Interviewing The Coffee Industry - James William

 Today's wonderful guest on The Coffee Life is James William, also known as the big brains behind DrinkCupboard and the upcoming app focusing on changing the way we buy coffee, and having more transparency between farmers and coffee drinkers.

How are you?

Right in this moment, pretty tired. In general, very up and down, but such is the nature of the pandemic we're all living through. More recently, I've been feeling pretty weirdly refreshed by the uncertainty of it all, and incredibly grateful for what I have, but who knows how I'll feel next week.

What do you do for a living?

Honestly, I'm not making much of a living right now. I'm in survival mode, living off basics, and using my time to execute on various different ideas.

In terms of the Coffee Industry, how long have you been involved and what do you do?

I've been involved in coffee since I was 17, which is 6 years now. It started as an apprenticeship with Starbucks, then working at a couple of smaller independent coffee shops, and now I've been running my own coffee company for the past 3 years. Recently, I've embarked on a new journey, with the goal of using tech to better connect with the coffee industry.

Shameless plug, it's @drinkcupboard on all socials, follow along and drop us a  👋 emoji!

How has Coronavirus affected you during 2020?

Thankfully, I haven't been affected too badly. I'm mainly doing exactly what I was before the virus hit, with some obvious adaptations and added stresses, of course.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in the Coffee Industry in 2020?

Everything is up in the air and changes from one day to the next. It's made it incredibly hard to plan anything, and when you're finally able to set your plans in motion, chances are it'll get disrupted by one of many factors. I'd say this has been my biggest challenge in the industry this year. It's financially challenging and incredibly frustrating, but still it could be a lot worse.

How have you felt about the Coffee Industry during 2020?

I feel like this year has brought a lot of issues to the surface. Racial inequality within the industry, for a start. General lack of care for employees as another example. Endless green washing if you needed a third. The chaos of the pandemic has understandably taken the focus away from these issues, and I find that very concerning to say the least. We really need to be digging deeper into the problems of our industry, as a matter of great urgency.

What is something you have missed in the Coffee Industry in 2020?

I've wondered a few times, what the industry would've looked like had we not hit a pandemic, and I think in general we would've seen more creativity. That's what I've missed. Creativity and seeing new ideas coming to life.

How has Coronavirus/Lockdown affected your mental health?

It's affected a lot more than I could've ever imagined. I've struggled with my mental health as long as I can remember, and lockdown really laid it all out in front of me. It was a blessing and a curse, but overall I'm grateful that I've had this experience of it. It's handed me some clarity on areas of myself I need to address that I didn't even notice before.

What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Since the start of the year, I've poured my soul into creating Cupboard, and I'm stupidly excited to launch it into the world. It's an app that I believe has the power to genuinely change the way we purchase coffee, and bring our industries most undervalued heroes (coffee farmers) to the forefront.

Other than that, I'm excited to see other peoples ideas take shape as well. I've got my eye on a few companies in particular, BubbleHeadBarista, Wylde Coffee, and I'm always excited to see the incredible work from Standart. 

Find James

Instagram - Click Here

Cupboard Instagram - Click Here

Cupboard Website - Click Here

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