Posted in People

  1. Origin Trip - Costa Rica


    Responsibility in coffee sourcing is so much more than an industry trend. It’s something we owe to our customers, our producers, and to ourselves. We all deserve to know that the coffee we drink has been well cared for in every step of the process.

    Our goal with any origin trip is to deepen our relationships with our producers. As we get to know our coffee farms, the workers, and the people behind the coffee we purchase, we are able to see just how many hands go into making our coffee, well before it hits our cups.

    It’s always an honor and a privilege to work with our producers. Our trip to Costa Rica was a great opportunity to search for new coffees to bring to Ferris. This trip also came with the added benefit... continue reading →

  2. Behind the Beard—AJ Willett


    Collaboration and education are a must for any industry built around social interaction; the coffee business is no different. Any effort to grow our 90+ year-old company would be fruitless if we did not do it with the goal of sharing our knowledge and passion with others.

    Ferris’ purchase of the Midwest Barista School in 2014 was the perfect opportunity to do so, but much work had to be done first. We scrapped the curriculum, the name, and the location. What remained were the cornerstones of success: people and passion.

    Relocated in Grand Rapids, rebranded as The Foundry, and updated to reflect current industry trends and best practices, our education center was ready to go. All that we lacked was the right person to run it. Luckily, AJ Willett was just one job post on Sprudge away... continue reading →

  3. Congratulations to Sam Mirto!

    sam01.jpgPlease join us in congratulating Sam Mirto for successfully completing his Q-grader certification exams! Sam has spent the last year or so developing an extensive knowledge base and skill set that helped him achieve this honor. The grueling 6-day, 21 test examination process evaluates everything from basic knowledge to green coffee grading, sensory triangulation, and detecting trace amounts of organic acids in a diluted sample based solely on taste perception. For more details, check out

    So what does this mean for you, our customer? The Q-grader certification allows Sam to pinpoint desirable characteristics when sourcing coffees and create roast profiles to highlight the best features of our offerings; meaning even better tasting coffee for you.

    Keep an eye on this space and our social channels to see what new offerings we will have this year... continue reading →

  4. Behind the Beard—Daniel Shoup


    2013 found Ferris on the eve of a company-wide rebirth. Our tired, 89-year old business was in dire demand for a serious cultural and physical facelift. Success meant more than growth, it meant we had to create opportunities and environments for everyone to thrive. Even at the most fundamental level, tough decisions had to be made which in turn made for many sleepless nights and a few too many adult beverages. But the dream of what the next 90 years for Ferris could be was impossible to ignore.

    Change like this always starts with people. And when it comes to people, it’s hard to find someone more humble and more passionate about his craft than Daniel Shoup.

    Fresh in to Grand Rapids by way of Chicago, Dan strolled into our retail store with his resume in hand. The... continue reading →

  5. Welcome AJ Willett: Head Trainer at The Foundry


    Trained by both Stumptown technicians and CoffeeFest latte art champion, Cabell Tice, AJ Willett continued to develop his barista skills in combination with management and retail training.

    “I have made it my goal to develop my exposure within specialty coffee, tea, and beverages enough to form a career within this ever so exciting field,” he states on his LinkedIn profile.

    A graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in Photography and Digital Media, AJ’s passion for coffee led him to internships and roles that increased his industry knowledge and skills. He has some exposure to small batch coffee roasting, extensive espresso training, and a strong understanding of milk science. AJ is able to effectively communicate with students of all levels, from aspiring novices to seasoned professionals. With extensive training and experience in managing employees and... continue reading →