The Quapaw Post recently visited the Ogahpah Coffee company and left with a ton of energy brought on from caffeine ingestion. But, before we left, we had the opportunity to take a deep dive into the inner workings of the coffee roasting business.
Ogahpah Coffee and the team have been highlighted in several publications, documentaries, and radio interviews because of their product. Still, there's one thing about the coffee roaster that makes it a little more special.
The Ogahpah coffee team is made up entirely of Quapaw tribal members, and it is the only entity within Quapaw Nation that carries that distinction.
Ben Parker and Lauren Cousatte
"We see this as a huge responsibility and we do not take it lightly. We know that if we succeed in this role, doors will be opened for other tribal members to be given similar opportunities. It’s satisfying to know that all of our hard work is directly impacting the Nation and its members," said Lauren Cousatte.
Lauren is the Ogahpah Coffee Admin and has been since September of 2020. Before Ogahpah Coffee, Lauren was a sales manager for an American chain of beauty stores known as Ulta. Brought on to foster growth within Ogahpah coffee, the Quapaw Nation Business Committee challenged Lauren to begin a marketing campaign to do just that.
In less than a year, Ogahpah Coffee has continued to push products across the nation and can even go as far as saying they've got customers from Europe. Ben Parker, the Roasting Master, was excited about this opportunity.
Lauren and Ben spent their first several weeks sharpening their tasting skills and increasing their knowledge of everything coffee. The process isn't exactly terrible when you enjoy your job.
"This has been the first job I’ve had where I’m excited to go to work every day." Ben continued.
Lauren and Ben immediately dove into the finances of the previous years. To gain some insight into the potential of the roaster, many questions needed to be answered.
"Six months in, and we were up 200% in
comparison to 2020 and 250% to 2019 sales,"
"During the holiday season, we released a small quantity of single-origin Rwanda. It was the first coffee that we had full control of the roast profile and label design. We thought it was important to include our language in our first release. Due to the success of Sni-Wa-Te Da-Ta (Winter Drink), we have now included the language on all labels."
The increase in sales called for more staff, and with that, Ace Kihega and Lindsay Hickey joined the team - both Quapaw Tribal members and ready to jump into building a brand for Quapaw Nation.
Ace Kihega preparing packaging product.
The customer base is growing daily. The product and output of product is growing as well. Ogahpah Coffee has increased output to all three casinos, the tribal office, and also their online store. There's a clear demand for the product now and the future is bright. How bright is that future?
"We have big plans for the future of the O-Gah-Pah Roaster." Said Lauren. "I first see us moving to Quapaw Nation Sovereign Soil. With this move, we will be able to structure the facility to fit our needs while helping to revitalize Quapaw Main Street. We plan on adding a grocery store, meat counter, small eatery, and coffee shop, all with a large viewing window of the roaster and production floor. You’ll be able to shop for quality goods and enjoy a cup of freshly roasted coffee while watching us roast and package daily. We are in talks with mercantile and larger grocery chains that want to carry our products. We are studying additional online channels to sell our products."
Lovers of coffee are encouraged to look up Ogahpah coffee on Instagram and through their Facebook page "ogahpahcoffee."
You can also shop their products at www.ogahpahcoffee.com
Tribal members can get a 15% discount by calling 918.919.6924 to be set up with their own unique code.