Idou Coffee, based in Boalsburg, is available at the Downtown State College Farmers Market and online. Photo by Annie Kubiak | Advanced state
Four friends who bonded over great coffee in college help others enjoy great beer through fresh produce and education with their Boalsburg-based business, Idou Coffee Co.
Mike and Mikala Swanson and Tim and Christine Schafer launched the Small Batch Roast Business in December 2020 to share their passion and help customers explore the world of specialty coffee.
“Part of our friendship is that we bonded over a great cup of coffee,” Mike said. “When you have a good cup of coffee, like when you drink a good glass of wine or something like that, you tend to savor the moment you spend with people who appreciate it too. I think our relationship for the four of us together has kind of deepened.
Everyone had some experience in the cafe. Tim started roasting coffee at home in popcorn when he was in high school eight years ago, while Mike, Mikala and Christine all have experience as baristas.
As they started bonding over coffee around 2015, last year they decided to turn it into a business, roasting the beans right at Swansons’ house in Boalsburg.
“We started dreaming about what it might be like to have a business built around people who just enjoy coffee, slow down a bit, and share the same kind of interactions we have as friends,” he said. Mike said.
Having started with online sales through idoucoffee.co, they also offer local pickup and delivery and can be found at the Downtown State College Farmers Market from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Friday.
“We prefer [the farmers market] because we can interact with people and tell them a little more about the coffee than what is on the website, ”Tim said.
Idou is a Greek word meaning ‘here’, ‘pause’ or ‘notice’ and that’s what the company aims to do: help people take a moment to embrace the joy of a great cup of coffee.
“We want to organize someone for a ‘silly’ moment in their day, when you take a break and really enjoy a cup of coffee to rest or just as a break no matter what that sounds like someone. ‘a,’ Mikala said.
Idou sources beans from all over the world with a rotating supply of what is fresh and available through Supplier Sweet Maria’s Farm Gate program, a direct trading system that builds a relationship between farmer and buyer and guarantees fair wages and environmental sustainability.
“The coffee that is part of this program, they buy at least 50 percent above the fair trade market price for whatever coffee is,” Mike said. “It’s part of their commitment to turn this supply chain into something sustainable from top to bottom. All of the cafes we offer are part of this Farm Gate program because we believe it is important to pay people fairly for the work they do. We want to deliver delicious, high-quality coffee, but do so in a sustainable way. “
Fresh, quality produce is part of the Idou equation to help people explore and get the most out of their coffee. The other concerns educational resources.
Idou’s website has a “Guide to the Best Coffee for Beginners,” a series of articles that includes everything from grinding and filtering water to brewing methods.
“I think part of the barrier… is that specialty coffee can be really intimidating for people… We want to try to break down as many barriers as possible so that people make delicious coffee at home,” said Mike.
“Because we are deeply passionate about helping people enter the specialty coffee world, one of the pillars of our business will always be providing accessibility to those who want it. So far we have developed resources for people.
Friends also want to be a trusted resource for those who already have experience with specialty coffee. They have already developed a relationship with the Penn State Coffee Club.
“They are not your average coffee consumer,” Mike said. “So we want to be able to also respond to people like these who know their stuff and trust us not only as a guide to get started, but also as someone of good repute. State College News, like “These people know coffee; they come out of good coffee.
As Idou’s co-owners seek ideas for the future, for now, the focus is on establishing the roasting component of the business.
“The roasting was the first step in establishing… that we really love her and that she is going to set the stage for anything in the future.” Christine said. “Just getting the roast really good is our first goal and then more to dream about in the future.”
They also want to help a community continue to grow around the idea of exploring great coffee.
“In the long term, it would be really, really cool to see this community of people just curious about coffee grow,” said Mike. “We just want to invite people to try a good coffee. We love to build relationships with anyone who is interested in learning more about specialty coffee. We try to be fairly affordable people, accessible enough for these reasons because of our desire to share good things.
“It is one of the oldest products in the world. Coffee has been in circulation for thousands of years. We want to help people do it right. Shoot it. If you are interested in knowing more about it. Contact us. We would love to talk to you and start building that relationship so you can just explore a great cafe.
To explore Idou’s current selection, place an order, or read the Beginner’s Guide articles, visit idoucoffee.co.