Join us as we go beyond the label with food brands that we love at Martie. Today, we chat with Paul Evers, co-founder & CEO of Riff. Based in Bend, OR, Riff is on a mission to explore and celebrate 100% of the coffee plant’s agricultural value. Turns out, making coffee produces a lot of unnecessary waste. Riff is here to change that, and make delicious, ready to drink coffees and energy beverages. Read on to find out how Riff is helping to make the coffee industry more sustainable.
Load up on Riff products at Martie, here.
Paul Evers, Riff Co-Founder & CEO
Hi Paul! Tell us, what's your motivation behind Riff?
Initially, the motivation was driven by the opportunity to bring a craft sensibility to the coffee category and disrupt it much like the craft beer sector did within beer. Then in 2020 we stumbled upon a huge sustainability issue in the coffee industry as we were experimenting with cascara, the sweet, caffeinated fruity pulp that surrounds the coffee bean on the plant. Turns out that 70% of cascara that’s produced from the coffee harvest is needlessly thrown to waste due to lack of awareness and demand. This is a sad reality, because we would argue that cascara is likely the better half of what the coffee plant has to offer– not only is it sweet with exotic fruit notes, and caffeinated, but it’s loaded with nutritional value– magnesium, iron, potassium and antioxidants. It scores very high on the super fruit scale. This discovery was transformative for Riff– we shifted from being a cool cold brew brand to being a purpose-driven brand on a mission to solve this massive food waste problem.
Can you tell us about what goes into a can of Riff, and what a “certified carbon neutral energy drink” is?
Cold-brewed cascara is at the top of our ingredient list. There’s enough cascara in each can of Riff Energy+ to bring it very, very close to being inherently carbon-neutral as a result of diverting cascara from going to waste. With little-to-no awareness, and hence little-to-no demand for cascara, farmers have no other choice but to pay the government to carry it off and pile it into mountains in landfills where, as it decomposes, it produces greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 3 million automobiles each year. To achieve the certification for carbon neutrality, we do currently rely on the purchase of carbon offsets– but at a very small fraction– costing less than 0.01% of our current revenue. With scale and packaging improvements, Riff Energy+ will be inherently carbon neutral by sometime next year.
To compliment cascara’s exotic fruit flavor profiles, we add real fruit juices; for example, in Booyah Berry, we add real blackberry and acai fruit juice concentrates. To provide the immunity benefit, we add vitamin C and antioxidants.
Which is your favorite Riff drink? How do you like to drink it?
That’s like asking me which of my three children is my favorite! Not fair! But, I guess comparing Riff products to my kids isn’t fair either. So, I do have an answer– my favorite Riff beverage is Booyah Berry. I love the light refreshing berry fruit notes. And, it pairs perfectly with my mid-afternoons when I’m ready for a good boost from sitting at my desk most of the day.
What do expiration dates mean to Riff? Are Riff products still good after their “best by” date?
That’s a food safety question, which I’m not really qualified to answer. We have certainty in guaranteeing a positive experience with the 365-day shelf life. I’m guessing that in the future, we’ll be able to determine that the actual shelf life is longer.
Why is working with Martie important to Riff?
Riff is a purpose-driven brand that is passionate about solving real world problems in the coffee industry. And, we’re also passionate about enjoying life and having fun along the way. We see those two passions as being complementary rather than mutually exclusive. I think that’s why we feel such a kindred spirit with Martie.
What’s in the pipeline next for Riff?
Now, wouldn’t you like to know! We have several innovations in our pipeline that I’m not free to disclose quite yet. Each one in service to our primary objective of translating 100% of the coffee plant’s nutritional value into beverage and food products that benefit consumers, coffee growers, and the planet. Stay tuned!
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