10 Minutes With Matt Vassau

Driven-Coffee-Matt-Vassau

Matt Vassau
Founder and CEO
Driven Coffee
Minneapolis, Minnesota

What other coffee jobs have you had?

My first coffee job was VP of field operations for Espresso Partners in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We serviced and sold coffee and espresso equipment, and I managed the tech force. I later moved into the role of VP of business development, where I managed existing customers and forged new relationships with coffee and equipment companies across the U.S.

While working in espresso services, I really fell in love with the café scene. I became part owner of Bull Run Coffee Bar in Minneapolis, where I have been developing my passion for coffee ever since.

Matt made the move from Espresso Partners—where he sold coffee related products to, and helped with service for, coffeehouses—because he fell in love with what his clients were doing. Now, he owns Driven Coffee and is a part owner of Bull Run Coffee, both in Minneapolis.

Matt made the move from Espresso Partners—where he sold coffee related products to, and helped with service for, coffeehouses—because he fell in love with what his clients were doing. Now, he owns Driven Coffee and is a part owner of Bull Run Coffee Bar, both in Minneapolis.

What’s your favorite part about working in coffee?

For me it is without a doubt the people. Coffee is such a fun industry, and coffee fans are so passionate about what they drink. It’s really exciting to create products that are such an integral part of our customer’s day.

Where do you ideally see yourself in 10 years?

Working with our outstanding team at Driven and traveling to origin searching for the best coffees around the globe.

Matt may be Driven Coffee's CEO, but he still loves making coffee by hand for himself.

Matt may be Driven Coffee’s CEO, but he still loves making coffee by hand for himself.

Who and what inspires you?

I am really inspired by other entrepreneurs chasing their dream and trying to change the world. Someone who comes to mind that really personifies this for me is Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX. He has vision, purpose, and an endless ambition that I have a tremendous amount of respect for.

What are you drinking right now? 

We have a FTO [Fair Trade organic] Peru San Ignacio that I can’t get enough of. I have been brewing it on the Clever and it is really smooth.

The Minneapolis coffee scene is one of the most vibrant in the country right now, thanks to specialty cafes like Matt's, the presence of such passionate companies as Cafe Imports, and a foodie consumer base that loves to try new things.

The Minneapolis coffee scene is one of the most vibrant in the country right now, thanks to specialty cafes like Matt’s, the presence of such passionate companies as Cafe Imports, and a foodie consumer base that loves to try new things.

Crazy/memorable coffee experience you’d like to share?

A couple years back, a big summer storm came through Minneapolis that knocked out power at our café. Unfortunately, we had just received a delivery of twice our normal amount of milk for a big event the next day. Three of us ended up scrambling all night trying to find a generator and coolers so we didn’t lose everything. We were able to save the milk, the power came back on at about 8 in the morning, the event was a huge success, and we had a really good time.

The Vassau family.

The Vassau family.

What do you do when you’re not doing coffee?

It’s tough to find time outside of coffee these days, but when I do I really enjoy spending it with my wife traveling, and playing golf.

 

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.