Jonathan Silver has been keeping Atlanta caffeinated for more than 20 years
Ever dined at Bone’s or Aria and wondered what type of coffee or tea you’re drinking? What about Souper Jenny or OK Cafe? Atlanta Coffee Supply Group, founded by Sandy Springs resident Jonathan Silver, has been distributing the caffeinated beverages to local restaurants like these for more than 20 years. The company distributes 11 brands around the Southeast, including Lavazza and Mighty Leaf, and Silver created two of the brands: Lakehouse Coffee and Blue Durango Iced Tea. “I saw an opportunity and jumped on it,” he says.
Here, he tells us how Atlanta Coffee Supply Group came to be.
How did you get into the coffee and tea business?
Years ago, I was caddying at a golf course and got a call from a family friend who was starting a coffee business. I went to work for the company. I was traveling around, opening up coffee shops. After 18 months, I didn’t like the direction they were going and had my own idea about selling to restaurants.
Is that how Atlanta Coffee Supply Group was created?
I was under 30 and wanted a company name that sounded like it’d been around a long time. I was working from a bedroom in my parents’ house. I sourced from a company roasting locally (long since out of business), and we created blends. I went around peddling coffee to chefs. My friends teased me that when I answered the phone I always used the word “we” because it made the company sound bigger, even though it was always me.
Why did you start selling directly to consumers?
Bone’s is one of our long-time customers. People were calling me saying they had our product at Bone’s and wanted it at their own homes. I had to create a brand: Lakehouse Coffee. Five years later, I created Blue Durango Iced Tea. Everything for consumers is online. We don’t have a retail store. We have this wholesale retail brand.
What are your plans for the future?
This summer, we’re launching a single-serve, K-Cup-style Blue Durango that makes a 20-ounce iced tea. We will try to get it in retail stores.
What’s your flavor: coffee or tea?
I started as a coffee drinker, but I do enjoy good iced tea. I take my coffee black and my tea unsweetened. If you’re going to eat or drink something that should be flavorful, you don’t need to screw it up [by adding] something else.
Atlanta Coffee Supply Group
STORY: Carly Cooper