work of rehabilitating the space.
The main risks we face now are volatility in the coffee market (our flexibility and low overhead makes this less of a concern for us), as well as the unforeseen costs that almost always come along with taking over space in an old building. Our electrical work and plumbing will cost more than we had originally anticipated, but other renovation projects have come in below budget.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We're looking for retailers to carry our packaged coffee beans locally starting in November or December, and we will be selling them direct to the public in farmers markets and other venues starting next year. The subscription service is a way for us to increase the variety of what we can offer, and it gives us an easy way to send coffee to customers and friends who aren't close enough to buy it locally. It also has been crucial to the success of this Kickstarter campaign, by allowing us to "pre-sell" coffee to a limited number of subscribers to raise some much-needed startup funding.
If you happen to detect the aroma of roasting coffee wafting down Sixth Street and you can figure out how to find the Roasting Studio (follow your nose), please do come by and say hello. However, our studio really is set up as a bare-bones production space, and our current permits and insurance don't allow for retail sales to the public from there.
I own a restaurant in Lexington that specializes in high-quality, local ingredients. Can I offer your coffee on my menu?
Please call Keith Hautala directly at (859) 533-2911.
Yes! Anybody who supports us on Kickstarter will receive an invitation to the Roaster Reboot celebration. You may pick up rewards there, including your first two bags of coffee. We're working on finding a regular pickup location for local subscribers who want to get their coffee the same day it is roasted, rather than waiting on the U.S. Postal Service. (Look forward to some free "extras" if you opt to pick up your own coffee.)
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