White Coffee

Making a Daily Ritual Extraordinary through Family Ownership

White Coffee has strived to provide an extraordinary cup of joe for more than 74 years. From developing enticing flavor profiles right down to specifically selected beans, the New York-based manufacturer remains dedicated to quality. “We aim for consistency, but we’re not your average everyday canned coffee,” explains Jonathan White, executive vice president of White Coffee. “It’s about making a daily experience a little different, a little better and having some fun at the same time.”

The family-owned and -operated company was founded in 1939 by Jonathan’s grandfather, David White. “My grandfather worked in food distribution in the early 1930s,” recalls Jonathan. “He eventually gravitated toward the coffee business. The company has remained in the hands of our family with Carole White, my mother and president of White Coffee, and Gregory White, my brother and vice president.”

While his father made White Coffee his lifelong career, Jonathan admits he didn’t jump into the family business right away. “My brother and I actually went to law school,” he shares. “After several years practicing law, we came to join the business.

Over the years, White Coffee’s operations expanded. “We started with independent chains,” reveals Jonathan. “Now, after nearly 40 years of experience with the specialty coffee market, we’re also working with national chains in grocery, specialty and mass.”

While based in Long Island City, N.Y., White Coffee is capable of shipping to nationwide and international customers alike. “We’re selling our products into Canada, Mexico and the Far East,” adds Jonathan. “We also work with national food service accounts through the Royal Cup system and create private label programs for major coffee and broad-line distributors, catalog companies and regional chains.”

White Coffee employs a marketing, production and sales staff of approximately 95 individuals throughout its manufacturing, warehouse and assembly facilities. “During busy season some of our productions line may run 24 hours a day,” admits Jonathan. No matter the level of production, the White Coffee team is grounded in grinding up the best beans and pumping up the flavor in every cup.

A Better Bean

Throughout its 74-year run, White Coffee has established longstanding relationships with exporters throughout the world. “We’re able to identify specific farms and regions that produce what we want to work with,” shares Jonathan. “While we don’t want to be locked into a certain supplier exclusively, we have relationships that we value very highly.”

Ensuring that every cup of White Coffee has a rich flavor profile comes from the best beans for the job and exceptional quality control. “Cupping and flavor sampling is performed every day, in-house, at least once a day,” explains Jonathan. “From sensory checks through the quality control department to selecting the best variety of beans for the job, we have very specific requirements and high standards of what we’re looking for.”

Jonathan admits the coffee beans the company sources often depend on the needs of customers. “We look for regional trends and demand,” he says. “We meet with prospective customers to achieve a desired flavor or to develop a new product. We’re able to offer customized solutions so that there’s something for everyone.”

Cup-by-cup Expansion

Jonathan reveals the company’s history in upscale food service and specialty brands has enabled White Coffee to propel its retail lines and licensing agreements to the next level. “We have the retail expertise, broad portfolio and core products allowing us to develop a series of partnerships with major national and international brands and grow the business,” he explains. “Because we have the scope and scale of a large company, but the flexibility of a small one, we offer a range of capabilities.”

With a solid base of core products and capabilities, White Coffee has began packaging for some of the most recognized brands in the food and beverage industry, including the likes of Kahlua, Entenmann’s, Hell’s Kitchen, Castle, MoonPie and Mr. Coffee [all of which are registered trademarks].

“Partnering with these major brands is very exciting,” shares Jonathan. “We make sure our flavors match up to the products under the brand. For example, to correspond to some of Entenmann’s pastries, we’ve developed Cinnamon Crumb Cake and Chocolate Donut flavored coffee. We’re always looking for new opportunities and licensing agreements; even international ones.”

White Coffee has also recently teamed up with the celebrity super Chef Emeril Lagasse. “We’ve been working on this project now for nearly a year, and it is rolling it out in 2013,” reveals Jonathan. “Emeril was personally involved in sampling and helping us develop the coffees, to ensure they met his standards and that he enjoyed them, of course. We’ve incorporated his traditions and style of cooking with a New Orleans dark roast, a Bam signature morning blend and a caramel bread pudding flavor.”

Jonathan admits White Coffee’s next venture will be into single-cup brewing. “Approximately 10 percent of Americans now have single cup brewing systems in their home or office,” he details. “That number is expected to double in the next couple of years, so we really see the opportunity in this product.”

White Coffee is ready to compete in the single-cup market; Jonathan confirms that the company did not enter the market until the product completely met its standards. “We’re utilizing a recyclable cup that’s designed for superior coffee extraction,” he says. “We’ve also done extensive testing and brought in commercial manufacturers for a second opinion. We didn’t want to rush this out the door; it needs to be up to our high standards first.”

White Coffee will offer single-cup products with the Entenmann’s and Hell’s Kitchen brands, and all of its single-cup products will be compatible with the most popularly used single-cup brewers.

White Coffee continues to pursue both new products and partnerships with some of the most well-established brands in the industry while remaining grounded in core products and family ownership. “We are fortunate that many prominent licensors have approached us,” reveals Jonathan. “We’re going to continue to build great partnerships and grow our retail operations.” White Coffee delivers more than just a standard cup of the familiar beverage, but a quality product with an extraordinary flair.

For more information about White Coffee, please visit: www.whitecoffee.com.