It is 6:30 AM. The on your cell phone begins to blare that familiar jingle. Your eyes open to the first streak of daylight and suddenly your nose fills with that familiar smell of roasted coffee percolating from the kitchen.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, that is the familiar morning routine for more than 150 million Americans who consume coffee daily. 64% of Americans aged 18 and over polled by the National Coffee Association in 2019 say they drank at least one cup of coffee per day with the average drinker consuming 2.7 cups.
That is a lot of coffee and a huge opportunity for roasters to profit.
But what if you are a roaster offering something different than the usual corporate coffee shop in your neighborhood? And what if you are doing so while also making a difference?
A Unique Type of Coffee
Michael Riady might be selling the 2nd largest commodity in the world next to oil, but he is doing it by exceeding expectations.
As a fifth-generation Indonesian, Riady packed his bags for the U.S. to attend college. After graduating, he decided to head back home to Indonesia. It was after working 13 years in real estate that he decided it was time to try something different.
His passion was coffee.
As Riady explains in a recent interview in the Food Institute, “America is the largest coffee consumer in the world with 35% market share and Indonesia is the fourth-largest producer. I moved back to Los Angeles and launched an e-commerce coffee brand specializing only in premium and highly sought-after Indonesian coffee (Sumatra, Java, Bali, Toraja islands, and more) called Tentera Coffee Roasters.”
What makes Indonesian coffee so diverse in flavor is the different types of fertile soils and environments that encompass the country of Indonesia. But Riady is not just selling this highly sought-after and unique coffee from a country made up of over 13,000 islands. He is also considered to be an innovator within the industry.
He is the pioneer of the single serve, pour-over coffee bags. They are the equivalent to the process of steeping a cup of tea. It leaves no harmful waste like plastic from discarded coffee pods. It is easy to use (just pour hot water), fast and convenient, provides the same satisfying taste that typical brewing techniques are known for, and is affordable.
While Tentera is the #1 selling Indonesian specialty coffee in the United States, it is the act of giving back to the planet that shows how grateful Riady is for the earth's natural resources.
“1% of all Tentera coffee sales will be donated to 1% for the Planet, an international organization who has given back more than $265 million to the environment,” Riady explains on how important it is to preserve the planet. "If you appreciate Earth's nature and beauty, enjoy the outdoors, or just want to appreciate some fresh air, we invite you to be a Tentera because protecting our rain-forest and wildlife are the core foundations of our lifestyle."
And it does not stop at donating to a worthwhile charity. Tentera has been able to amplify his support of the rainforest and wildlife conservation through a partnership with Darbotz, an urban street artist from Indonesia. This influence can be found on Tentera’s packaging through the rich and vibrant artwork of animal-themed labeling.
Health and Wellness
As if working to become the #1 selling Indonesian specialty coffee in the U.S, helping preserve the planet for future generations, and promoting art from his own home country were not enough reasons for the journey to sainthood, Riady is also helping to bolster the health of so many Americans.
Going back to that recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health, “Coffee consumption has been linked to a range of health benefits, including decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers. This association is likely due to anti-inflammatories and antioxidants found in both caffeinated and decaffeinated brews.”
The same study goes on to explain that in a meta-analysis of 45,335 people with type 2 diabetes followed for up to 20 years, an association was found with increasing cups of coffee and a lower risk of developing diabetes. Compared with no coffee, the decreased risk ranged from 8% with 1 cup a day to 33% for 6 cups a day.
Other studies also show possible links to lowering certain cancer types, improved heart health, and improved mortality rates.
It is All in the Name
Riady says that the name of his coffee company comes from the Indonesian word “tentara”, which means soldier that does good for certain causes. “By changing one letter the word now means to fight for a good cause.”
But Riady and Tentera are fighting for much more. They are going to battle for all of mankind, the planet we call home, and the art that helps preserve his peoples’ culture. Just think about these accomplishments and the hard work still ahead the next time you take a sip of that morning cup of joe.