batch made in marriage
They went to the same college: Georgia Tech. They drank at the same coffee shop: Einstein’s. They worked at the same company post college: Sapient. Ten years later and the husband and wife founders of Drift Away Coffee admit it was a wanting of something more, something ‘deeper than a hobby’ that inspire doing something different.
“We were thinking about what we should do. We wanted something where we woke up in morning and said, ““If this is the last day of my life, will I still be doing what I’m doing today,” said husband Suyog.
As they searched for that ‘thing’, they fed on a steady diet of Ted Talks, AJ Leon along with multiple viewings of Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech, Nearly a year into their quest, they realized they were working together at something they already loved: coffee.
“We’ve both been coffee lovers. We watched coffee videos together, read books on coffee and were experimenting with it. And, our thing became coffee. The goal then was to have fresh coffee and to make better coffee. There were few out there and we thought, maybe we could be part of what’s out there,” said wife Anu.
Their task was simple yet challenging: create a coffee subscription with coffee that was fresh and freshly roasted. Their friends became their taste testers as they exposed them to lighter roasted coffees. They went to many cuppings – Toby’s Estate in Williamsburg included – which they credit as one of their most eye-opening experiences of what coffee could taste like – including tea.
Drift Away started with Suyog as its home roaster. When queried why he had to roast and not just be a subscription serving other roasters, his answer reveals the emotional thrust behind their project, “If we get someone else to do one of the most important pieces of this, then we aren’t creating, its not really our thing. We want to do it from start to finish, as much as we can.”
Outside of sourcing coffee from suppliers that they trust, every part of Drift Away Coffee is handled, literally by the hands of Anu and Suyog.
“What we send out is a reflection of who we are. To us, Drift Away is two things: a feeling that happens when you drink coffee. And, it’s a mood, especially in the morning, upon starting your day where the coffee takes you somewhere. Coffee travels really far, from one place to another. Its a journey before us, from us and to you,” said Anu.
Living out what they call work-life integration, the pair are inspired by the minds of Seth Godin and Steve Jobs, by things with purpose and meaning, Suyog says, “even if its not our coffee that you’re drinking, ask yourself why do you like it, have a conversation about it and about your choices?”
When the Kraft package from Drift Away arrives at my home, all the details feel like it is being hand delivered, instead of coming from the impersonal mail system: there’s hand-tied candy striped ribbon, vintage luggage tags, stamped coffee labels and the handwritten name of its recipient like me.
This is their presentation. Their presentation is their story. Their story is the coffee. The coffee is their thing.