Cascade: Coffee-by-bike company bursts onto scene

Jesse Nelson. Photo by Anne-Marije Rook/Cascade Bicycle Club.

Few industries are quite as packed as the Seattle coffee market. Between the global enterprises and long-respected roasters on Capitol Hill, it’s not exactly easy to make a splash in the scene.

But Conduit Coffee‘s Jesse Nelson did just that this year, and he did it on a bike.

Cascade Bicycle Club’s Anne-Marije Rook profiled Nelson recently on the club’s blog:

But he seems to be doing something right. At barely six months old, Conduit Coffee has already received lots of press and accolades, including being awarded the second best espresso in America at the Seattle Coffee Fest this past September.

“We had no idea what we were getting into when we applied [for the competition] but it was a heck of a lot of fun,” Nelson said. “I feel humbled. People respect us more because of the recognition and we are not stepping on anyone’s toes.”

Nelson insists on using the pronouns “we” and “us” but really it’s just him, with the occasional help from his friends. He’s the person roasting the beans and tasting the coffee, and the person that shows up at your door to deliver your coffee order. Not only does he deliver to your door, he delivers by bicycle, hauling a trailer that can be loaded with up to 300 pounds of coffee and supplies.

“A lot of it comes from wanting to offset carbon usage, challenging the status quo and to show that it is possible to do it. We need to change our car habits even if it’s not as efficient or it’s pouring rain,” Nelson said, while pointing at the pile of wet clothes laid out to dry from a trip earlier that day. “And it’s just so much fun to show up on a bike to the local market.”

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