The Original Coffee Educators
For over 30 years, we at Coffee Business have made it our mission to help people live out their dreams of opening a coffee business. Through our consulting and workshops, we have helped hundreds of aspiring coffee shop owners learn the skills they need to survive and thrive in the coffee industry.
Attendees range from representatives of large established corporations, to entrepreneurs seeking insight to open their first coffeehouse. We draw in existing retailers looking to boost profits as well as baristas looking to fine-tune their skills to prepare for barista competitions. We have hosted students from over 60 different countries and all 50 States. Led by nationally-recognized coffee experts, providing students with the fundamentals of opening a successful specialty coffee business both from the business and technical coffee perspective. Coffee Business exposes its students to a broad range of coffee-related equipment, products, and educational materials.
Our program was created to help industry professionals by giving them actionable information and the confidence to go into business for themselves. Since their inception, our workshops have grown and now include topics on everything a coffee business owner needs to know. The topics we cover are all taught by experts in their field.
For some, our workshops are just the start of their work with us. We offer continued consultation and services long beyond our workshops. These services are one-on-one personalized advice on anything your business needs directly from our experts.
Many of our graduates have gone on to open their own businesses. Our testimonials come from real business owners who have used our workshops to get a head start on their dreams.
With over 25 years of executive leadership experience, Michelle Andersen is the CEO of Coffee Business and a key player in the growth of Sortis Holdings’ coffee and dining brands. She spent two decades leading successful teams at Starbucks, and was the first CEO of Boise Co-op where she led diverse market portfolios that exceeded $600 million. Through these operations, Andersen applied the same team-driven strategies to drive results regardless of industry, cultivating momentum where business, employees, and customers thrive.
VP of Sales
With over 22 years of experience in the specialty coffee and beverage industry, Heather is a sales leader with a depth and breadth of knowledge that allows her to build strategy and tackle opportunities from a variety of angles. Having worked in all facets of the food & beverage industry, she has knowledge in many customer segments, including coffee shops, restaurants, mutli-unit chains, college & university, distribution, Office Coffee service, lodging and hospitality.
In 2006, Heather worked in project management for 110 store coffee franchise It’s A Grind Coffee House. She was then poached to work on the national specialty coffee sales team for Gourmet Source whos primary clients were Ghirardelli Chocolate and Pacific Natural Foods. From there, Heather went to Stumptown Coffee Roasters and was heavily involved in the launch of Stumptown Los Angeles. During her time at Stumptown, Heather built a national distribution program, negotiated and executed contracts with the top three global Food Service Management companies, and landed multi-unit chain accounts nationally. In 2020, Heather went to Vive Organic and built a national Food Service strategy, hired and trained a national sales team, and landed a variety of major chain accounts.
Heather has served on the boards of Barista Magazine, Oregon Coffee Board, Les Dames d’Escoffier, Barista Nation, and Kizimani.
Director of Retail Operations & Education
Practically born into coffee, Laila began her career working alongside her father at their family owned coffee company, Cherry Street Coffee House. She went on to hone her expertise in developing education and training programs, and leading multi-unit retail operations, at roasting companies such as Caffe Ladro and Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Laila is dedicated to supporting the growth and diversity of the coffee industry, serving on the Barista Guild executive council from 2012-2016, instructing at Glitter Cat bootcamps, and mentoring with Bean for Bean. She has been a speaker at events such as Let’s Talk Coffee, supported coffee service at the TED Conference, and won the prestigious title of United States Barista Champion.
Director of Projects
Marian is the special forces unit for Coffee Business project management and beyond. With extensive experience in hospitality, event production, consumer brands and more, Marian keeps the engine in drive directing stakeholders from executives to chefs, founders to event teams. She started her career managing sales, catering and events at Chef Vitaly Paley Restaurant Group and previously worked as the Director of Special Projects for Bamboo Sushi as it was fostered out of bankruptcy and into profitability. Currently Marian is also a lead producer for the One Motorcycle Show, the world’s largest custom motorcycle show. Passionate about an organized timeline, camping, and where to get lunch, she keeps every team in check, accountable, and on-time.
Director of Roasting & Production Operations
Austin Burt, Director of Roasting and Production Operations, leads the Green Buying, Roasting and Production teams at Coffee Business. He brings over a decade of experience in coffee operations, specializing in scale, system processes and multi-channel growth. His attention to quality and passion for process supports end to end solutions while driving sustainable growth throughout.
Director of Marketing
Anna brings over a decade of food and beverage marketing experience to Coffee Business. After graduating with an MBA from Portland State University, Anna ran the foodservice marketing for the 5th largest hog slaughterhouse in the US. Anna’s desire to work in coffee – having started a coffee cart in high school – brought her to Cup of Excellence, where she helped establish the Portland HQs. Anna served as the Marketing Director for Rogue Ales launching several coffee beers and holding the world’s first International Cold Brew Coffee Throwdown. She also served as the Marketing Director for Corwin Beverage, launching Revolt organic coffee, a gourmet coffee for convenience stores. Anna previously served as the Managing Director for Marketing and Membership for Alliance for Coffee Excellence / Cup of Excellence. Her passion for coffee excellence, creativity, economic indicators and innovation will help support Coffee Business.
Besides coffee, Anna loves cycling, hiking with her blue heeler, Matilda, tasting beverages crafted in the Pacific Northwest, and anything having to do with olive oil.
Bruce is recognized by the press and the coffee industry internationally as the voice of the specialty coffee industry. He has been interviewed by, or quoted in: the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Newsweek, 60 Minutes, Kiplinger’s, Starbucks Annual Report, Forbes, the Economist, Harvard Management Update, Crain’s Business Review, the Seattle Times, the Washington Post, Business Week and Entrepreneur.
The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) named Bruce Milletto one of its 20 “Coffee Luminaries,” and he appeared in Gourmet Retailer’s 25th anniversary issue on the list of the 25 individuals who helped shape the specialty coffee industry.
Bruce wrote a column for many years for Fresh Cup magazine, the specialty coffee industry’s leading publication. He continues to frequently author articles for the magazine as well as provide articles and interviews for such trade publications as Fancy Food, Gourmet Retailer, Coffee and Beverage Euro Coffee and Coffeenet.
Water Avenue Coffee Founder
Matt has worked in specialty coffee steadily for over twenty five years, in management, consulting and ownership of retail and roasting operations. He has helped hundreds of small and large coffee businesses open up and succeed around the world. Working with Bellissimo Coffee Advisors/Coffee Business, Matt transformed a legacy training and consulting business into the digital era, developing the industry’s first Digital Coffee Resource and Online Barista Training platform. He founded Barista Exchange in 2006, the industry’s first online focused community and social network, with over 18k members.
Co-Founding Water Avenue Coffee in 2009, Matt was CEO, and helped grow the company to nearly $3M in annual revenue focusing on the Portland and PNW market.
Matt is a past President of the Oregon Coffee Board, a board member of Dollar For and is on the Headwaters Council of the Freshwater Trust.
Natalie has worked in the specialty coffee industry for 10 years as a barista, cafe manager, and trainer. As a Portland local, Natalie has witnessed the growth of the Portland coffee scene from its DIY roots to the expansive and vibrant community that exists today. She is deeply invested in creating more accessibility and educational opportunities in the specialty industry, and most enjoys working with new baristas. She has been a part of the Coffee Business education team since 2018, and has created training curriculums, educational materials, and conducted comprehensive in-person barista workshops.
Natalie spends her days off record shopping, visiting neighborhood bakeries, and drinking coffee, of course! Her regular coffee order is a cappuccino with whole milk.