Interview with Jim Fosina of Amora Coffee

I had the opportunity to interview Jim Fosina, CEO of Amora Coffee. Amora is a premium coffee roaster and coffee subscription service that was founded by Jim and spouse in 2011. By 2015 they added tea to their offering and have served tens of thousands of coffee enthusiasts like myself.

Tell me how you got involved with Amora Coffee.

DiJim_Fosinad you work in the coffee industry before Amora? I started my career 30 years ago working for Kraft General Foods within their Direct to Consumer Home Delivery Coffee Subscription called Gevalia Kaffe, a part of Maxwell House Coffee. Years later, I founded a Direct to Consumer Subscription Advertising Agency called Fosina Marketing Group which I grew over a period of 15 years before selling it but during that time, we Founded Amora Coffee in 2011 as our own Direct to Consumer Coffee Subscription Service.

How would you describe what sets Amora apart from other coffee roasters?

The meaning of Amora is LOVE and the configuration of the Amora name is the reverse spelling of Aroma. You have to LOVE the AROMA of your Coffee as that is your first impression and to have great Aroma, you have to have really FRESH coffee. Amora prides itself on LOVING Coffee and getting it to our customers just as fresh as we possibly can…..Fresh Coffee delivered right to your doorstep, the way you want it when you want it, the coffee subscription service you completely control…..That’s Amora!! #LoveAmoraShareLove

What is the process for selecting the coffees to offer?

Our Master Roaster is always looking and selecting beans from crops and origins all around the world that bring the most balanced blends to your cup based on coffee growing region seasons. The blends are selected for the best delivery of flavor and aroma based on the level of roast intensity

How do you feel about the health of the coffee industry given the state of the country under quarantine right now?

Very healthy. People are not drinking less coffee, they are just getting it differently during quarantine time. More coffee is being consumed at home rather than bistro’s, offices, and schools. So delivery has changed but the needs, wants, and desires of coffee is very healthy.

What does your coffee routine look like? Do you have a favorite brew method? Bean origin or blend?

My personal routine starts first thing in the morning just as the day starts. I like a darker roast so I drink either Vigorosi or Intenso. I prefer to use already ground beans rather than grinding myself as the grinders we use at the roaster are much gentler on a bean than most at home grinders that shatter or overheat versus truly grind the bean to the Roastmaster specification. I use a pour-over for the most optimized extraction and I don’t add anything to my coffee…..straight black.

What is the most challenging aspect of running a coffee roaster?

Amora roasts only in small batches in a highly monitored 9 stage roasting process for optimal quality and then hand packs into small 8 ounce bags to avoid mass production and deliver a product to consumers in smaller bags to minimize prolonged oxygen exposure. Our process is very labor-intensive and not mass-produced.

What trends do you see in coffee right now?

Coffee continues to become the new basis of beverage concoctions that appeal to younger Gen Z and Millennial populations as consumers shift from fizzy sweet sugary drinks to coffee-based beverages.

What are a few items one should look for in selecting a coffee subscription service?

It is important that the consumer is always in control of their subscription. Consumers need the ability to EASILY change the coffee types they receive, how many bags at what interval of time while also being able to skip shipments, suspend service, cancel their subscription or change any part of their account including payment, shipping, and contact information. Live Customer Representatives should be available 24 hours per day every day of the year and easy access to an online dashboard for customers to service their own accounts. Service is paramount in subscription, taking even more precedence than the product itself.

For someone just getting started with quality coffee, what tips would give them?

Coffee appeals to two of your primary senses…..smell and taste. Experiment, Experiment, and Experiment again until you find what suits your fancy. Besides, it’s fun!!

What is your beverage of choice when you can’t have a coffee?

Black Tea

Interview with Doug Rutherford

I decided to interview a few people who have worked from home a lot longer than I have. My first interview is with my good friend, Doug Rutherford, whom I’ve known for about 8 years. Doug is the first person I knew well who had a job that allowed him to do all his work from home.

1. What company do you work for and what is your position?

I work for Avaya and last time I checked my title was Customer Interaction Engineer.  That doesn’t say much but what I do is remote technical support for companies that run call centers.

2. How long have you worked from home?

I’ve worked from home full time for about 3 years and occasionally before that for another 4 years or so.

3. What technology (hardware, software, devices) do you rely on to work from home?

The main technology I rely on to work from home is the internet.  Without my VPN connection to work, I can’t remotely connect to customers, I can’t see what trouble tickets I have, I can’t even check my e-mail.  I have a company provided laptop & docking station with dual external screens.  I have an Avaya IP phone on my desk that connects through my network to a phone switch at an Avaya location in Colorado.  We use a custom Siebel application for our case tracking, Outlook for our e-mail, and a variety of web applications including SharePoint.

4. Did your employer provide any of the hardware, software, equipment or internet?

The company used to pay for the internet but they stopped doing that a couple years ago as a cost-saving measure.  Almost all the rest of the hardware & software was provided by them.  I do use a couple free applications that they don’t provide or support such as my terminal emulator.  I think there has been some talk of adopting a BYOD environment but I’d rather they provide and support the equipment I’m loading their software on.  The ownership can all be on them then.

5. Did you approach your employer to work from home? How did that come about? Do you know what % of employees at your company work from home?

Initially, some of us approached our employer about working from home, showing them that we have the technology and resources to make it work.  So a few of us were allowed to try it out once a week as a trial run and then others were granted the same opportunities.  Then we all went to working from home on Mondays and Fridays.  Other people in other groups started working from home more than the office.  Eventually, the office that we worked in closed and we had no other choice but to work from home full time.

6. What have you found to be the biggest challenge working from home?

Probably the biggest challenge to working from home is the lack of being able to hear what others are currently working on and having them do the same.  In the office environment, since we are in a technical support role, we can often learn from each other by simply walking over to the next desk and discussing the current cases we’re working on and being able to bounce ideas off each other thereby soaking up each others experience.  We don’t get that anymore so if we’re learning a new product or technology, it’s a little slower but still doable, just from a different learning environment.

7. What has been the biggest surprise since you started working from home? Has it gone as you expected?

I thought I would miss going into the office and getting to see all my coworkers every day.  But the fact that I’m no longer getting up around 2am, to leave the house by 3am in order to start work by 4am has been a great addition to my sleep schedule.  Now, I’m getting up just a few minutes before I actually start work and take my lunch hour to get showered and ready for the day.  So I get more sleep and I have to spend 2 hours a day less time on the road which amounts to 10 hours a week I get back in addition to the greatly reduced budget I spend on gas and car maintenance each month.  In addition, I get to see my family more.  If my wife needs my help getting kids out the door for school, or making sure someone is there for them after school, I can help with that.  So what I don’t get by going into the office has been greatly compensated for.

Doug is active on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/doug.r.rutherford