Frame Coffee Co In Dallas, TX

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Facebook: @framecoffeeco

Will Chilton’s background is in sales and logistics. His career in the coffee industry started when he came to Frame Coffee Company in 2021. Now, he works in the Frame Coffee Co roastery in the design district of Dallas, Texas, alongside founder and roaster Jake Smith, who works on the company’s MCR-15, 15 kilogram roaster and co-founder Keaton Schaeffer. The business focuses on the niche of East Africa coffees and Burundi specifically.

Photo credit – Frame Coffee Co

The Way Up

Frame Coffee Company was born out of founder Jake Smith’s interest in importing from underappreciated origins. His interest in Burundi and East Africa came from his experience there in college, both in importing as well as roasting.

Jake launched Homage Coffee Source, a greens importing company, in 2017. Then in 2020, he launched Frame Coffee Company to commercially roast Homage’s imported greens. For a year, Jake and co-founder Keaton Schaeffer ran Frame Coffee Co, until its growth outpaced their capacity. Will came on in 2021 as director of sales and operations. His arrival marked a turning point for Frame Coffee Co: his job is exclusively focused on balancing Frame Coffee Co’s future growth with its current daily operations.

Will, with his background in logistics, came to Frame Coffee Co fully equipped with the know-how to grow and develop a company. The challenge for him was applying his strategies to the operation as a roastery.

“What blew me away was the complexity and nuances of specialty coffee,” he says. While any business is nuanced, a roastery deals in a single product that passes through many hands before coming to the consumer.

Along with craft coffee’s unique supply chain, Will was also introduced to the novel selling point of Frame Coffee Co, its focus on East African coffees. Will sees this niche focus as an advantage for the company: a way for the brand to stand out to new customers, both coffee connoisseurs as well as first-timers.

Now, Will’s day-to-day focus is on larger questions concerning the company’s growth towards wholesale, where orders are more stable but profit margins are slimmer than cafe beverages. The company has goals in the future to sell brewers and other equipment, in order to supplement their wholesale accounts.

Now over a year in, Will sees his role in Frame Coffee Company as integral for its success and scalability. “In order to elevate, you have to delegate,” he says.

His own learning comes from his collaborative work environment with Jake and Keaton, but it also comes from mentors outside of the coffee industry. “We often get so bogged down in the details and daily rhythms,” Will says. “In our role, we are not the average coffee drinker.” He sees a lot of value in bouncing ideas around in relationships outside of the industry to get a better feel for how Frame Coffee Co’s ideas could be received by customers.

That perspective gives Will an advantage in how he approaches Frame’s goal of making coffee accessible. The company’s motto, “picture coffee differently,” applies to the team just as much as it does to consumers.

Photo credit – Frame Coffee Co

The Frame Coffee Company Menu

Frame Coffee Company sells eight mainstay coffees. Each is curated for tasting notes, and origins are rotated out for freshness while staying true to each roast’s taste.

The team recently added the eighth, Daily, to the lineup. It’s a medium-dark roast, meant to be familiar and balanced and, most importantly, accessible to a more price-sensitive customer. Since adding Daily to the menu, the company’s sample pack has also been rearranged to include it as a staple.

Daily joins the lineup of coffees from importers Homage, Jake’s East African importing business, and Red Fox, which supplies greens from Latin America to complement.

Bestsellers on the menu include Ripe and Bi-Focal. Ripe is a natural-process, the lightest on the menu. Its origin rotates; right now, the coffee comes from the Manafwa District in Uganda. Bi-Focal, a classic and smooth medium roast, speaks to an every-morning crowd. Currently, the drink is a Uganda-Peru blend.

The company also sells a series called “Keep it Wild.” Right now, the series includes two blends, medium roast First Light and medium-dark roast Trailhead. Ten percent of proceeds from Keep it Wild go to conservation organizations and programs such as Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Both the Keep it Wild Series and the original menu serve a younger, more price-sensitive Dallas crowd. Since adding Daily, the company has felt a shift in its future direction.

Photo credit – Frame Coffee Co

Looking Forward

The short-term goal for Will and Frame Coffee Co is upping pounds per week roasted and pursuing larger wholesale clients. From there, they plan to shift back to customer retail applications and products like pourover packets, which give customers a way to brew Texas wild-inspired coffees like Trailhead in outdoor settings like campsites.

The company will also seek to expand its white and private label partnerships. “Frame doesn’t always need to be the hero of the story,” Will says. “We want to help other people reach their goals as well.”

Long-term, the team sees a fourth coming on to assist with the company’s growth. In three to five years, the plan includes a move from their current lease. They want to leave the rental market and find a space to purchase and open a roastery-cafe. “We have a lot of ideas,” Will says; he’s excited by the opportunity a build-out would bring to the company.

Bring Frame Coffee Company Home

Shop all Frame Coffee Co mainstays, the Keep It Wild series, and the Frame Coffee Co subscriptions all on the Frame Coffee Co website. You can also follow the team on Instagram or Facebook to get the latest news.


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