Ferris Blog

  1. 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... continue reading →

  2. Congratulations to Sam Mirto!

    Please 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 http://www.coffeeinstitute.org/our-work/q-coffee-system/

    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... continue reading →

  3. 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... continue reading →

  4. 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... continue reading →

  5. Cascara: Coffee Cherry Tea

    There’s more to coffee than roasted beans. Cascara is an herbal tea made from the dried cherries of the coffee plant, giving it a sweet, almost cherry-like flavor. This unique offering was sourced by our own Director of Coffee on his most recent trip to Costa Rica.

    Helsar de Zarcero Micro Mill in Costa Rica has been processing their own coffee farms in West Valley Region since 2004. At an altitude of more than 1700 meters above sea level (masl), the community of Llano Bonito de Naranjo has introduced a community of coffee producers with many micro lots from the farms being made available in the world marker through an exportation partnership with Exclusive Coffees.

    After extensive research with... continue reading →