Coming Soon: Endiro Coffee
Q&A with Cody Lorance of Endiro Coffee
Endiro Coffee is opening at 29 W. New York St. soon. We chatted with Cody Lorance, director of U.S. operations for Endiro Coffee.
Q: How did you start Endiro?
A: We started the company as a simple coffee shop in Kampala, Uganda hoping to raise a bit of money to support a handful of children living in a specific home in Western Uganda. We didn’t expect to be the top coffee brand in the country just a few years later. Neither I nor my partner, Gloria Katusiime, had any business or even coffee experience – I always preferred energy drinks and she is a tea drinker. Haha… but the company did grow. We now have five locations in Uganda and our Aurora venture is not only a first for us, but who has ever heard of a Ugandan restaurant coming to America? After Aurora? Who knows… we are having conversations with leaders all over the world.
Q: How did you come to work with coffee farmers so closely?
A: Just over a year ago, we decided that we could not continue in the coffee business unless we were sure that our coffee was being sourced in a way that was helping farmers and their families. On a whim, we sent one of our baristas… herself a former “vulnerable child”… out into the farming villages in the Mount Elgon range in Eastern Uganda. We asked her if she could find five farming women who would like to work with us.
A few months later we met her for the report. She had misunderstood and had come back with five GROUPS numbering some 2,000 small lot farmers. We didn’t know how we were going to manage such a group, but decided to proceed anyway. Months later, as the harvest was completed, we have some 12,000 kilos of coffee that was specialty grade – the best coffee these ladies had ever grown.
In fact, we just added several hundred more farmers and expect 50,000 kilos this year. The exciting thing about this is that all our farmers receive training, leadership mentoring, and equipment allowing them to build up their families and communities in significant ways. Our farmers are transitioning out of poverty and sub-subsistence living for the first time in generations and are now the highest paid coffee farmers in Uganda. Lives are being changed and in a way that empowers rather than creating dependence.
Q: Explain your missionary work.
A: Through our hiring and farming practices, we have not only been able to generate proceeds to support a number of projects which support vulnerable children, but we are getting to be directly involved in the process. We aim to hire youth who have little hope… street kids, orphans, etc… and then we work to teach them skills, mentor them, and inspire them to grow either in our industry or to pursue their own dreams.
Q: What does this mean for the Aurora location?
A: So, now we want to bring the same ethos to Endiro Aurora. We are going to focus our hiring on vulnerable youth in the community and will be working closely with local organizations to help raise awareness about the work they do among kids as well as to help them fundraise.
Q: You’re looking at a December opening?
A: As for the timeline… yes, looking at December. We will begin with a soft opening to give our team time to develop their skills. Definitely a grand opening will come as well. We want to have a big celebration, but will wait a few months.
Q: How does Endiro Coffee stand up among others?
A: We are bringing amazing coffee with all the hallmarks of a great indie coffee shop. Espresso-based drinks, handcrafted coffees, and beans for sale. All coffee will be roasted on-site by our own master roaster and sourced from farmers that we are directly connected with. Our Ugandan coffees all come from Endiro Certified Farmers that we personally know, train, mentor and equip. We are entirely transparent about what farmers are paid as well. We will also feature some Burmese coffee because we are working with some former refugees from that country to begin coffee growing projects back in their homeland. In short… every single bean that is served in our shop is playing a role in “brewing a better world.” No exceptions.
In addition, we feature a full range of teas, smoothies and specialty juice creations that are really unlike anything you’ve ever tasted.
Q: And you have a full menu?
A: On the food side … we kind of love food. So we are a full menu restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. We call our cuisine “glocal” food. Meaning that we love fusing global and local flavors to create new favorites. So, you’ll be able to get a hearty breakfast of waffles, eggs, bacon and hashbrowns but also something a little different like our breakfast “rolex” which is a tasty twist on a Ugandan street food classic.
Q: Will there be counter or table service?
A: We want to create as many jobs as possible, so we have decided to use table service … which has become very uncommon in coffee shops nowadays. But, Endiro Aurora will be a place where you can come in, find your favorite spot and place your order with a waitress or waiter.
Q: Finally, why downtown Aurora?
A: We are really excited to bring Endiro to Aurora. We have fallen in love with this city and are so glad to be a part of the downtown renaissance. We hope that the space we create will become a favorite place for hanging out, getting some work done, date nights, family fun, and having meetings.