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World Coffee Champ Leads Driftaway Coffee’s Private Virtual Tasting Parties


Part of a Virtual Tasting Party kit from Brooklyn roasting company Driftaway Coffee. All images courtesy of Driftaway Coffee.

In the ongoing race to get coffee to people safely hunkered down at home, Brooklyn, New York-based roasting company Driftaway Coffee has launched private Virtual Tasting Parties.

The host of these particular private coffee parties also happens to be one of the most celebrated coffee brewing professionals on the face of the earth: 2013 World Brewers Cup Champion James McCarthy.

Serving as an educator for Driftaway, McCarthy is helping guide individual parties through tastings, engaging party-goers in the wonderful world of specialty coffee, feeling out their preferences and leading discussions.

Driftaway Co-Founder Suyog Mody told DCN that the roasting and subscription company will send all the coffee and related equipment for the tasting to all participants just prior to the event.

James McCarthy

2013 World Brewers Cup Champion James McCarty leading a tasting party.

“We’ll also include some extra coffee in the kit so that everyone has a chance to brew after the tasting, as well,” Mody said. “All they will need are a couple of spoons and some extra mugs for rinsing.”

The cost to join the party is $100 for the first screen, and $35 for each additional screen, up to about seven screens, according to Mody.

The company has been opening the tastings to the broader public weekly online through Instagram, with McCarthy leading the way.

“I’ve really enjoyed hearing customers say that they’ve changed their mind on which of the coffees they prefer after going through the tasting, all because they were able to taste the coffees side-by-side and were guided through the tasting experience,” McCarthy said in a recent announcement from Driftaway.

The company, which recently unveiled bright new packaging, was launched in 2014 by Mody and Anu Menon, who both studied engineering at Georgia Tech and worked together at a digital marketing agency before diving into entrepreneurship.

Driftaway Coffee virtual tasting

As it turns out, focusing on direct-to-consumer roasting may have put the business in a strong position to withstand the COVID-19 pandemic. Mody told DCN that demand has increased “tremendously” through the year, with strong sales expected heading into the holidays.

“Our main priority is to keep our employees safe,” said Mody, noting that the company is hoping to get even more creative with more virtual offerings and experiences, both for consumers and for producers. “2020 has been such a wild ride that it’s difficult to think too far ahead.”

[Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story originally stated that Driftaway Coffee launched with a multiroaster model. That is incorrect. Driftaway has always roasted its own coffees.]