Q+A with Founder, Steven Sutton
We’re pretty much obsessed with coffee, and Devoción is one of our absolute fav roasters! We fell in love with their brews and beautiful cafe in Williamsburg, so we knew we had to make our own custom blend to serve at by CHLOE.
Steven Sutton founded Devoción 10 years ago with a mission of changing how people perceived Colombian coffee. He works directly with local growers around the country to source and sell the freshest coffee while also helping the local community and environment in his native Colombia.
We sat down with Steven to hear more about Devoción and what make his coffee so freaking delicious!
by CHLOE.: Introduce yourself
Steven Sutton: I’m Steven Sutton. I was born in Medellin, Colombia and I run Devoción Coffee.
bC: What inspired you to start Devoción?
SS: I used to work in a coffee company that sold gourmet Colombian coffee. While I was working there, I saw that Colombian coffee was left out from the third wave specialty markets in all places I went. I also found that the work I was doing had little to no real meaning… At that time the company that I worked with was going to cooperatives, buying coffee at normal prices, roasting at origin and sending it to Miami to be sold in the mass markets. We were not doing much to help the farmers, their communities and their environment. When I started to add it all up, I saw that there was something different about Colombian coffee – something amazing in quality, that could bring a real meaning to my life and others around me.
bC: Have you always had a passion for coffee?
SS: No. I actually always had a great passion for food. When it came to coffee, I just knew how to drink it, but I didn’t really know it could be so amazing and so gastronomically complex.
bC: What was it like bringing your business to NYC?
SS: It has been an amazing experience. New Yorkers have opened their doors to us. They have welcomed and accepted us in their homes. For this I’m extremely grateful and happy that we were able to share our coffee with so many amazing people.
bC: What makes your coffee unique?
SS: We are the only coffee roasters in the world to have achieved a farm level freshness in every single cup we serve. Think of it as farm to table…we call it farm fresh coffee, or farm to cup coffee. Before us, 99% of the time people drank old roasted coffee. With a standard of 10 to 30 day old beans before roasting, opposed to 6 month old beans which is the industry standard today, Devoción is able to literally transfer the farmers sweat and heart into every cup.
bC: How do you source your delicious coffee beans?
SS: We are at the source day in and day out. Our company’s purchasing and sustainability department is constantly going around Colombia looking for farms that are unique. Today we have over 500 farms working wih us throughout Colombia.
bC: What are the benefits to drinking freshly sourced, “green” coffee?
SS: A green bean of coffee has around 400 elements that contribute to taste and aroma. If we roast the bean when it is fresh, these elements have very little time to diminish and oxidize. This all translates into taste. Just as a freshly picked vegetable will always taste better than a frozen one, freshly roasted coffee will have more flavor than a roasted coffee that was sitting 4 to 6 months in a warehouse before roasting.
bC: Tell us more about the by CHLOE. signature blend?
SS: When I first met the by CHLOE. team, I knew I was working with a very special team with a unique concept that needed a very special blend. It had to be original, it had to be balanced, and it had to be something that no matter who grabbed the cup, the initial response would be WOW. We decided to do a blend of farms that would give just the right fruit notes, sweet notes and chocolate notes. Then we thought of all those delicious desserts served at by CHLOE. With this in mind, we came up with a perfect balance of notes: cacao (everyone loves chocolate), berries (a match made in heaven for those cacao notes) and orange caramel to give it a unique twist that deserved the by CHLOE. name.
bC: What are your future plans for Devoción?
SS: We want to share our beautiful coffee throughout the world. We will continue to partner with super special companies like by CHLOE., and continue to give unique experiences with coffee to coffee lovers everywhere.
bC: What’s your favorite dish at by CHLOE.
SS: The Classic Burger. I love burgers and was blown away by its taste.
bC: What does “Eat well. Eat with purpose.” mean to you?
SS: Take care of your body, take care of your world.
1. Nickname? Cacheton (cheeks in Spanish)
2. Favorite place on earth? Choco (on the Western Colombian coast with very virgin jungles and beaches)
3. Weird personal fact? I rarely drink coffee at home
4. Favorite food? ALL!!! This is a question that is extremely difficult to answer because of my love for food.
5. Early bird or night owl? Is there a middle ground?
6. Cocktail of choice? Bloody mary extra spicy with horseradish
7. Favorite season? Fall
8. Personal mantra? No matter what, always be humble, happy and positive. Focus on what really matters and try to detach from things that bring out the worst in us as human beings.
9. Iced coffee or drip? Drip
10. Hosting a dinner party with 4 people (dead or alive) who would you invite? Albert Einsten, Stephen Hawking, Bob Marley, Jerry Seinfeld.