For Roasters & Retailers

A Special Blend: Passion And Immigrant Work Ethic Fuel Coffee Entrepreneur


Sumi Ali can recall the exact sip that launched his passion for high-quality coffee.

Standing in a Chicago-area coffee shop where he had just landed a job, the newly minted teenage barista noticed “an immediate, detectable difference” from any coffee he had previously tasted.

The taste made him an instant fan of not only the steaming beverages he was serving, but also the customers who loved them.

“I’m going to spend every minute of every day here, learning,” he decided.

Several coffee shops later, Ali, now 28, combined this long-simmering passion with his growing belief that high-quality coffee should be more widely available and accessibly priced.

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