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Meet Shane Mulligan of Elysian Coffee Roasters

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shane Mulligan.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Shane. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’ve worked in communities to try and create a balance between haves and have-nots. I wanted to create something with a lasting impact and that went beyond a single community and connect communities far apart. Elysian is an attempt at that. Elysian is a profit-sharing social enterprise that developed in the classroom as part of a project to improve the linkages between coffee farmers and consumers. I first started off on a tiny roaster selling to neighbors and friends and now we have expanded to the larger Los Angeles community and across the U.S. Our goal is to share great coffee with everyone while also providing meaningful and substantive improvements to the communities producing coffee.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
One of the biggest challenges has been getting word out about our coffee and social impact but without a storefront. We’d love to have a cafe, but LA is a tough place to open a coffeeshop. Instead, we’ve focused on smaller events and word-of-mouth which is a definitely a fun, organic way to grow.

Please tell us about Elysian Coffee Roasters.
We roast specialty coffee for our fellow caffeine addicts! We’re big fans of coffee and want to share a cup of joe that stands out and doesn’t even need cream and sugar (but we won’t judge you if you do add it!). We stand out from other roasters because we’re trying to combat inequality and barriers to economic development by supporting childhood nutrition programs in the areas from which we import coffee. Why childhood nutrition? Improvements in childhood development broadly and in childhood nutrition specifically produce some of the greatest positive impacts to economic development.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If we started over, I would shift our roasting from a small to a larger roaster sooner than we did. The small machine we started off with required more time and didn’t roast quite as well as the larger one we use now. Moving up to a larger roaster has given us more time to focus on finding good coffee and sharing it with more people.

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Image Credit:
Renee Chan

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