Job opening: Grocery Sales Manager

Position Title
Grocery Sales Manager
Viroqua, WI

About Kickapoo Coffee Roasters
Since 2005, Kickapoo Coffee Roasters has worked to forge lasting, equitable partnerships with small-scale farmers. We work directly with growers and coffee cooperatives to ensure high standards for quality, sustainability and farmer compensation. Based in southwest Wisconsin’s beautiful Driftless region, Kickapoo Coffee seeks new team members who share in our mission and values and are eager to join in our growing, entrepreneurial-spirited, family-friendly work environment.

Position Overview
The Grocery Sales Manager will be responsible for developing and executing the strategic sales plan for food co-ops, natural groceries and mainstream groceries. This position is a member of the Marketing & Sales team and works in close collaboration with the coffee and production departments.

Core Responsibilities

  • Sell bulk and packaged Kickapoo Coffee to food co-ops, natural and mainstream groceries and distributors.
  • Proactively develop and manage sales plans.
  • Collaborate with internal sales and marketing team to achieve sales objectives.
  • Develop and maintain existing business and propose new business for key accounts.
  • Prospecting and cold calls to new customers.
  • Maintain relationships based on service, quality and commitment to the customer.
  • Contact customers on a regular basis about merchandising, improvement of existing item placement, new product presentations, authorizations and placement, monthly promotional calendar and in-store demos and marketing events.
  • Review and maintain customer ordering histories to assist with managing quarterly grocery sales goals.
  • Update and maintain CRM database for potential and current grocery customers.
  • Manage and conduct in-store demos and events.
  • Market research, attend tradeshows, regular travel to existing and developing customers.
  • Improve customer service, merchandising and promotion planning.
  • Give input into development of new products and effective in-store marketing materials.
  • Prepare grocery sales reporting as requested.

Requirements and Desired Skills

  • Minimum 2 years sales management experience in coffee and/or natural/organic industry preferred.
  • Working knowledge of supermarket retailers, grocery wholesalers, distributors and their processes.
  • Proven sales record and ability to travel for trade shows, sales calls and meetings.
  • Have existing positive relationships with retailer and distributor customers.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office programs.


  • Healthcare
  • Paid vacation + company holidays
  • Retirement plan
  • One free pound of coffee every week

Please email cover letter and resume to with
position title “Grocery Sales” in the subject line.

Job Opening: Roasting & Quality Manager


Position Title
Roasting & Quality Manager
Viroqua, WI

About Kickapoo Coffee Roasters
Since 2005, Kickapoo Coffee Roasters has worked to forge lasting, equitable partnerships with small-scale farmers. We work directly with growers and coffee cooperatives to ensure high standards for quality, sustainability and farmer compensation. Based in southwest Wisconsin’s beautiful Driftless region, Kickapoo Coffee seeks new team members who share in our mission and values and are eager to join in our growing, entrepreneurial-spirited, family-friendly work environment.

Position Overviewcafe-088
Working closely with the Director of Coffee, this position will play an active role in shaping Kickapoo Coffee Roasters’ coffee program. The Roasting & Quality Manager will be responsible for developing roast profiles and monitoring cup quality, spending a significant amount of time cupping and brewing coffees to perform analysis. The position will also be responsible for training the team of production roasters and educating all staff about our coffees and growers.  

Core Responsibilities

  • Manage and develop roast profiles
  • Perform daily cuppings and regular analysis of all coffees through a variety of brew methods
  • Manage quality control for roasted coffee
  • Manage in-house green bean inventory and certifications
  • Handle green coffee shipping and receiving logistics
  • Facilitate staff engagement with KCR’s coffee program
  • Roast and approve green coffee samples
  • Meet regularly with the Director of Coffee to communicate needs and feedback on green quality
  • Manage and perform roaster maintenance schedules

Requirements and Desired Skills

  • Roasting experience
  • Proficient with cupping and brewing as tools to manage roast profiles
  • Q-grade certification
  • Involvement with industry groups (i.e. Roasters Guild, SCAA)
  • Sample roasting experience
  • Exposure to sourcing and importing and farmer visits
  • Knowledge of coffee supply, growing, processing and handling practices
  • Green coffee grading
  • Proficiency with Microsoft office, especially Excel.


  • Healthcare
  • Paid vacation + company holidays
  • Retirement plan
  • One free pound of coffee every week

Please email cover letter and resume to with position title “Roasting & Quality Mgr” in the subject line.

Barista Camp: Always Just a Few Seconds Off Boil

Words and photos by Lissy Matthews

Spending a week in Indian Wells, California in June for Barista Camp teaches one a few things: First, it has been an exciting year for the Specialty Coffee Association of America with a new competition set up, the debut of a new flavor wheel and a possible unification with the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe on the horizon. Secondly, the specialty coffee world is teeming  with the most amazing, passionate people. Finally, 119 degrees fahrenheit won’t actually kill you, miraculously. 

Sponsored by the Barista Guild of America and the SCAA, Barista Camp is offered three times throughout the year. This four day event provides an opportunity for baristas from all over the world to network with fellow specialty coffee nerds and industry professionals, take SCAA pathway courses towards SCAA Barista Level 1 or Level 2, compete on a team for prizes, and even float on a giant, inflatable piece of pizza in a pool (if you are as lucky as we were).

While at Barista Camp, I worked to complete my Level 1 Barista pathway requirements (courses taught by industry giants such as 2014 US Barista Champion Laila Willbur) and was certified as an SCAA Instructor.


Among the many takeaways (including
some amazing coffee and swag!) from my experience from Barista Camp, what sticks most prominently in my mind is how many opportunities there are to get involved. Whether you want to begin taking certification courses, compete at a national or international level,advance your career through networking, become certified to teach classes, volunteer at an SCAA event, become a technical or sensory judge or just become a BGA member, you can do it. Get in touch with us at Kickapoo Coffee, the SCAA or the BGA. Jump in! You won’t regret it.

Meet Carlos Pazu

Post and photo by Caleb Nicholes

Meet Carlos Pazu, the president of the Fondo Paez Cooperative in Cauca, Colombia.

Our history with these amazing people extends beyond our company, beginning in 2003 with a trip led by owner, TJ Semanchin. It is humbling and special to spend time with Fondo Paez as they have endured so much as an organization, including the assassination of their president in 2010 as well as their production being completely devastated by Rust 13403358_10153546266055896_3892922514998085094_oin 2009, dropping by over 80%.

We are honored and elated to be working with such a dedicated and resilient organization. We hope to have the fresh crop back by August, 2016.

Mother’s Day Double Chocolate Coffee Cake!

by Allison Sandbeck –

This isn’t your typical coffee cake. This is cake. Chocolate cake. Well, actually, double chocolate cake, meant to be eaten with coffee. In fact, it has coffee in it. But who’s to judge? If I was a mom (which I am) and had a crew willing to risk the oven for me, this is the recipe I would send them to make. We can have our coffee and chocolate and eat it too!

IngredientsIMG_8377 copy
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp flour
6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee (we recommend Project Congo)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 & 3/4 cups chopped dark chocolate (chips will do, 60-70% cacao)
10 Tbsp butter (at room temperature)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the coffee, buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside.
  • Melt 3/4 cup of the chopped chocolate gently in a metal bowl over simmering water. Set aside to cool.
  • In a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated, being sure to scrape the sides of the bowl often.
  • Pause. Add the flour mixture. Mix until incorporated. Set the mixer to low and add the coffee mixture.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the melted and chopped chocolate by hand.
  • Pour into pan and bake for about 55 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean (but, remember there is melted chocolate in there). Be sure not to over bake!
  • Let the cake rest in the pan for 10 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack or tray. Don’t forget to peel off the parchment paper.
  • Dust with powdered sugar, strawberries and/or whipped cream. Or all 3! Why not? It’s Mother’s Day!
Allison Sandbeck is the owner of Crumb, a small, independent bakery designed to bake for all your cake needs. Striving for flavor, aesthetics and whimsy, it’s all about making “The Occasion” that much better. Personally, Allison is a busy mom of 4 trying to make things happen in the beautiful Driftless region of Southwest Wisconsin. She also works for Kickapoo Coffee, sending coffee near and far and roasting away. Give her website a look-see and think of her next time you need some sugar support. Life is worth celebrating. Let’s get to it!

2016 U.S. Brewers Cup

by Alex Stoffregen –

I recently had the opportunity to compete in the 2016 US Brewers Cup national coffee championship in Atlanta, Georgia. In this contest, baristas manually brew three cups of coffee in 10 minutes, while talking to the judges about the choices made in sourcing, roasting and brewing the selected coffee.

Brewer's-Cup-Sign_blog-01This was my first year competing in the Brewers Cup, but Atlanta wasn’t my first time brewing in front of judges. I first competed in Kansas City earlier this year in a qualifying round before advancing to the national competition. In Kansas City, I was accompanied by Tamara from the Coffee House, Erin from Beans and Bagels, Helena from River Rock Coffee and Daniel from Mars Café—all of us competing in the US Barista Championship or Brewers Cup. Competing is great, because it gives you the ability to really focus in on one coffee in detail and learn all about the variables involved in making it great. You focus on manipulating variables in roasting and brewing until you achieve a fleeting moment of satisfaction with the cup’s quality.

I advanced to Brewers Cup using our Ethiopian Worka, which was tasting delicious. But for Brewers Cup, I switched to a fresh crop coffee from Boquete, Panama. The farm that grew this coffee is called Hacienda La Esmeralda. They became famous in 2004 for submitting the world’s first taste of the Gesha varietal to the Taste of Panama Cupping Competition. This variety is known for its intense sweetness and delicate florality, which is similar to what you would find in a really good Yirgacheffe.

Since then, the Gesha varietal has been planted all over the world and has continued to gain a reputation for cup quality. Hacienda La Esmeralda has won 15 international prizes for this coffee in the past 10 years.

If you live in Milwaukee, or are just passing through, for a limited time, our Kickapoo Café in the Historic Third Ward (232 E. Erie St.) will be serving this coffee. We hope you stop in to say “hi” to Scott and taste it!

Kickapoo Coffee Welcomes New Marketing Director

Recently, I came on board here at Kickapoo Coffee as their new Director of Marketing. It’s been very exciting to join a team that is so passionate about what they do and truly committed to supporting organic agriculture and family farmers. And, getting to enjoy delicious, award-winning coffees on a daily basis isn’t too bad either!

I’ve gotten to spend my marketing career working in the organic and cooperative movements, and I’m thrilled to get to continue this with Kickapoo Coffee. I’ve always felt sharing the real story behind the food and beverages we enjoy creates powerful connections. These connections empower people to make informed decisions that collectively drive positive change in the food system. Kickapoo Coffee has an important story to tell.

It’s about responsible participation in the coffee chain–from forging direct relationships with farmers and making economically sustainable coffee purchases, to roasting high quality coffees that showcase the hard work of the farmers and giving back to our communities (like Project Congo and Project Chiapas).

It goes without saying that I’m glad to be here, immersing myself in the world of coffee and looking forward to sharing these stories with you.


Coffee Review: Organic Ethiopian Aramo Scores 94 Points


CR_2016_94_125x125_72dpiWe’re excited to share that our Organic Ethiopian Aramo Natural Process received a score of 94 points from Coffee Review. This coffee comes from the Aramo Cooperative in the heart of the Yirgacheffe region. Their cooperative is part of the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, which is made up of 23 member cooperatives representing more than 43,000 farmers. We’re delighted to partner with the Aramo Cooperative and this scSO-ETHARA-CCore is a recognition of their hard work on the ground to produce high quality coffee!

If you’ve never encountered a natural process coffee, it refers to coffee being dried immediately after harvest with its fruit intact. The resulting flavor can be a walk on the wild side. Aramo has plenty of that natural wildness, while still being delicate and clean with notes of plum, tamarind, and Earl Grey tea.

To learn more about this coffee and to order, visit here.

March 26: Tour & Tasting

This Saturday, coffee expert, Alex Stoffregen (freshly home from his travels around Southeast Asia) will lead a tour of Kickapoo Coffee Roasters followed by a tasting. We can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning than sipping coffees in good company. We hope you’ll join us!

March 26th, 10:00 a.m. to Noon
Free event, no RSVP required
Kickapoo Coffee Roasters
Inside the Food Enterprise Center
1201 N. Main St., Ste. 10, Viroqua (parking in back)

Questions? (608) 637-2022,

Kickapoo Coffee Tasting and Tour_March 26

Celebrating our Good Food Award!

Kickapoo-GFA-2016For the fourth time in five years, Kickapoo has taken home honors at The Good Food Awards in San Francisco. The awards “celebrate the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic and responsibly produced.”

The GFA’s are exactly the kind of award that we get excited about. They respect and honor the vertical spectrum of food production from the farmers that nurture the raw ingredients to the producers that bring the final product to your table.

This year, there were 208 coffees entered and only 17 winners. When the dust settled, we were nominated for our Organic Ethiopian Worka and won for our Organic Ethiopian Idido.

Our win is a testament not only to the skill of our roasters and coffee sourcing here at Kickapoo, but also the hard work and dedication of the farmer members of the Worka and Idido Coopaeratives.

Grab a bag of Ethiopian Worka HERE