January 03, 2022 2 Comments

Whiskey Morning Coffee TCU

In 2018, at Texas Christian University a group of senior students walked into their first day of class for a course called New Venture Development. The teacher started the class by telling the students, "Welcome, Yall are going to start a business this semester. There will be no grades, and you need to come up with your own ideas, money, and teams. The goal this semester is to learn all the aspects of running and business and go make some money. If you get sued get a lawyer, That's part of business as well. Now come back next class and pitch your business ideas to your classmates."


Family Distillery

Evan, one of the founders of Whiskey Morning Coffee had a family history of making whiskey. Evans's grandad was a WW2 Moonshiner. Evans father took the family recipe and made it legal starting Sledge Distillery. Having the background in distilling Evan pitched, "What if we take the used bourbon barrels from the family distillery and we age coffee beans in them?" That was about as much thought that was put into it. After all the ideas were pitched the classmates picked which business they wanted to work for, and Whiskey Morning Coffee was born. 

What Now

The First step in creating Whiskey Morning Coffee was choosing the name, becoming a legal entity, and testing some barrel aged coffee to see if it even tastes good. We did it in exactly that order as well. Looking back, we should of tried the coffee first to see if this is even worth doing. But hey, Whiskey + Coffee how could it taste bad. 

The group started off by aging coffee in a 5-gallon Sledge Distillery barrel for about a month. There was a big problem though, we had no way of roasting the coffee. And to make it worse, we called every coffee roaster in the state of Texas and asked them if they could roast this coffee, we have been aging in bourbon barrels and each roaster said no. Coffee has to be roasted at 500 degrees or more for about 20-30 minutes. During the roast the water inside the coffee bean begins to boil, crack, and caramelize. This process is what gives the bean its shape and taste that we are used to when we open our bags of coffee. So, without someone to roast the coffee we had no use for the green coffee we had been aging in the bourbon barrel. Right before we gave up, one of the team members stopped by a coffee roaster on their way back to campus from Dallas. It was one of the oldest coffee roasters in Texas called Addison Roasters. Addison gave us a shot and said they would try and roast these beans. After dropping the green coffee beans off at Addison, the coffee was done about a week later. The Master Roaster at Addison said, "Holly Shit, it tastes pretty good." We were about as surprised as all the people as Addison Roasters. At this moment we knew we were on to something. 

Out of Money

At this point, we were halfway through the semester. Whiskey Morning had a legal business, product that taste good, and zero dollars left from our initial $350 investment. It was time for us to go out and sell as many beans as possible. The team started out by selling to our friend groups around campus. After we sold to our friend groups, we started taking the coffee to those people parties and selling it to drunk people partying. By the end of the semester, we had sold as much coffee as we could age and get roasted. 

The last class of the New Venture class was to present as a team how your business went. We shared the ups, the downs, and the most important info how much money you made or lose. The Whiskey Morning Coffee team killed it! Whiskey Morning Coffee had the most top line revenue and profit than any other team in the class. Whiskey Morning Coffee was also one of the most successful ventures to ever come out of the values and Ventures class in TCU history.

The Story Lives On

Post-Graduation Evan decided to keep Whiskey Morning Coffee alive and keep the thing rolling. The rest of the teammates with Whiskey Morning decided to get real jobs. Whiskey Morning Coffee rebuilt the team with 4 lifelong friends of Evan's. The new time saw that people like the brewed and went all in on slinging some beans. So, if you wondered, "How Did Whiskey Morning Coffee Start?" that is it my friends.

2 Responses

John Olthoff
John Olthoff

May 02, 2022

Wife & I tried it at Fort Worth Stock Show, she bought a box of barrel aged single serve and loves it

Carol Reeves
Carol Reeves

February 18, 2022

Can’t wait to visit and buy some of that great coffee we tasted at the Fort Worth Home & Garden show earlier today! Thank you.

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