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Meet Ashley Tindall of Soul Bean Coffee Roasters in Ventura

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Tindall.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Ashley. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I come from a family of 12 kids, eight sisters and three brothers, in Colorado, I inherited invaluable lessons about hard work, responsibility, accountability, sharing, unconditional love, and the importance of community. All 12 of us are also extremely competitive, nearly all playing college athletics. I grew up playing volleyball, basketball, and tennis.

While I still love a good competition, what I loved most about my family & sports culture was that both fostered a sense of community, belonging and altruism. Building off this love, I discovered when we help one another it feels good, it does something to our souls.

One of my first jobs was working as a barista for a small coffee shop, and I instantly fell in love with the environment and community that sharing a simple cup of coffee created. I would get to drink coffee and talk with all sorts of people from all walks of life and hear their stories. I guess I knew then that people crave a shared passion of connection but It didn’t dawn on me how important that connection is to the human psyche until later on. I became engrossed in learning about brewing, espresso, and crafting unique specialty coffees. Alongside the pursuance of learning as much as I could about coffee, through the experience of working in operational management for Real estate and investment jobs, I learned to hone my business leadership skills, but I never got that same feeling of community or passion that I had when I had worked at coffee shops… More and more, I craved and gravitated towards activities, people, and places that embodied a culture of community. Thus, the concept of Soul Bean was born. Each bean represents not just coffee, but idea behind coffee…the soul of coffee.

The Soul Bean team went on our first origin trip to El Cinquenta farm which is owned by the Santillan family in 2017. El Cinquenta is in a beautiful area near the Andes Mountains and not only grows coffee but also pineapples, bananas, cacao, and many other crops. All crops are grown organically and are given so much love and care. We were so happy to meet this amazing family and work beside them to harvest our beans. We hand-picked the cherries sorted and depulped them, spread them out to dry and hulled them. Tatiana Santillan taught us so many things about the land and puts in an incredible amount of work running things there. We were incredibly excited to be bringing some of those green soul beans home to roast and grateful to have formed a relationship with this small farm and amazing family.

It was then I realized that I wanted to directly source all of our beans, craft roast them myself and open a coffee shop where the community could connect over coffee. I wanted to be involved in every step of the process. I also wanted to do good through coffee somehow so I began to follow a social model and began to donate a certain portion of our sales to a women’s organization started by Tatianna called Asociation de Turismo Y Productos Quellomayo. This organization of woman sales bananas and coffee and are trying to raise money so that they can begin to roast their own coffee and sell it to travelers on the Incan trail. Tatiana says she wants to help the women become motivated to change their lives and having a roaster will enable them to sell larger quantities of coffee. This of course spoke volumes to me because I was having the same challenge with my tiny budding business.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The biggest challenge has been trying to follow a sustainable growth model with no help from outside investors or loans. I have also learned growing too fast can also be a challenge and timing and balance are important.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Soul Bean Coffee Roasters – what should we know?
Soul Bean has continued to evolve and today our top priority is being able to communicate and connect to coffee bean farms in the global community so that we can directly source beans while simultaneously helping to create sustainable farming and communities. We try to adapt quickly to changes in our customer’s needs, market forces, as well as unforeseen events that may arise with our coffee-growing partners which enable us to be involved in every step of the supply chain from farm to cup. The last two years we have been focusing on research and development aimed at creating sustainable products and technologies to utilize our industrial waste, namely coffee grounds with innovations such as turning grounds into natural fertilizer, incense, and bug repellent. We currently utilize all of our excess coffee grounds in organic soaps so we have zero waste.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Persistence and knowing that failures/mishaps WILL happen, they are part of succeeding, necessary even. It’s all about how you react to those failures that define you.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mario Fuentes – Picture of bag of Soul beans. Instagram-mariofuentesphoto

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