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This week we focus on the thoughtful packaging at Memli Coffee Lab in Houston, Texas. When it comes to design, the company is clear in its vision and execution. “For us, the minimalist logo and branding is a way of showcasing our focus on quality,” says Head Roaster & Sensory Professional Mehmet E. Sogan.

The bags have subtle color differences that signify flavor profiles but also the kind of mood it conveys and come equipped with an information card that shares the farm, region, country, variety, elevation, and process along with the roast date and batch id along with flavor notes the team aims at keeping inclusive. “Because our audience is quite diverse as well as our small team, we keep the tasting notes section approachable,” says Sogan. Even more information along with cupping notes are available can be accessed using a QR code.

We spoke with Mehmet E. Sogan digitally to learn more about the company, coffee offerings, and design.

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Tell us a bit about Memli Coffee Lab!

The mission of Memli Coffee Lab is to propose an alternative approach to coffee through three main pillars. 1. Quality and focus on the intrinsic flavor of the coffee, 2. transparency of sourcing, and 3. education. We believe that by offering unique quality coffee in a fully transparent way along with knowledge and education, we will organically improve the coffee chain and add value to both ends of the spectrum. This will hopefully result in an increase in the specialty coffee share. The idea is to help coffee lovers become coffee connoisseurs by consistently sourcing the finest specialty-grade coffee and taking them with us on this fully transparent journey. Because the best coffee is the one you like, we are offering a new vision about the coffee experience with mindfulness, quality, and education.

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How are you all doing here in the summer of 2021?

This period of the year is quite exciting as the new harvest arrives in the US. It’s a constant reminder that coffee is a living material that evolves season after season. We’re excited to continue our partnership with the same producers this year.

These values and mantra have been supported and appreciated by the coffee enthusiast community in Houston, TX as well as across the country since our beginnings in July 2019.

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Tell us about your coffee packaging!

We want the values and principles of Memli to remain sensible and consistent across all the activities, from sourcing to shipping. We have customized the bag dimension and texture so that it can easily fit inside the palm of a hand and the soft Matte texture offers a pleasant experience. We also replaced the aluminum lining for recyclable plastic to offer a little bit of visual transparency (echoing with our transparency reports and sourcing).

Memli Coffee Lab has a unique visual aesthetic—describe the look you're going for.

For us, the minimalist logo and branding is a way of showcasing our focus on quality. The logo is quite engrained in coffee lovers' minds. It is a daily reminder of our values. The visual is an open-ended interpretation of each coffee enthusiast. For some people it’s the circular aspect of our values in the coffee chain, for others, it’s a clean demitasse cup of coffee from above. We keep the original interpretation secret because we want people to have their own and make Memli more personal to their experience.

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The colored line on the bottom is to discreetly express the coffee origin and visually differentiate flavor through multidimensional aspects. The colors are picked based on the flavor profile but also the mood we want to convey. The several classes we took during the Sensory Summit by Dr. Fabiana Carvalho from coffee sensorium helped us better define our customer experience.

For the information, we put only what is needed for the coffee enthusiast to make their choice: the farm, region, country, variety, elevation, and process along with the roast date and batch id. For the flavor notes, we keep it as inclusive as possible. Because our audience is quite diverse as well as our small team, we keep the tasting notes section approachable. For more advanced coffee brewers, we put more details about cupping and notes on the website (accessible through the QR code on the card).

Our style is inspired by the different cultures and countries we have lived and traveled in Europe and Asia as well as our personal values.

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We love the info cards for each coffee offering—what goes into each card?

It is an extension of the bags since we want to keep the bag design simple, the additional information is on the card such as the FOB (freight on board) price, the harvest date, farms details, roast, detailed flavor profile, and brewing suggestion. The idea is to keep offering education and knowledge and hopefully show that it is more than just a cup of coffee.

What coffee offerings are you currently excited about?

Our coffee offerings philosophy emphasizes transparency down to the farm, the cleanliness, and the depth of the flavor profile. In other words, we want the flavor notes to be approachable and distinct so it can convey a specific mood, place, or emotion. From the healthy breakfast to the afternoon tea, the dessert pairing, and more…

Next, the coffee offering gives coffee lovers a way to train their senses and improve their palate. For instance, we had two washed Ethiopians from two different regions, as well as the same region with different processes. Or a set of washed bourbon from three origins: Rwanda, Peru, and Guatemala. A feature that is greatly appreciated by our subscribers who get to know more origins and become better at coffee tasting every month. The idea is to build knowledge as well as offering unique lots of coffee.

Finally, continuous improvement and innovation are part of our day-to-day protocol and operation. That’s why we source regularly rare and innovative processes to further push the boundaries of quality.

The one we’re excited about is our partnership with Pillcocaja in Ecuador. The farmer, Ana Maria, and Nicola Crespo have curated excellent nano lots. We showcase four different lots offering different varietals of the same farm as well as more innovative fermentation processes. It is one of our offerings as The idea is to share knowledge through our partnership and promote the producers' coffee with our roast profile. That way, coffee lovers can have access to excellent lots, learn more about it, and through traceability, have a small, yet meaningful impact at the farm.

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Where is your coffee available?

You can find all of the current offerings and information about coffee on our website. If you’re in Houston, TX, the following coffee shops offer some of Memli Coffee Lab coffee: Fix coffee, Grinders coffee bar, the Yellow cup, Urban Brew cafe. In the Bay Area, you can find us at the Golden Goat Coffee in San Francisco.

Last but not least, we ship anywhere in the US. Finally, if you’re at the SCA expo this year, you can find us cupping!

Thank you!

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