Steve Jobs and the Apple company. Bill Gates and the Microsoft corporation.
The names Jimmy Butler and… Big Face?
This is a bold comparison, but don’t tell Butler, whose coffee company Big Face began as a $20-per-cup cash grab at the NBA’s Orlando Bubble in 2020.
Now that the offseason has arrived, Butler was reluctant to discuss basketball. His Miami Heat had just lost an emotional Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Celtics.
What he did want to discuss was his coffee brand, a passion project that began organically and will officially launch in the fall of 2021. Butler referred to his brand and collaborators as a family while celebrating the limited-edition Big Face Coffee Affogato flavour at Van Leeuwen’s.
Butler never lacks confidence on the court or when drinking coffee. In fact, he is willing to convince you to purchase a $100 cup.
We’ll let him explain…
You propose charging $100 per cup. Am I reading this correctly?
I desire to. I believe we must reach a point where it may not be the norm, but is still worth $100: “Oh my god, I get why this is $100.” I believe a great deal of education will be required to teach people why this coffee is this way. It will also teach me, as I have much more to learn about coffee, its components, and the brewing process. But I read, I listen, and I’m out in the fields trying to understand everything.
What distinguishes the Big Face coffee product in a competitive market? Have you gotten any positive feedback?
Almost everything is sold out, which is the best possible feedback. We’re listening to the people, what they want, and how we can try to bring what they’re requesting to the market in terms of merchandise. Along with me, a fantastic team is harvesting a wide range of beans of varying quality. Coffee brings people together more than anything else because it forces people to sit down, enjoy a cup, and engage in conversation.
You mentioned merchandise; what role does it play in promoting the brand?
I mean, I wanted the Big Face brand to have something for everyone when I started the company. Therefore, even if you are not an avid coffee drinker, you can wear a shirt, purchase new sweatpants, and purchase a hat with a coffee motif. You can still be a part of the Big Face family, and we continue to release numerous products for children and animals.
Coffee was the starting point, but we have branched out so that there is something for everyone.
How did you become involved with Van Leeuwen ice cream, and how did you influence its flavour?
I wasn’t always a huge fan of the city of New York; I’m from a small town, and it’s always so crowded. I enjoy grass and nature. Then, my financial advisor took me to Van Leeuwen [headquarters] for a meeting over at least twenty-five to thirty scoops of ice cream, none of which we did not enjoy. Even the special mac and cheese made me exclaim, “Wow, this is amazing!”
Then we simply created a vibe! We were conversing about the beginnings of Big Face, [Ben Van Leeuwen], and my basketball career while getting to know one another, so we maintained contact. Then Ben arrived and suggested, “What if we made Big Face ice cream with a coffee flavour?” I remarked, “Wow, that’s a fantastic idea.”