Copper Cow Coffee: A Flavor Packed Vietnamese Coffee With a Twist

Copper Cow Coffee: A Flavor Packed Vietnamese Coffee With a Twist | Enterprise Wired

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No morning ritual is complete without a sip of coffee. For coffee lovers, every single sip brings calmness and soothes their soul. And when it comes to the uniqueness of Vietnamese coffee, the experience and flavor are on another level. 

The authentic Vietnamese coffee is rich and slightly bitter with more caffeine and is hard to find in other states, that’s why Copper Cow Coffee was introduced. It aimed to share the taste of Vietnam with the world in a unique way. 

Copper Cow Coffee: A Flavor Packed Vietnamese Coffee With a Twist | Enterprise Wired

Copper Cow Coffee was founded by Debbie Wei Mullin in 2017 with the aim to bring back the origins of robusta coffee and market it to the everyday coffee drinker. Her goal is to recognize Vietnam for its culture and history in the coffee market by sourcing from Vietnam farmers. She grew up sipping on the authentic rich flavors of Vietnamese coffee. When she couldn’t find a brand that tasted like home, she decided to make one. 

Debbie was a full-time employee in The World Bank and started a cooking gig on the side, working on it on evenings and weekends after graduating. She tried selling her products by standing beside the farmer’s market but that didn’t work out. Being a coffee lover, she saw more potential in that area and started a Vietnamese coffee-specific brand – Copper Cow Coffee. In its initial days, she wanted to sell bottled cold brew Vietnamese coffee but that idea never came into the picture.

In one of her visits to Asia, she re-discovered the pour-over method, the brand’s major product selling point, and she never looked back. She transformed the brand by asking for funds from anyone who was willing to invest, be it friends or family, and raised $100,000 in the first year.

“I want to become a brand that gives an authentic Vietnamese coffee experience and erases the miseducation around premium coffee. We’re excited to be the first to bring premium Vietnamese coffee. And, to take that a step further, to become the first certified organic Vietnamese coffee brand.” She has said in an interview. 

Copper Cow Coffee doesn’t only sell classic dark coffee but also many flavor-induced Vietnamese coffees like lavender, caramel, and churro with lavender being the bestseller. They also sell creamers, lattes, and teas. To make their pour-over coffee, all you have to do is remove the filter with the coffee grounds in it from its packaging, prop the filter up over a coffee mug, and pour hot water through the filter.

Copper Cow Coffee’s Shark Tank Pitch

Copper Cow Coffee: A Flavor Packed Vietnamese Coffee With a Twist | Enterprise Wired
Source- Copper Cow Coffee

Debbie came on Shark Tank in 2021, with an ask of a $600,000 deal in exchange for a 4% equity in her business. The pitch started with her basic introduction and her love for Vietnamese coffee. The sharks seemed impressed and then asked about her business statistics which were like this, 

In 2017, just shortly after launching the company, the brand was already in 1,000 stores. During this year, she made $170,000 in sales, with another $500,000 in 2018, and another $1.6 million the year after. By 2020, she had already done $2 million in sales, though the year wasn’t over yet. 20% of her sales were coming from physical retail stores, while the other 80% was coming from her online store. Her sales by this time were up to $4 million.

After hearing the numbers, the sharks weren’t happy. Daymond John was the first one to give her critical feedback. He questioned her business managing skills and backed up from the deal but Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec stood up for her. Lori Greiner was impressed with the pitch and her business but wasn’t interested in coffee and investing that’s why she backed up from the deal. Kevin O’Leary first offered $200,000 for 20% equity. When she didn’t waver, he said her ask was too high and backed up from the deal. Mark Cuban wasn’t convinced whether the demand for Copper Cow Coffee was organic or induced by temporary trends and backed up from the deal. Only Robert Herjavec offered $600,000 for 5.5% equity and 1.5% in advisory shares. She counter-offered but he was firm on his offer, hence they made the deal.

However, the offer fell through after the deal was made on the show. In a press release, she said that, 

While we were excited that Robert made us a deal on the show, we ended up not going through with the deal after airing. Still, the experience has been fantastic – so many fans and new customers.  We’re very thankful for the exposure and the community it has brought.

What Happened to Copper Cow Coffee After Shark Tank?

Copper Cow Coffee: A Flavor Packed Vietnamese Coffee With a Twist | Enterprise Wired
Source- Freepik

Even though an offer was made on the show, it fell later. But even without the deal, the company is still flourishing. Because of the publicity and exposure, it gained new customers and followers. It also expanded its market availability, having its presence in over 3000 stores, including the big ones like Whole Foods Market, and Walmart, and e-commerce sites like Amazon; and its line of products, which now includes lattes and teas as well. The sales on Amazon were the highest. 

One of the biggest and most important developments was in its agriculture sector. The brand invested in several programs that center around limiting the chemicals that are used in growing coffee beans, to make their coffee better. They also were able to grow their team from 6 people to 15.  Apart from the US, it has now started delivering in Canada and Europe.

After the show, the brand raised another $8.5 million in Series A funding co-led by Cultivian Sandbox and Arborview Capital in 2021 — a far cry from the $600,000 she sought on ‘Shark Tank.’



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