One of my friends said something really encouraging to me the other day. He said, “I wonder if you know, Nate, that every time I grind your coffee in the morning, there’s this amazing smell that brings back all kinds of good memories. And I wonder if you know that people associate that experience with you. So whenever I grind coffee, I have this impulse to call you.”

It reminded me of the power of association. I’m not just out there selling coffee. In a sense, I’m selling myself, my values, my ethos. Most of my sales are not blind transactions. They carry some kind of relational context and I like it that way. So how people experience me as the roaster is important. Who I am comes out in the coffee: from the roasting philosophy to the packaging to the business structures.

What is the experience I’m trying to give people when I deliver a pound of coffee, and when they drink it the next morning. What are the values I want to convey?

I want everything associated with my brand, from the relationship with the roaster to the bean freshness, to the atmosphere in any coffee shop I may open in the future to convey an inviting warmth, a “y’all come on in” hospitality, and an invigorating synergy. I want my coffee to be both warm and lively. That’s why I gravitate towards coffees with a refreshing brightness and roast them to a medium full city roast. The flavor carries a natural sweetness and a beautiful balance between the grassy brightness of a light roast and the roasty burnt flavor of certain big franchise roasters. At that level, there tends to be this big warm aroma “pop” that makes you want to bury your nose in the beans. One of my favorite things is getting comments from people like, “I opened my mailbox today and it smelled SOOO good!”

That’s why I chose kraft brown coffee bags hand-stamped with our logo over glossy printed bags. That’s why I love the name “Love Nomads”. Yes, our whole business was created to show practical love through good works to a marginalized nomadic tribe in northern Ghana. But also, the name just feels warm. It makes me think of someone coming in out of the rain, plopping down their backpack and curling up next to the fire.

These are the best elements of the home I grew up in. An inviting “revolving door” house where individuality was encouraged within the connected context of a big bustling community. My parents are warm, inviting, energetic people and there were always different people at our dinner table. As I’ve pursued ministry, business, and friendships. I realize that so much of what I do seeks to promote and reproduce the best elements of this warm and vibrant culture.

These are the values I’d like to capitalize on. How are we doing so far? What comes to mind when you think about “warm, hospitable, synergistic?”