Bicycle Coffee, Delivered by Fate, and a Willingness to Change

The story of Bicycle Coffee is a story of change. It’s a story of how three friends set out in one direction, failed, and subsequently discovered their true calling.

The clichés that exist in our vernacular regarding the topic of change, and how change is an inevitable part of life, are numerous and overused. Change rolls through all aspects of our lives consistently and indefinitely. Those who adapt to it best, thrive. Those who don’t, perish.

The story of Bicycle Coffee, the San Francisco-based organic, fair trade coffee company, delivered on bicycles, is one of two brothers and a best friend. Brothers Cameron and Matthew McKee were for all intents and purposes already successful before they started Bicycle Coffee. They were involved in a string of San Francisco nightclubs.  Their cousin Brad Butler had a lucrative career at a residential mortgage bank. And yet, a part of them remained unfulfilled and unsatisfied.

As opposed to buckling down saying the course, they decided to change.

The McKee brothers, Butler, and a family friend took to the rainforest of South America with an itinerary of trekking, living in tree houses, and founding a sustainable village.

While it all sounded like a great plan, things didn’t go according to plan. Rather than giving up and going home, they adapted, taught English, slept in classrooms, made ends meet, and eventually made friends with some coffee farmers.

It was these relationships that changed their trajectory forever. They developed relationships with the farmers and took back to the San Francisco Bay Area knowledge of how quality coffee is grown, picked, and roasted.

The clan molded this love and knowledge of coffee into a business idea. They built a small batch roaster and began roasting and selling beans themselves.  Fresh out of the pristine rainforests and not eager to contribute to city grime, they decided to depart from the way products are traditionally delivered.

They decided to deliver their beans via bicycle.

“We deliver by bicycle because we like to ride bikes and we believe cities would be better if more products were delivered by bicycle. Large delivery vehicles in densely populated cities making living in those cities less enjoyable for a lot of reasons.” says Cameron.

The story of Bicycle Coffee is a story of change. From clubs and mortgage banking, to roasting coffee and distributing it by bike, the founders realized that the path to success is not straight -- but winding and subject to change.

Bicycle Coffee has grown since 2009, but Cameron sees room for even more growth in chapter cities such as Tokyo and LA. He would also like more mobile carts selling single cups of coffee. Through hard work and due diligence, the staff at Bicycle Coffee is determined to progress culture, to change it for the better. One thing they are never willing to change is their values. Bicycle Coffee will always be organic, fair trade, and delivered by bicycle. 

You can learn more about Bicycle Coffee here.

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