A good cup of coffee is hard to find, but Andrew Daane, co-owner of Black Tulip Coffee, is making it easier for Neapolitans to do just that. Their small-batch roasted beans are sourced Guatemala, Ethiopia, Costa Rica and Indonesia, freshly roasted and ground here in Naples, and sold by the cup, bag or bottle. Here, Andrew spills the beans on the story behind Black Tulip, their production process and what sets their brews apart from large-scale coffee purveyors.
When and how did the idea for your business come about?
My wife, Cullen Daane, has been at the Third Street Farmer’s Market for over five years with her jewelry business, Pierre & Harry, and we met the previous owners of our business there. (Ed. note: Read more about Cullen and Pierre & Harry here.) They operated as Black Bee Coffee and actually sold me my first bag of coffee—at the age of 30! What can I say; we were both slow to convert to coffee drinking but quickly became coffee lovers. When the previous owners’ day jobs forced them to relocate, a friend and I bought their business and got some valuable training from them. Then, in August my wife and I took over as full owners of Black Tulip Coffee.
What is the process from the time you receive the beans to when they’re ready to sell?
Each batch is lovingly hand-roasted and bagged the night before the farmer’s market. We source all of our raw beans from a coffee broker who helps us find some of the highest quality coffee from around the world. It is important to us that all of our coffee is not only organic but also fair-trade and shade-grown.
What is the significance of the name Black Tulip Coffee?
My family has Dutch heritage on both my mom’s and my dad’s sides. My dad’s uncle worked closely with the Canadian and Dutch governments and was rewarded with his own species of tulip. I have not yet had the chance to see it in person but have found it listed with various tulip bulb sellers. I’m extremely proud of my Dutch heritage and have even taught myself the language. I felt that the name was nice nod to my uncle’s hard work.
What distinguishes small-batch coffee from what you get at Starbucks or other coffee shops?
The quality of green coffee beans we source are only the highest quality organic found around the world. It is very important to us not only that our coffee is great on this end, but also that all of the people involved in the growing are paid fair wages and that the coffee is “shade-grown” using sustainable farming practices.
The small batches we roast here in Naples get to our customers within a matter of hours, not weeks. Large-scale coffee producers, which roast huge batches and ship all over the world, have the disadvantage of time. It often takes several weeks until their coffee is actually brewed and consumed. The 1,500-some-odd compounds found in coffee have significantly degraded at that point, and you’ll start to taste some sour off-notes and lose the flavor profile found in small-batch coffees.
We’ve had a few customers who get heartburn or other stomach ailments when drinking other coffees, and when they switch to ours, the pain hasn’t occurred. It may be the low acidity of some of our beans or the washing process that helps remove mold and lessen the risk of various aflatoxins. As a microbiologist, I understand the dangers/side effects of mold (brain fog, stomach ailments …) and diligently test our coffee to ensure it’s mold-free!
Where is Black Tulip Coffee available?
We are at the Third Street South Farmer’s Market on Saturdays from 7-11:30 a.m. You can also email us at email@example.com and sign up for a subscription. We offer great subscriptions, which we can either ship, deliver or have available for convenient pickup at Pierre & Harry. You can also find us this weekend at the Trinity-by-the-cove Christmas Bazaar.
What advice do you have for other young entrepreneurs/business owners?
A lot of people have great ideas, but may have trouble strategizing and/or executing. I view starting a business as building a bridge—it has to be 100 percent complete to be viable. Sometimes people get caught up in the details, which are very important, but it really comes down to putting one foot in front of the other and getting things done.