Wildcat Tracks: Ian Goodman ’92

For Ian Goodman, a decent cup of coffee isn’t just part of his morning ritual, it’s become a way of life. Goodman is the owner of Goodman Coffee Roasters in Chattanooga, Tenn. “My first experience with coffee came from working at a coffee shop on Manchester Road while I was in high school,” Goodman said. “The owner of the business made me read a book about coffee and tea which helped me see there was so much more to coffee than I ever realized.”

He was a creative student while at Westminster and feels the faculty really encouraged him on that path. “The faculty at Westminster were so much more than just teachers; they took time to get to know me and pushed me to achieve my dreams, while also offering space to create,” Goodman said.  “During my senior year, I did an independent sculpture class. Displayed on campus for years, that same sculpture now sits in our garden. I absolutely loved my time at Westminster and still keep in touch with most of my class.”

After graduation from high school, Goodman attended Covenant College where he met his wife Leda. During his senior year, he opened his first coffee shop. Two years later he began whole roasting beans himself, “I owned that company for 11 years before I sold it. After selling, I worked with other small businesses, taught entrepreneurship in Chattanooga, and gained experience on the corporate side of hospitality. Ultimately, I found I really missed being in the coffee world. So in 2016, our family launched Goodman Coffee Roasters as a wholesale company. Nine months later we opened our first retail store. We now partner with numerous businesses and ship our coffee globally.”

For Goodman, the mediocre operation of other coffee companies is not the way he wants to do business. “There are so many innovative growers thinking through methods that lead to higher yield and exceptional quality. Many of them never get to see the results of their hard work,” Goodman explained. “As a result, we have grown to understand the importance of building relationships thoughtfully. Of honoring their stories even as we create and cultivate alongside them. By securing more direct trade relationships, we are able to pay the grower what we would have paid the broker. As a result, our business is actively contributing to more sustainable communities globally. For example, our Guatemalan coffees come from a woman-owned farm and we pay extra to help fund a scholarship program that enables young girls to stay in school.”

The Goodmans have two children, son Cosi (22) and daughter Xaverie (17) who both work in the family business. They all enjoy traveling together on visits to growers and business partners.

As for Goodman’s favorite cup of joe? “Generally speaking, I am a black coffee and espresso drinker and right now,” he said, “I might have to say the Yemeni coffee we purchase from Port of Mokha and Mokhtar Alkhanshali is a favorite. We are one of only two roasters in the United States able to purchase some of the top lots from this year’s coffee auction. Our roasting was selected as the best roast of the lots sampled in Japan. From the moment it is brewed, you know there is something inherently different about it. Ten minutes later, it is even better than before. The nuances are outstanding and every time we have a tasting of it, people are blown away by its complexity.”

Learn more about Goodman Coffee Roasters or to shop the site.

This alumni spotlight was originally featured in the September 2019 issue of our alumni newsletter, Wildcat Tracks.

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