The moment I tasted the fresh brew from Maplewood’s La Cosecha Coffee, I knew it wasn’t your ordinary java. Tasty, multi-cultural and layered, the independent coffee shop’s flavors run the gauntlet of expectations. Unlike Starbucks, the commercial Goliath of coffee consumption, La Cosecha roasts their own coffee in house and adds a personal touch to the connection of supplier and receiver. It’s not just a transaction but a feeling that a face is being registered and appreciated. In order to fully get the scoop on what makes La Cosecha special and what the idea behind the name is, I asked co-founder Jamie Jeschke a few questions.
First off, what does La Cosecha mean and why was that the name that stuck?
Jamie Jeschke-La Cosecha is Spanish for “The Harvest”. As you know, there is a lot of coffee grown in Spanish speaking countries. Many of the large jute bags list the year of “La Cosecha”. We all speak Spanish & really like how so much joy comes from the harvest after months of hardwork.
When did the obsession with coffee and opening a shop take place? Did you wake up one day, taste some coffee, and think “I can do better”?
Jeschke-Gio Sparks (co-founder) was home-roasting as a hobbby. He got me hooked on fresh roasted coffee. He is an IT guy with a strong technical knowledge & I have a background in international sales. Back in 2006, I approached him with this crazy idea. We roasted coffee for 7 yrs to wholesale accounts before taking the big step of opeining our own coffee bar & roastery in 2013. Really, the driving force was to get to know our customers and show them the roasting process in the same location. Maplewood has been very good to us.
How was that first batch of coffee you roasted? Must have been an experience.
Jeschke-Thrilling! Let’s just say there was smoke, and where there’s smoke…… Seriously, there is a lot to learn to find the optimal roast level for each origin and crop.
The top of your website reads, “Only the finest, freshly roasted organic fair trade coffee.” Explain that a bit to people who may not know what they are drinking.
Jeschke-We want to connect the coffee drinker to the coffee farmer by offering fresh roasted coffee grown in a sustainable manner where the farmer was given a fair price. Hence the tag line, “From the Harvest to your cup”
What’s a normal day at the coffee shop?
Jeschke-We have our usual tasks depending on the day. Sometimes we are roasting coffee or talking to new customers. Amazingly, weather has a lot to do with the flow of a coffee business. We just try to be prepared for whatever comes our way.
Where do you get your coffee beans from and what makes them unique? Or does that come in the roasting process?
Jeschke-We currently buy our beans from several importers, so we can get a variety of coffee from different countries around the world. All are either Fair Trade or Direct Trade coffees where the farmer was given a fair price. Many carry other certifications, such as organic, rainforest alliance, bird friendly, Utz, etc… The uniqueness of a cup of coffee comes from the origin & the roasting process.
What is La Cosecha’s long term goal? Ideas on the horizon….One shop in Maplewood or more? What is happening in the future?
Jeschke-Our long term goal is to continue to develop relationships with our customer in the STL community & coffee farmers in other countries. One location is sufficient.
This seems like a passion project met a career. A rare thing in life. Is that what La Cosecha is for you, Jamie?
Jeschke-Yep. It is cool to see so many areas of interest in your life come together, such as La Cosecha has done for us.
Why should people come to La Cosecha? What’s the hook?
Jeschke-We roast, we brew, we breathe coffee. No bells & whistles, just a tasty cup of coffee.
The minute I tasted your coffee, Starbucks immediately fell down to the bottom, like right next to four hour hold gas station body shop coffee. Do you and the others carry some pride in snagging a particular clientele away from the big coffee chains? Or is it just make good coffee and let the rest sort itself out?
Jeschke-Ha. We like the fact that we don’t have a “drive-thru” window. If you want to know where the heck Burundi or Flores is located, let’s talk about it over a cup of coffee.
Jamie added that adding Gregory Lowe, a retail specialist who managed a coffee shop in St. Louis for five years before joining La Cosecha, was a huge key to the success of their coffee bar.
There’s something about consistently good coffee shops. The cups where you taste it and think, “This is seriously good and not just good enough.” When you drink La Cosecha, that is the feeling you get. Then you talk to the people working there and it becomes something more. A personal experience.
Do yourself a favor and stop by La Cosecha in Maplewood. They redefine what good coffee should taste like. When you are there, grab a fresh pastry from Great Harvest bread company on the other side of the room. Sit down and relax while some music plays in the background. La Cosecha Coffee is an independent coffee shop to treasure.