One of the most exciting developments leading into the SCA Expo was our growing relationship with Visions Espresso. They are a premier distributor of all sorts of coffee equipment and agreed to carry Alto Cold Brew products to the show and beyond.
New products are difficult to bring to market. We initially went door to door throughout Southern California to personally introduce ourselves and our filters to each shop. We met some amazing people and had some great discussions about cold brew with this process but this method was not scalable beyond our local region. Joey and I both have day jobs and families so traveling salesmen was not a viable long-term option for either of us.
We then began reaching out to shops one at a time, calling and emailing owners and managers to try and make these same introductions. Through this effort, we began to realize the potential that regional distributors might have in leveraging their existing relationships to reach other markets. The problem is that distributors often prefer established products and don’t always take chances on new products
Visions Espresso had an open mind and was willing to test Alto Cold Brew Filters. These tests went so well that they brought us into their product line and offered to partner with us throughout the SCA Expo. This meant that our products were available for sale at their booth all weekend and Alto Cold Brew Filters were featured in a side-by-side taste test against a traditionally cold brewed coffee.
The results of this blind public taste were fantastic! The employees hosting the booth reported that more than 90% of the people tasting the cold brews side-by-side preferred the coffee brewed with our filters over the paper and mesh brewed coffee. Most of the comments were consistent with what we hear from our customers and why we developed the filters in the first place: more vibrant, cleaner cup than most people were expecting.
Given the caliber of coffee professionals at SCA, we were super-encouraged by this outcome!
Probably our biggest advocate in working with Visions was their Director of Coffee, Ken Selby. He was one of the earliest testers and advocates for our products and a good friend throughout the process.
Even more exciting, was watching Ken compete (and ultimately win) the 2018 Cup Tasters Championship. read more about him and his big win here.
We have had the great fortune of meeting and working with the last 3 Cup Tasters Champions in different capacities:
We have always maintained that the key benefits of Alto Cold Brew Filters is the superior taste over soggy wet paper taste of traditional cold brew filters. We think these champions would agree.