The Original Funky Brewster
Coffee continued to fuel my college education as I studied to become an entrepreneur. I was introduced to a quickly growing company called Starbucks Coffee in one of my business classes, and by 1998, I had accepted my first barista position at a Starbucks location in Denver, Colorado. I thought, why not combine my love for coffee with my desire to learn about successful businesses? My shifts started at 4 am, my hands were stained with coffee grounds, and I was constantly told I smelled like coffee, but I had found my calling. Starbucks became my home for nine years.
Starting a business was always at the back of my mind, and the idea for mobile coffee catering began to form as I noticed an untapped niche in the coffee market. In 2007, I left Starbucks to pursue this crazy idea. The country was in the beginning of a recession, but I forged ahead, believing I could create a successful company I was passionate about.
The relationship-building connection that came so simply over a cup of coffee when I was 15 has become the catalyst for The Funky Brewster’s success. Through the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with my family and best friends to share the story of coffee through our mobile coffee carts in Denver, Colorado and Southern California. Trips to origin countries such as Nicaragua and Costa Rica have given me the opportunity to expand the connection this small but mighty coffee plant creates throughout the world, both in its economic impact and its diversity. The dedicated art of roasting and cupping has allowed me to develop my palette, understand the importance of quality, and pass the knowledge onto our baristas and clients.
Not many of us have the privilege of pursuing our passions as a career. In the beginning, my motivations were a love for coffee and a lifelong dream of becoming an entrepreneur. I have since learned that my passions go beyond thoughts of being a business owner. I have discovered a passion for relationships, and for helping people connect over coffee. Spend five minutes in any coffee shop, and you will see people just getting to know each other, laughing, crying, or having meaningful conversation over coffee. I love that connection and I wanted to bring it into other environments. Running a business is hard work, and there are days I feel less than adequate to be in this position. But the fuel that keeps my fire going is watching people gather to enjoy their coffee at each of our events. I recognize the unique opportunity I’ve been given for furthering my love of coffee and desire for creating connection, and I’m thankful for all of the hands and hearts that have supported The Funky Brewster.
Nicki McDonald, Barista, Founder & President