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Crimson Cup’s Greg Ubert talks 30 years of US café culture on Newsmakers podcast

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COLUMBUS, Ohio, US – Columbus Business First Reporter Dan Eaton recently interviewed Greg Ubert, Founder and President of Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea, for the paper’s Newsmakers podcast. They talked about the evolutions of the specialty coffee business over the past 30 years, how the Covid-19 pandemic affected Crimson Cup and its customers, and Ubert’s hopes for the future of coffee and his company.

It all started in 1991, when the lure of emerging café culture inspired Greg Ubert, a recent Harvard University graduate, to leave a promising career in computer software.

Instead, he fell in love with specialty coffee and struck out as a solo coffee roaster, with a tiny roasting machine in a one-room office in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

He named his company Crimson Cup for the ripe red cherry of the coffee tree and Harvard’s official color, crimson.

Over the past 30 years, Greg Ubert has:

  • Grown Crimson Cup into one of the country’s top coffee roasters, winning national awards and accolades.
  • Helped hundreds of entrepreneurs prosper as the owners of profitable independent coffee shops.
  • Opened several company-owned coffee houses, with more on the way.
  • Built relationships with smallholder coffee farmers around the globe.
  • And made meaningful impacts in coffee farming communities through the company’s Friend2Farmer initiatives.

Even after 30 years, Ubert said he sees plenty of growth potential for specialty coffee. “People enjoy having a great drink. And I don’t think that they’re going to stop.”

He highlighted the importance of farmer relationships, sustainability, and Crimson Cup’s core value of giving back.


“Relationships are so important to us,” he said. “What I didn’t realize was that we could make a difference. I think the industry’s been around for so long. What are we going to be able to do?

“Well, it turns out we could do a lot. We show our coffee farmers, a lot of them, how to make better coffee, and then we can pay them more for it.”

To hear the full story of Crimson Cup’s history and work toward a sustainable future for coffee and the farmers who grow it, listen to the podcast.

About Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea

Columbus, Ohio coffee roaster Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea is celebrating 30 years of Coffee + Community. Since May 1991, Crimson Cup has roasted sustainably sourced craft coffee for consumers and wholesale coffee customers. It is a 2020 Good Food Award winner, 2019 Golden Bean Champion for Small Franchise/Chain Roaster and Roast magazine’s 2016 Macro Roaster of the Year.

Through its 7 Steps to Success coffee franchise alternative program, the company teaches entrepreneurs to run independent coffee houses in their local communities. By developing a coffee shop business plan, entrepreneurs gain insight into how much it costs to open a coffee shop.

Crimson Cup also supports life-enriching projects through its Friend2Farmer® initiatives, promoting the education, health, sustainability and economic growth of small-plot coffee farmers and their communities.

Crimson Cup coffee is available through over 350 independent coffee houses, grocers, college and universities, restaurants and food service operations across 30 states, Guam and Bangladesh. The company also operates several Crimson Cup Coffee Houses and a new Crimson retail flagship store. To learn more, visit, or follow the company on Facebook and Instagram.


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