Spotlight: Angels’ Cup Founders Inspired by Love of Coffee

Angels' Cup

Coffee is something you can get just about anywhere. But the experience of a blind coffee tasting is a bit more rare. Even more rare is a coffee tasting experience, or cupping as it’s commonly referred to, that’s done via an app.

That’s what Angels’ Cup provides. The relatively new business is working on growing a steady base of loyal coffee fans. Read more about the business and its unique offering in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Offers a coffee tasting subscription service.

Angels’ Cup co-founder Jeff Borack explained to Small Business Trends, “Angels’ Cup is a coffee tasting club where subscribers blindly sample up to 208 different coffees per year, record tasting notes through our app, and then compare answers with the roastmaster. We offer two subscription options. The Cupping Flight includes four, 1-ounce samples for $8.99 (the same price as Netflix). It’s the cheapest way to try so many different coffees. We also offer The Black Box, which includes four, 2.75-ounce samples for $19.99.”

Business Niche

Offering blind tastings and an app to record tasting notes.

There are plenty of coffee tasting clubs that have in-person samplings or tastings. But Angels’ Cup’s system of sending out blind samples and then using an app to share notes makes it a completely unique offering.

How the Business Got Started

To share an experience with coffee fanatics.

Borack explains, “The idea was born from the experiences my fellow co-founder Abby and I had cupping coffee recreationally. We realized the experience was about more than just good coffee and that it was something we could build a business around.”

angels' cup

Biggest Win

Growing steadily over time.

Borack says, “I like to think that good things happen slowly and bad things happen fast. We’re not looking for home runs, just steady growth. We now have over 400 subscribers, 2,444 app users, and 10,682 coffee tasting notes recorded in our system. Tomorrow, all those numbers will be a little higher.”

Biggest Risk

Hiring the right people.

Borack explains, “Hiring our development team was a critical decision. We knew it would make or break the business and that we wouldn’t get two chances at this. Fortunately we made a good choice and things are working out!”

Lesson Learned

Have advisors that you can trust.

Borack says, “I would have put a lot of work into finding advisors early on. We hit a number of snags, whether it was deciding on price points, design decisions, PR, and even copywriting, that I think would have been easier to deal with if I had some trusted advisors. I still don’t have that team in place, and it hurts.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Continuing to improve the user experience.

Borack says, “We have a number of features we’re working on that I know users will love, and the app is also a valuable marketing tool for us. And there’s a lot we can still do to make it better.”

Angels' Cup

Team Tradition

Late nights of packing coffee.

Borack explains, “We’re super obsessed with shipping the freshest coffee possible, so we only get coffee in once a week, pack it all up over night, and get it back in the mail the next day. As you can imagine, depending on when our coffee arrives, we’re sometimes up pretty damn late packing coffee! But we usually have the music blasting and we make it a fun (albeit exhausting) experience.”

If the Business Were a Song

“It’s a Great Day to be Alive,” by Travis Tritt.

Borack explains, “This isn’t an easy business, but we’re in a groove where we roll with the punches and wake up every day excited to win some battles. Whether we’re getting customers, improving the site or the app, or packing coffee and shipping it out the door, there’s a lot to be thankful for.”

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Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program.

Images: Angels’ Cup

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.